THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THE PARELLI HORSENALITY APPROACH IN DETERMINING SUITABILITY IN THERAPEUTIC RIDING PROGRAMS
Ramagli, Lori E.
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Increased awareness of mental and physical disabilities have been observed within the US. With this increased awareness, there is a need for therapies to assist these individuals, and help maintain normality in everyday lives in our growing society. Conventional therapies only target only physical or emotional disabilities, but modern day treatments have incorporated animal assisted therapies, like therapeutic riding, to aid in both. When utilizing animals for therapy, there will always be some variety of complications. In particular, burn out rates are one of the number one problems in equine assisted therapy programs today. The objective of this study was to utilize the Parelli Horsenality profiling system as an indicator to determine which horsenality characteristics are most influential when identifying a long-term, safe therapeutic riding horse. To do this, all horses (n=13) were evaluated for both long term and short-term suitability as a therapeutic riding horse based on handler evaluation and behavior during active lessons at Panther Creek Inspiration Ranch (PCI). The long-term tier scoring system was used from 1 to 4, one being the most desirable horse for therapeutic riding and 4 being an undesirable horse for therapeutic riding from PCI instructors that have worked along side the horses for a long period of time. A short-term obedience score was used to evaluate during active lessons via ground study observations. Horses are evaluated through a 100-question exam to determine horsenality traits and their prominence through a stepwise regression using the traits to predict the short and long-term evaluations. From the regression, it was shown that only 5 (bracy, tense, shy, non responsive, easily board) of the 40 Parelli characteristics were important when determining if a horse will be a resilient, safe, and long term therapy horse for a therapeutic riding programs. With these 5 traits, programs will be able use the Parelli Horsenality Profile to simplify the process of finding a suitable, durable, horse for a therapeutic riding program.