In the first study of its kind, researchers have determined that spending time with horses eases symptoms of Alzheimer’s and dementia, the MyHorse Daily reports.
A collaboration between The Ohio State University, an equine therapy center and an adult daycare center found that people with Alzheimer’s were able to safely groom, feed and walk horses under supervision — and the experience buoyed their mood and made them less likely to resist care or become upset later in the day.
At the adult daycare center, a National Church Residences Center for Senior Health in downtown Columbus, clients normally partake in crafts, exercise and other activities. For this study, sixteen of the center’s clients who had Alzheimer’s — nine women and seven men — volunteered to break with their regular routine.
Once a week, eight of the clients would remain at the center and pursue other activities while the other eight took a bus trip to the Field of Dreams Equine Education Center in Blacklick, Ohio. There, they visited with horses under the supervision of National Church Residences caretakers, as well as faculty and students from the College of Social Work and the College of Veterinary Medicine at Ohio State.
The clients visited the farm once a week for a month. They groomed and bathed the horses, walked them, and fed them buckets of grass.
Some clients who never wanted to leave their wheelchair asked for help in standing up; others who rarely wanted to walk stood up and walked unassisted, though a caretaker was always there to help them balance. …
To read more of this fascinating study, go to the blog MyHorseDaily.