In the last two decades, equine assisted interventions* has become very popular and has turned into a frequent research topic. However, the explosion of the market (supply and demand) for this type of therapy is not fully justified since the research that supports it is still scarce and of low quality.
Despite the increase in research that has occured in recent years, there is evidence of the need for quality clinical trials (prospective, randomized and blinded) that allow equine assisted activities* and therapies* to become a true evidence-based practice. Furthermore, single case experimental designs (n=1) are proposed as an alternative that can contribute to the improvement of the evidence, when for strategic or ethical reasons group clinical trials cannot be carried out.
It is concluded that in the event that research does not improve in the coming years, these practices will continue to be considered as pseudoscience and will tend to disappear in the medium term.
And, finally, a series of recommendations are made for the development of clinical trials such as:
Conduct rigorous clinical trials: prospective, randomized and blinded.
Use, whenever possible, observational variables with objective variables from biological samples (Cortisol, VFC, Blood markers, etc).
Describe the intervention programs in detail, this will allow the replication and therefore continue to accumulate information.
Use single-case experimental designs when group clinical trials are not feasible,
Register both experiments and systematic reviews in public records before conducting them, and always have the approval of a duly accredited bioethics committee.
Single case experimental design, clinical trial, evidence-based practices, horse-assisted therapies..
* EAAT – Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies.