Call for Papers

Therapies Incorporating Horses to Benefit People: What are They and How are They Distinct?

Research of therapies that incorporate horses to benefit people has expanded since the 1990s. However, this literature has often not distinctly distinguished different therapies from one another, or from non-therapy services. Reliance on generic terms like hippotherapy, equine therapy, and equine-assisted therapy has implied that like-named services are the same when they often differ substantively across recognized dimensions of complex interventions (Wood & Fields, 2019). Examples include: required expertise of providers, numbers of dynamically interacting components, degrees of flexibility, and tailoring designed to meet individualized goals, targeted outcomes, and theories of change (Craig et al., 2013; Craig & Petticrew, 2013; Whyte, 2012). Further, emphasis on outcomes-oriented research has corresponded with neglect of the foundational phase of a progressive, systematic and phased scientific approach for advancing the evidence-base of innovative complex interventions.

The aim of this special issue is to explore the precise nature of health and mental health therapies (e.g., psychotherapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech-language therapy, among other therapies) that incorporate horses. This issue thus seeks studies of distinctly and explicitly named therapies that incorporate live horses to benefit individuals or groups. Preference will be given to studies that elucidate key dimensions of a professional therapy at the foundational phase of scientific development. Examples include (all of which explicitly relate to the incorporation of horses):

  • How specialized knowledge and research evidence informs a clinical/counseling psychologist’s implementation of therapy using the Eagala model
  • How physical therapy’s distinctive philosophy, specialized knowledge, and scope of practice informs licensed physical therapists’ professional reasoning in their utilization of equine movement (hippotherapy)
  • How theory informs and coheres the design, implementation, and selected outcomes of speech-language therapy that integrates or bundles equine movement with other discipline-specific therapeutic approaches.

We also welcome studies of any therapies that, having already addressed the foundational phase of scientific development, are now focused on fidelity, feasibility, efficacy or effectiveness.

Although all types of HAIB submissions will be considered for the special issue (see Author Information), preference will be given to empirical and descriptive investigations. Manuscripts should not exceed 8000 words and should conform to the sixth edition of the APA style manual. Manuscripts should be submitted using the regular HAIB online system, specifying that the submission is for the special issue “Therapies incorporating horses to benefit people”. Papers should be submitted by November 30, 2020.

Please direct any inquiries (e.g., suitability, format, scope, etc.) about this special issue to the guest editor: Wendy Wood ().


Supporting References

Craig, P., Dieppe, P., Macintyre, S., Michie, S., Nazareth, I., & Petticrew, M. (2013). Developing and evaluating complex interventions: The new Medical Research Council guidance. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 50, 585-592.

Craig, P., & Petticrew, M. (2013). Developing and evaluating complex interventions: Reflections on the 2008 MRC guidance. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 50, 585-592.

Whyte, J. (2012). Advancing the evidence base of rehabilation treatments: A developmental approach. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 93(Supplemental 2), S101-S109.

Wood, W. H., & Fields, B. E. (2019). Hippotherapy: A systematic mapping review, 1980-2018. Disability and Rehabilitation. doi: