The first modern recorded use of horses for therapy was in 1901. At the beginning of the last century Dame Agnes Hunt was responsible for opening the first orthopedic hospital in Oswestry, England. She was also the first person in England to officially explore the use of riding as physiotherapy for her disabled patients (The Community for Riding for the Disabled, 2008).
A mere decade later, in 1918 a physiotherapist Miss Olive Sands would take her horses to a hospital outside of Oxford. She would offer therapy to soldiers who had been wounded on the battlefield during World War 1.
These events inspired British physiotherapists to explore the benefits of this treatment for the next 40 years. In 1952, a woman paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair due to polio won the silver medal for the Grand Pris Dressage at the 1952 Helsinki Olympic Games. Dame Liz Hartel was a pioneer who brought Equine assisted therapy into the mainstream. Bringing much attention to her condition and the benefits she gained from riding horses (The Community for Riding for the Disabled, 2008).
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