Photo by Taoni Hickey

The equine-assisted activities and therapies minor is a unique program for students that can help the community in therapeutic ways.

The Equine-assisted activities and therapies minor allows students to use their horses to benefit the community and student body who are struggling with mental health issues and physical disabilites. The students learn about different types of equine-assisted activities and therapies that they could use in their future careers.

Dr. Steffanie Burk, an associate professor in the Equine Science department stated, "In service learning, students must work with a local equine-assisted activities and therapies center to perform a project to benefit the center." 

Otterbein partners with the community of Westerville to help with the Westerville Special Olympics. In the therapeutic riding course, students take turns teaching riders through the Special Olympics.

          

“This minor provides education on how horses can be helpful for people with disabilities," Jenna McPeek, a junior double-major in biochemistry and equine pre-veterinary said. "Riding is a very physical activity and often helps develop balance and body control. Simultaneously, horses function as an emotional support animal of sorts. Those two things combined create a unique experience for therapy.” 

This minor also allows students to experience other fields of education. Students can take the applied equine business principles course, where they complete projects like designing a product or giving a business proposal. 

Overall, this minor allows students to be well-rounded for the future.