Horses and Humans Research
News & Updates
Horses Change Lives, You Can Too!
Dear Friend of the Foundation,
It is with both great gratitude and ardent enthusiasm that I look forward to the upcoming year. To be sure, the Horses and Humans Research Foundation (HHRF) will continue to lead in the pursuit of financial support for the highest quality research to help ensure the continued impact, influence, and transparency of the many important developments in equine activities and therapies. We cannot do that, however, without the sustained support and collaborations of our donors and partners. Thank you to our many donors and please take pride in your role in helping move the science of healthcare forward.
We at HHRF are faced with an exciting challenge. A remarkably generous anonymous donor has presented HHRF with a fundraising challenge to make 2019 a uniquely impactful year for research. As you may have learned, we are confronted with an exhilarating opportunity for a matching gift, and it requires your important support.
Our donor has offered $25,000 to HHRF restricted exclusively for research, but only when we successfully raise an additional cumulative $25,000 from our others donors. The result will be an exciting and impactful new grant of $50,000 for scholarly research that will assuredly disrupt traditional healthcare and seize on opportunities that require innovative partnerships of horses and humans. Please consider helping us make this challenge a reality!
We value the difference our work makes. And we value the support of our friends. I am happy to share with you the response we recently received from retired Iraq War veteran, US Army Sargent Kenneth Haynes, describing his healing experience with his horse, Gunner:
Before the recommendation to go to equine therapy I was a complete mess. My PTSD from two tours of Iraq was barely under control. The anxiety and depression was keeping me home, the fear of going places with crowds was overwhelming. Equine therapy gave me a place to go that wasn't crowded and allowed me to be with fellow vets that where in the same place as I was. My horse, called Gunner, gave me a chance to finally relax and have someone to talk to. No matter how bad my day was before I went, Gunner would always make it better. Being able to interact with him, whether it be grooming or round penning, gave me purpose for still being around and wanting to go somewhere. The more I went to equine therapy, the less my anxiety got. I was able to get out more afterwards. The horses have a calming effect that cannot be explained. The discipline it takes to learn how to be around the horse and work with it gives you the direction and focus that is often lost when leaving the military. There is no way for me to stay in a bad or depressed state of mind while being around the horses. The horses have a way of telling what mood you are in and doing something to change it for the good. I recommend equine therapy to other veterans because of the positive outcome it had for me. Horses teach you and you learn from them how to feel good about life and to keep going." -
Kenneth Haynes ,SGT USA RET
Ken Boyden, JD, EdD
Welcoming Our Newest Board Member and Scientific Advisors
Nancy Paschall, Spartanburg, SC
Nancy Paschall is a life-long horse person having shown western, hunters, jumpers, and Tennessee Walking Horses, which she has also bred and trained. She was an avid 4-H'er. She has been leading EAAT organizations for 12 years, including being part of several research teams. She is a Walking Horse Owners and Exhibitors Association Certified Judge and a PATH Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning. She received her B.S. in psychology from Old Dominion University and went on to become a family therapist as well as a policy analyst. She is currently working on her MBA from St. Andrews University
"Outcomes are validated by research and as equine assisted activities and therapies become increasingly well-known it is crucial that research that leads to the development of best practices be supported and disseminated. Relationships with horses are life-changing; now we have to gather the evidence!"
Ann Linda Baldwin PhD, Tucson, AZ
Ann Baldwin, PhD is Director of Mind-Body-Science and Professor of Physiology at the University of Arizona where she studies the physiological effects of mental and emotional stress and quantitatively evaluates methods to reduce stress. For the last 15 years she has used Biofeedback, Reiki, Equine Therapy and Trauma Release Exercises in her business to help people manage their stress and improve performance. She is a certified HeartMath trainer and is frequently invited to give seminars and stress reduction workshops to local and national institutions, clinics and businesses.
"Horse people recognize the benefit that horses offer humans, physically and emotionally, but we need research data to convince everyone else."
M. Elizabeth (Betsy) Kemeny, PhD, CTRS,Grove City, PA
M. Elizabeth (Betsy) Kemeny, PhD, CTRS is currently an Assistant Professor at Slippery Rock University who focuses her research on equine-assisted interventions for both adolescents on the autism spectrum and older adults. She is a member of the International Society for Autism Research, a certified Heart Math Intervention Specialist, a certified Heart Math coach, and a credentialed Professional Gerontologist. Her presentations and publications focus on youth with autism, staff development supporting the care needs of older adults, and client assessment. More recently, she has also been working with researchers from Clemson and Temple Universities on the ATRA Delphi/Competency Study to better understand the competencies needed in the field of Recreational Therapy.
"I am convinced that rigorous research is the best way to promote knowledge of horse-human interactions benefits to health outcomes."
