Saddle Sore: A case study for RideAble's Equine-assisted Program's Effect on the Perception of Chronic Pain
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In Eugene, Oregon, an organization called RideAble provides lessons in horsemanship to individuals with disabilities in Lane County. RideAble participants are challenged to groom and tack their mounts. They learn to communicate with their horses on the ground, and on horseback with verbal and physical cues, and gain confidence in the saddle. They are pushed to be independent and focused. Animals have long been a source of comfort for the physically and mentally ill. Although RideAble is not Equine Therapy, their program seeks to improve the lives of a vulnerable population in need of treatment, recreation, and skill building exercises. This case study takes a small sample of this population to explore the question of whether horsemanship decreases pain in students who experience chronic pain. Through the process of transcribing, and coding interviews, I will be able to highlight the perceptions of four participants who have experienced both at RideAble. I will also sort through current paper files of individual students to create demographics of gender, age, disability, and current enrollment at RideAble. The elements of this qualitative, mixed method study will indicate what questions need to continue to be asked in future studies.