Research Article

Conformation analysis of horses used in equine-assisted activities at Polish hippotherapeutic centers

Jacek Łojek, Michał Pluta, Angelika Cieśla, Anna Domachowska, Natalia Przybyłowicz, Anna Łojek

1 Warsaw University of Life Science – SGGW, Poland 2 University of Life Science Lublin, Poland 3 West Pomeranian University of Technology, Szczecin, Poland

Abstract. The objective of the research was to determine the basic conformation traits of horses of different breeds performing hippotherapeutic service at chosen equine therapy centers. The research material included a total of 47 horses from 9 centers: Warsaw (7 horses), Bydgoszcz (6), Lublin and the region (13), Cracow and the region (9), West Pomerania Province (12). The horse groups were formed considering the following parameters: sex (gelding, mare) age (4–9, 10–15,16–24 years of age), breed type (pony, hucul, small and large horse), body size (pony, small). The studies examined three basic zoometric measurements that served as the basis for calculation of conformation indices: massiveness, boniness and overbuilding. It was concluded that the centers under study possess horses, mostly geldings (64%) commonly aged 10–15 years (42.5% of population), whose diverse body size and height allow meeting the needs of the treated patients. Anatomical features of horses and pony-type crossbreds prove to be determinants, to a great extent, of a special predilection of this breed type for hippotherapy. Notable breed variability of horses used in equine therapy programs indicates a necessity of considering a horse breed type while analyzing their suitability for equine-assisted activity in terms of the horse exterior assessment.

Keywords: horses, hippotherapy, animal-assisted acitivities, conformation


This Article

Accepted: 29 Apr 2015

Published online: 29 Apr 2017

Accesses: 646

How to cite

Łojek, J., Pluta, M., Cieśla, A., Domachowska, A., Przybyłowicz, N., Łojek, A., (2015). Conformation analysis of horses used in equine-assisted activities at Polish hippotherapeutic centers. Acta Sci. Pol. Zootechnica, 14(2), 121–134.