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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. The purpose of the poster presentation would be to review the creation of the HEAT and the appropriate literature regarding hippotherapy, review the assessment and administration, as well as answer questions for therapists interested in incorporating it into their practice.

Publication Date

Spring 4-23-2020

Medical Subject Headings

Occupational Therapy, Equine-Assisted Therapy, Patient Outcome Assessment, Education, Professional,


Occupational Therapy


Poster presented at the Spring 2020 Virtual OTD Capstone Symposium at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences on April 23, 2020.


  1. Austin, A., Bridges, K, Pledger, D., & Truitt, L. (2013). Concurrent validity of the hippotherapy evaluation and assessment tool (HEAT). (Unpublished master's thesis). Brenau University, Gainesville, GA.
  2. Carter, A., Lant, M., Samples, C., & Woodham, K. (2014). Exploration of known groups and predictive validity of the hippotherapy evaluation and assessment tool. (Unpublished master's thesis).
  3. Brenau University, Gainesville, GA. Hallberg, L. (2018). The clinical practice of equine-assisted therapy: Including horses in human healthcare. New York, NY: Routledge.

Developing Educational Resources to Support the Use of the Hippotherapy Evaluation and Assessment Tool