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One aim of this study was to investigate the emphasis (requirements, stresses and strains)
and the actual qualifying (training guide, performance test) of horses in EAI. Another aim was to work out proposals for a standardizable quality management for those horses (development of a guideline for the utilisation and training as well as a performance test for horses in EAI, an instructor licence “EAI” for suppliers, additions to the education guidelines within the horse-related apprenticeships and opportunities for interdisciplinary cooperation).
In Germany Equine Assisted Interventions (EAI), also within the meaning of “Therapeutic Riding”, are increasingly being offered and used. Needed requirements and conditions are little and often insufficiently investigated. But considering the knowledge of veterinary medicine, (behaviour) biology and horse training, differences in the requirements and stresses and strains between horses in EAT and saddle-horse could be determined, which are only inadequate incorporated into the existing additional qualifications for intervention director of EAT. In order to assess conditions and credentials of the utilization of horses in EAI, 252 German suppliers of EAI were asked about their operating structure (21 questions) and their horses (27 questions). This survey is marked by a high return (53,5 %) and response rate (∅ 87 %) and showed that the majority of the providers are small business owners (at a small number of employees (∅ 1–3) and a limited number of horses (∅ 6)). They have got a basic profession and additional hippological qualification and are equally responsible for client and horses.
It is proposed to continue to develop proven horse training programs and performance tests for horses used in EAI. This is necessary in regard of safety aspects during the intervention as well as animal welfare, because of the high level of demands of the horses and the heavy burdens while they are employing in human health programs (∅ 2,3 caregivers and 3,7 inserts à 48,6 min with 2,5 non-competent clients each). Likewise an instructor licence “EAI” and substantial amendments in the guidelines of horse-related apprenticeships should be established. Furthermore, the majority (51 %) would welcome an introduction of a performance test for horses in EAI. And 35 % have the opinion, the supplier´s qualification
have to be tested more intensively.