Grants Fund Research on Equine-Assisted Therapy and Veterans

The Horses and Humans Research Foundation (HHRF) has recently announced a unique initiative to investigate the therapeutic effects of equine-assisted activities for military veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and/or traumatic brain injury (TBI). This special research fund began with a seed contribution from the Caisson Platoon Equine Assisted Program, which serves the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the National Naval Medical Center. It is the first of a series of specially focused research initiatives planned by HHRF for the coming years, a departure from the more general research funding that has been available since the organization was founded in 2004.

"This special grant fund is becoming available at a time when we are seeing explosive growth in equine-assisted activity programs for military veterans, so it is very exciting for our entire field, since the outcomes of the research can benefit all of those programs." said Judy Lightfoot, HHRF board president. "Equine-assisted activities have been shown to be effective in treating patients, including combat veterans, with PTSD and TBI, but we really need to know more about why it works and what methods work best. Those are some of the answers we hope to get from this research investment."

Research funding totaling $50,000 will be offered through a competitive and rigorous application and review process. Grants are selected on a competitive basis, taking into account scientific merit, scientific and clinical significance, and relevance. All applications undergo a three-tier review process, completed by the scientific review committee. The average grant award is $50,000 for up to a one-year period.

"This fund is also exciting for us because it represents the first of what we hope will be many specially focused research programs," added Lightfoot. "We are currently developing one special fund to investigate the effects of equine-assisted activities for participants with autism spectrum disorders, and another for those with cerebral palsy."

This veterans-focused research initiative has been made possible from contributions of visionary donors including the Caisson Platoon, Louise H & David S Ingalls Foundation, Swimmer Family Foundation, as well as multiple individuals and anonymous contributors.

Information for applicants, including application materials, previously funded projects, review guidelines and more are available at Researchers can contact the foundation office for assistance finding local programs that provide programming for military veterans, for possible collaborations.

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