From the Board President's Desk
HHRF has had a busy winter and we are excited for some beautiful weather! In March, the HHRF board met for a productive face-to-face meeting in Lexington, Kentucky. We discussed the future of HHRF, outreach strategies for non-profits, and identified new ways to share the outcomes of our HHRF funded studies.
The highlight of the weekend was our visit to University of Kentucky's Sports Medicine and Research Institute where we had a guided tour of the facility with Dr. Kimberly Tumlin. We had an opportunity to see many tools used at the institute and brave board member Patricia Ochman even tried out one of the exercise horses! Dr. Tumlin collaborates with multidisciplinary teams of researchers to align research strategies that support jockey, exercise rider, and other equestrian sports activities.
Another reason to be excited about spring is that we will soon we announce our annual request for proposals. This year we are especially excited because HHRF was offered a phenomenal opportunity by an anonymous donor. For a limited time, donations up to $25,000 will be matched 100%! What does this mean? It means that HHRF will be able to offer a $50,000 grant this year! Please help us to meet this challenge and
As always, thank you for your support of HHRF. We are supporting outstanding research that makes a difference in the lives of horses and the people who work with them. If you have any questions about HHRF or would like to share your thoughts about what we do, please feel free to contact me at
Pam Cusick, MA
President, Board of Directors
HHRF currently has two active projects in the field. The "
Tracking Kinematic and Kinetic Data during Horse Riding for Optimizing Therapeutic Outcomes"
project at Texas A&M University has wrapped up data collection and is currently in the process of analyzing the data. "The Feasibility, Acceptability, and Preliminary Efficacy of a Manualized Equine-assisted Occupational Therapy Intervention for Children with Autism" project at
Temple Grandin Equine Center -
Colorado State University
is progressing well with n=24 participants enrolled and all baseline measurements collected. We are looking forward to sharing the results from both of these important studies!
Future Professional Development of the Equine-Assisted Activities and Therapies Field
The future of equine assisted activities and therapies (EAA/T) is dependent on research. Imagine what we could do if everyone invested even a little?
Horses and Humans Research Foundation strives to move research from the arena to the lab and back to the arena again, where advancements truly impact lives. HHRF, in partnership with visionary donors, has successfully selected and funded critical EAA/T research that is already inspiring and leading the future of this field by:
- Establishing best practices;
- Guiding the development of tomorrow's curricula and therapy plans;
- Providing the required evidence needed to establish credibility with third-party funding sources (e.g., insurance companies) and donors, greatly improving access;
- Gaining the professional recognition and respect EAA/T deserves.
Not all of us can conduct research but we can ALL support it.
Please support knowledge to advance the future of our programs and services by sending your check to HHRF, PO Box 23367, Chagrin Falls, Ohio, 44022, or by donating
Our sincerest gratitude is extended to those who have responded to our matching grant challenge. Our urgent encouragement is extended to the rest of you to please help us advance EAA/T through research- today!
On behalf of the entire HHRF team, thank you for your support!
P.O. Box 23367 ∙ Chagrin Falls, OH ∙ 44022 ∙ USA
and to learn more about HHRF news on an ongoing basis.
Pam Cusick, MA, President
C. Mike Tomlinson, DVM, MBA, Past President
Evelyn McKelvie, C.E.C., V. President
Patricia Ochman, B.C.L., LL.B, Secretary
Sally Lehnhardt, Treasurer
Nancy Coyne, MD
Molly Sweeney, Emerita Status
Ken Boyden, JD, EdD, Executive Director (nonvoting)
Allan Hamilton, MD
Philip Tedeschi, MSSW, LCSW
Heather Ajzenman, OTD, OTR/L
Ann Baldwin, PhD
Heidi Banse, DVM, PhD, DACVIM (LA)
Margaret Bass, PhD
Susan Brenneman, PT, PhD
Virginia Buechner-Maxwell, DVM
Renee Casady, PT,MS,HPCS
Pam Cusick, MA
Lydia Donaldson, VMD, PhD, Diplomate ACVAA
Manon Dontje, PhD
Erica Jex Gergely, PhD
Judith Gibbons, PhD
Erin Grogan, PhD
Paul Haefner, PhD
Victoria Haehl, PhD
Carolyn Hammer, DVM, PhD
M. Elizabeth Kemeny, PhD, CTRS
Donna Latella, EdD, OTR/
Laura Lubbers, PhD
Karyn Malinowski, PhD
Arieahn Matamonasa, PhD
Nancy McGibbon, MS, PT, HPCS
Megan Kiely Mueller, PhD
Pamela Mitchell, PhD
Tim Shurtleff, OTD, OTR/L
Maureen Vidrine, DNP, APRN-PMH. BC
Leslie Williams, DVM, MPH, DACVA
PhD, OTR, FAOTA