New publication showcases peer-reviewed research for equine assisted services and horse-human interaction - Veterinary Practice
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New publication showcases peer-reviewed research for equine assisted services and horse-human interaction

A new publication entitled the Equine Assisted Services Research Report compiles details on and links to peer-reviewed equine research under the “EAS” banner



The landscape of equine research changed in October when American publisher Fran Jurga unveiled the Equine Assisted Services Research Report (EASR) at the 2023 Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl.) Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The new digital publication, accessible on smartphones, tablets and computers, compiles details on and links to peer-reviewed equine research under the “EAS” banner, including both animal and human sciences.

“Equine assisted services must incorporate aspects of equine and veterinary science to serve the horse as a key participant, but also include diverse human elements from medical practice, social work, kinematics, occupational therapy, experiential learning, psychotherapy, and beyond,” said Fran.

“The recognisable peaks of veterinary medicine, equine behaviour, and animal science still dominate equine research.

“But now peer-reviewed journals are also documenting equine assisted articles, which delve into therapeutic/adaptive riding, equine-assisted psychotherapy, hippotherapy, equine-assisted learning, human-horse interaction, and veterinary social work. Take a look inside EASR and you’ll see there’s a lot more to it than hugging horses.”

The mission of the EASR is to inform busy EAS center professionals, degree candidates, educators, medical authorities and funding agencies, as well as clients and their families, and to publicly chronicle the progress of EAS as the field moves into the future.

The new quarterly compendium gives subscribers an interactive framework filled with easily browsable descriptions coupled with live links to follow for downloading or saving important new research and theses specific to equine-assisted services.

About 70 percent of entries are open access, free for all to read and download for their personal libraries.

A clickable sidebar index makes it easy for users to skip around among 50 topics, ranging from 25 medical diagnoses under study to specific professionally-supervised therapies, equine-assisted learning methods, and therapeutic riding.

Each edition covers research released in the previous three-months.

Sub-sections of the report link readers to new research on the health, behaviour and well-being of EAS participant horses, along with para equestrian sport, relevant robotic therapies, riding simulation systems, tack innovations, veterinary social work and the biomechanics of both horses and humans during riding.

In addition to articles, EASR equips subscribers with lists of links to new graduate and doctoral theses, clinical trials announcements from the National Library of Medicine and WHO, abstract submission details for conferences, journal calls for articles, and new reference books and preprints.

According to the American Horse Council, equine assisted services is one of the fastest growing sectors of the horse industry in the US.

The second quarter of 2023 EAS Research Report contained 99 linked studies published over three months in 47 peer-reviewed journals, with authors from 24 nations representing 55 universities, as well as field research from independent professionals.

Projections indicate that 2023 will far surpass previous years in both volume and quality of content.

The new report follows in some well-formed hoofprints. Fran Jurga is also the publisher of the award-winning HoofSearch, a monthly selective dissemination tool compiling details of hard-to-find peer-reviewed equine hoof science and all aspects of lameness and biomechanics in horses.

Fran Jurga developed EASR out of her own frustrations as a journalist reporting on equine-assisted research.

“I could tell I was just scratching the surface of something much deeper,” she recalled. “I’ve watched EAS research mature over the years; it’s an industry sector whose time has come, both in the field and at universities worldwide.

“EAS research deserves a one-stop showcase publication, and now it has one,” she continued.

The new publication documents the important EAS mission to bring people and horses together in the most positive way for all involved, and to keep moving forward confidently, with the imprimatur of peer review and graduate/doctoral thesis work to build upon and attract potential students and career practitioners.

Recent output on the welfare of EAS horses alone as traced by EASR is worthy of note; EAS horses are presented in research as a unique subset of working horses and worthy of study.

“You know you’re on the right track when researchers check to make sure you’ll be listing their new papers,” Fran continued.

“EASR’s links bring more eyes and clicks to journal pages, more social media shares, and, of course, a wider understanding of what the growing field of EAS is capable of achieving and why it should be supported. Who wouldn’t want to be part of this?”

A subscription to Equine Assisted Services Research Report is $100US, worldwide, for four quarterly editions. A device with Internet access and a verifiable email address are required. Subscriptions are sold directly online through the website. News about EAS research news is a feature of the website.

Please note that current PATH Intl members enjoy a discounted subscription price if making the purchase through the PATH website store.

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