NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — The Rutgers Equine Science Center is currently recruiting veterans for a research project investigating the effects of equine assisted services on veterans with PTSD. The research is being conducted by doctoral candidate Ellen Rankins, and professors Ken McKeever and Karyn Malinowski, director of ESC.
If you are a veteran yourself or have a loved one who could benefit from this type of intervention, please contact Ms. Rankins by email or phone. This is a partnership between the Equine Science Center, the Rutgers Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology, and Special Strides Therapeutic Riding Center in Monroe, NJ.
Veterans interested in participating can reach out directly to Ellen Rankins by email (email@example.com) or phone (848-932-3761). They will go through an initial screening survey over the phone to ensure they meet the inclusion criteria for the study. All veterans will participate in baseline testing at the Rutgers University, New Brunswick campus. This process is expected to take 3-4 hours and involves collection of demographic information, screening for PTSD, collection of a blood sample, and measurement of heart rate and movement during interaction tasks with another person.
Participants with PTSD will then be randomly assigned to 8-weeks of equine assisted activities (EAA) or an 8-week wait-listed control group. Those in the wait-listed control group continue life as normal and can participate in the EAA after post-testing.
Those in the EAA group will travel to Special Strides (Monroe, NJ) once a week for 8 weeks for a 30-minute session with a horse and trained staff at Special Strides. Various physiological measures including blood samples, heart rate, and muscle activity will be recorded during the sessions. Participants will interact with the horse from the ground and learn basic horsemanship skills. Total time spent at the facility will be closer to one hour to account for equipment set-up and removal.
Post-testing will occur at the end of the 8-week period. Participants will visit the Rutgers, New Brunswick campus for post-testing in which the same measurements as baseline are taken (expected to take 1-2 hours). Compensation is provided for travel to and from Special Strides as well as participant’s time during testing.
The research team is looking to begin baseline testing in late June and early July. Scheduling of specific days and times for project activities will be flexible as we work with the participant’s schedules.