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Equine-assisted therapy for children with neurodisability

Published May 2014

Download the full evidence summary PDF: Therapy with Horses (Equine-Assisted Therapies)

PLEASE NOTE: This summary was produced more than 4 years ago. Information provided may be out of date. If you think it would be helpful to update this summary please contact us at

What were we asked?

Two questions were received about equine-assisted therapies. One asked about the general evidence base for this type of therapy for children with disabilities, and the other question asked more specifically about the effectiveness of equine-assisted therapy for children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Key findings

There is limited evidence that equine-assisted therapies may produce short-term improvements in mobility, postural control and balance for some children with cerebral palsy.

There is little evidence that equine-assisted therapy is effective for other conditions such as ADHD and ASD.

More rigorous research is needed to clarify which children are likely to benefit from equine-assisted therapy, what ‘benefits’ are expected, and the optimum frequency and duration of therapy.

However, horse riding is an activity that many children enjoy and helps to keep them fit.

This information is produced by PenCRU researchers and reviewed by external experts. The views expressed are those of PenCRU at the University of Exeter Medical School and do not represent the views of the Cerebra charity, or any other parties mentioned. We strongly recommend seeking medical advice before undertaking any treatments/therapies.