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Therapeutic riding found to be clinically effective for troubled war veterans

Therapeutic horse riding is clinically effective in easing the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in military veterans, the findings of an American study suggest. The researchers also found that riding for longer appeared to improve the outcome for the troubled veterans.
Rebecca Johnson and her colleagues say large numbers of US veterans are diagnosed with PTSD and/or traumatic brain injury after deployment, leading to an urgent need for effective ways to reduce symptoms and increase their ability to cope.
Symptoms of PTSD include anxiety, flashbacks, and emotional numbing. These symptoms increase health-care costs for stress-related illnesses and can make their return to civilian life difficult.
The researchers devised a study to test whether a six-week therapeutic horse-riding program would decrease their PTSD symptoms, address their emotional problems, and improve their coping abilities.
They noted that while horses and therapeutic riding had previously been used in treating PTSD, there were no randomized controlled trials studying its effectiveness in reducing levels of the condition.