Government supports further research on equine therapy

 Studies to help develop evidence base on equine therapy for Veterans with mental health conditions

ASHBURN, ON, July 27, 2015 /CNW/ - The Honourable Erin O'Toole, Minister of Veterans Affairs, today announced funding for two new research studies on the effectiveness of equine (horse) therapy for Veterans with mental health conditions.

The Canadian Institute of Military and Veteran Health Research (CIMVHR) will receive $250,000 to conduct an Equine Assisted Intervention Study. As well, Can Praxis will receive $25,000 to continue its equine research. Can Praxis' new research study will build on its own 2013 equine therapy pilot study. Both studies will assist in establishing an evidence base on the use of equine therapy for Veterans with mental health conditions.

Quick facts

  • The Government of Canada is engaging partners on mental health issues that affect Veterans and their families.
  • Can Praxis is a not-for-profit organization that uses equine-assisted learning to support Veterans with mental health conditions, and their spouses.
  • The Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research (CIMVHR) is an innovative organization that engages existing academic research resources and facilitates the development of new research, research capacity and effective knowledge transfer. With a network of academic researchers from across Canada, it serves as the hub for 37 Canadian universities that work together in addressing the health research requirements of Canadian Veterans and their families.
  • In May 2013, VAC announced a partnership with St. John Ambulance Canada and Can Praxis to research the benefits of using therapy dogs and horses to assist Veterans dealing with mental health issues.
  • In September 2013, VAC announced a partnership with the Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research (CIMVHR) to conduct a research assessment on whether psychiatric service dogs can assist individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).


"The Government of Canada is committed to exploring treatment and therapy options for Veterans with operational stress injuries like PTSD. Research studies like these help us understand the treatment better to determine when and where equine therapy could be used as part of a treatment regime for a Veteran. This is part of our Government's major focus on mental health treatments and supports, including the national network of operational stress injury clinics to support Veterans and
their families."
The Honourable Erin O'Toole, Minister of Veterans Affairs

"The Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research (CIMVHR) welcomes the interest and support of Veterans Affairs Canada and the Government of Canada in research for equine therapy.  Research into the effectiveness of animal-assisted interventions will provide more evidence about treatments available to Veterans to assist them with post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health conditions. Ultimately, the research will provide information on the effectiveness of this treatment for symptom management, and guidance as to its appropriateness for Veteran's mental health treatment. As always, CIMVHR is committed to working with Veterans to identify innovative, evidence-based therapies to help them with all of their health needs."
Dr. Alice Aiken, Director, Canadian Institute of Military and Veteran Health Research

"With today's announcement, Can Praxis is very pleased as this enables us to continue to provide the highest quality equine programs possible along with the development of professional standards for this type of work in relation to PTSD and operational stress injuries. Our Veterans and their families deserve the best assistance possible in understanding and overcoming the conflict and crisis PTSD will introduce into their lives, and today is another step forward in making that a reality. This announcement acknowledges the value of equine-assisted programs and will go a long way in gaining further acceptance of its inherent value within the Canadian Armed Forces, the Department of National Defence and the Veteran community, including Veteran Affairs Canada. For this we heartily thank the Minister, Mr. Erin O'Toole, and Veterans Affairs Canada."
Steve Critchley, Can Praxis

Related products

  • Equine therapy infobyte
  • Backgrounder - Equine Therapy

Associated links


SOURCE Veterans Affairs Canada

For further information: Martin Magnan, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs, 613-996-4649; Media Relations, Veterans Affairs Canada, 613-992-7468


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