Date of Award

Spring 4-25-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Kayla Collins, EdD, OTR/L

Second Advisor

Thais Petrocelli, OTD, OTR/L

Third Advisor

Mary Shotwell, PhD, OT/L

Medical Subject Headings

Equine-assisted Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Outcome Assessment


The Hippotherapy Evaluation and Assessment Tool (HEAT) was created in 2011 with the goal of creating an assessment specific to this therapeutic intervention and effectively tracking client progress. Based on the current literature of client progress during hippotherapy intervention, four domains of scoring were created: Static Posture, Dynamic Motor Behavior, Sensory Processing, and Psychosocial/Behavioral. Over the years, many thesis studies have been conducted to confirm the reliability and validity of the HEAT. However, further dissemination was required as many therapists had not yet heard of the tool. A doctoral capstone project was completed in 2019-2020 to create a training program for educating therapists on the use of the HEAT, as well as supplemental materials for further ease of use. The training program includes video modules including demonstrations of the HEAT being conducted with clients, a written administration manual, and multiple formats of the supplemental materials.


Capstone project submitted to the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Occupational Therapy.