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Crazy People
Research with Mary

“Even if you just change one life, you’ve changed the world forever.” 
— Mike Satterfield


In 2012, we identified the need to use technology to gather hard statistical data on the benefits of therapeutic riding.  Providing Equine Assisted therapeutic riding technology became a reality via collaboration with engineering students from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. From this data we have been able to extract measurable outcomes and significantly improve the services we provide to our therapeutic riding clients. Our research study programs have demonstrated the following positive impacts:

  • Increase in our clients’ overall health and well being

  • Increase of data to customize therapeutic riding plans

  • Increase of data for outcome measurements of therapeutic riding benefits


Equine therapeutic riding equipment such as Xannie, the Therapeutic Riding Simulator, and multiple adaptive bio-feedback mechanisms have improved client experiences at the Lakeland Center and produced significant new data.  The Lakeland Center now has seven design projects being developed, updated, and utilized before, during, and after lessons.  All designs will be vital in implementing our Mobile Project as well.


While the technology and data are impressive, it is the Lakeland Center’s long-term goal to provide these designs to other identified therapeutic riding centers to broaden the research effort. More designs, measurements, data, and in-depth studies are needed to reach our ultimate goal of providing hard scientific data about the benefits of therapeutic riding.  As professionals, we see the difference therapeutic riding makes, but the industry needs data.  Our vision is that the data will provide the scientific measurements needed to increase resources for those we serve in therapy lessons and improve the industry as a whole.


In 2015, research collaboration with ISU’s occupational therapy students produced an in-depth documentation process that will provide standardized measurement data tools for therapeutic riding lessons. Included in this project are thorough evidence-based intake and assessment forms, standardized goals, a developed scale for actual lesson measurements, and balance study completion. Evaluations and data retrieved will compile documentation, lesson scale data, objective and subjective certified personnel evaluations, photo and video documentation, the balance study, and technology data results.

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