Hippotherapy Sensory Trails in Stewartville, MN
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This thesis will focus on healthcare and therapeutic design with the major focus being hippo-therapy trails for young individuals with anxiety, depression and Sensory Processing Disorder. Hippo-therapy or equine therapy has been used in Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) for over forty years and continues to grow and evolve. Anxiety and depression are also growing more than ever in young people due to the societal pressures on their generation. The purpose of this thesis is to create a community-based program that combines horseback riding and sensory trails. This trail will be an additional element that is applied to an existing equestrian faculty. The trail will consist of multiple spurs, ranging in terrain and material, that will promote mental health and function. These trails will contain natural obstacles that challenge the riders at different levels, as to establish a program that allows for personal growth. Trails will be marked with signage displaying the difficulty level and types of natural obstacles they will encounter. The site location will be discovered through ArcGIS Pro suitability analysis that displays existing slope, soil, and canopy features of existing riding facilities. Standards from associations such as The Anxiety Treatment Center, American Hippo-therapy Association, and Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International, will guide this thesis project in trail difficulty, trail location and trail width. While case studies such as Pegasus Farm Sensory Trail, Saddle Safari Discovery trail, and Beat Riding Center Sensory Trail will influence the trail activities and material.