Horse Boy Research

Die Zunahme hirnentwicklungsbedingter Dysfunktionen erfordert ein Umdenken in Pädagogik und Medizin. Ursache und Wirkung sind elementare Prinzipien, Therapien erfolgreich einzuleiten und Bildungsprozesse nachfolgend zu ermöglichen. Die von Rupert Isaacson entwickelten Konzepte Horseboy- und Movement Method  bieten herausragende Möglichkeiten, die Hirnreifungsprozesse des Kindes- und Jugendalters zu nutzen, um einerseits die individuelle Persönlichkeit zu respektieren, andererseits die erforderlichen sozialen und intellektuellen Kompetenzen zu erlangen, die ein gesellschaftlich integriertes Leben ermöglichen.

Mit Oberflächen-EMG-Untersuchungen können neuromuskuläre Qualitäten objektiviert werden, die durch neuronale Stimulation besondersauf das Gehirn wirken. Als Beispiele seien der Musculus trapezius pars descendens (Trapezmuskel) genannt, ein direkt von einem Hirnnerv versorgter Muskel , der besonders eng mit dem Hirnareal des Hippocampus und der Amygdalain Verbindung steht, ebenso der Musculusmasseter (Kaumuskel), der bei Stressanfälligkeit Kieferkompression (Zähneknirschen) bewirkt.Muskelketten der tonischen, phylogenetisch älteren  Innervationsstrukturen, die auf vegetativeReize des Fluchtverhaltens reagieren, geben Aufschluß über die Persönlichkeitsstruktur des getesteten Individuums u.a. hinsichtlich seiner Sensitivität und Angststeuerung.

Download full article in German here

MerelHeinemann unilogo

MerelHeinemann uniBy: Merel Marie-Paule Heineman (MSc.)
Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
Faculteit Gedrag- en Maatschappijwetenschappen
Basiseenheid Orthopedagogiek
Masterthesis - Juni 2017



Objective: This study aims to analyze the behavioral changes in a girl who is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) during an intervention called the Horse Boy Method. Method: One girl (eight years old) with ASD participated in this study. During five weeks she received the Horse Boy Method therapy on a weekly basis. The Scale for Emotional Development (SEO-R) and the Strength and Diffulcuties Questionaire (SDQ) were conducted before and after the intervention to establish overall changes in her social and emotional development. Her behavior was filmed and a codebook was used to measure behavioral changes in specific areas of functioning during the five intervention sessions. Results: During five weeks of Horse Boy Method therapy, the participant showed an increase in verbal interaction skills, turn taking, and emotion regulation skills. Furthermore, a decrease of separation anxiety was observed. With regard to non-verbal behavior and sensory distress a variable pattern was observed. Discussion: This case study measured an overall positive effect of the intervention on this girl’s behavior. Horse Boy Method therapy may therefore be a promising intervention in helping children with ASD and their families. Further research, with a larger sample or by means of several case studies, is needed to increase the validity and generalization of this study.


To download the report click here. This version is in Dutch an English translation will be made available in the near future. 




Autumn 2014

RESEARCH PROJECT IN PHYSIOTHERAPY, 15 higher education credits

First cycle Title:
Relatives’ experiences of the Horse Boy Method
A qualitative study

Author :Supervisor : Susanne Rosberg Ph D, RPT
Hanna Hansson Physiotherapy student
Johanna Robertsson Physiotherapy student                             
Examiner: Kaisa Mannerkorpi MDr, Ass. Prof, RPT

To download the whole study in Swedish please click here.



Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) means the individual’s inability to interact in natural relationships and situations. Treatment in autism is not particularly explored. Some say the core is to accept people with ASD as they are and some say you should use all possible resources. Parents of children with ASD experience a lot of sadness and are living under constant pressure, they also worry about the siblings who often takes a lot of responsibility. Research has shown that play therapy and therapeutic horseback riding can improve ASD children’s functioning.


Explore relatives’ experiences of the Horse Boy Method for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.


Half-structured interviews with a hermeneutic phenomenological approach were conducted with seven relatives of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder who have been participating at least two months in the activities at the Horse Boy Centre in Texas, USA.


Relatives of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder experiences’ are described in four categories: Relatives description of the Horse Boy Method, A changed way of seeing and to relate, The relatives’ experiences of the children’s development and Future.


Child-lead treatment and the relative’s situation need more attention in the clinical habilitation in the field of Autism Spectrum Disorder. To succeed with this work more research about child lead treatment is required. An inter-professional way of working between professionals who work with these children is also needed.


Autism Spectrum Disorder, Therapeutic Horseback riding, Child-lead treatment, Physiotherapy, Horse Boy Method.


research-UTInternal research report 

Jennifer A. Lockwood - University of Texas at Austin
Department of Educational Psychology

To download the full report in English please click here.


Objectives: The aim of this pilot study was to explore whether participation in a three day intervention involving horseback riding in nature– a program specifically designed for autistic children and their families called "Horse Boy Camps" - improves child outcomes in terms of social and cognitive functioning, as well as in parental and sibling well-being.

Methods: Child and family outcomes were measured for 6 families who attended a three-day Horse Boy Camp. There was one autistic child per family who attended the camp (3 male and 3 female; M age = 9.17; SD = 2.23).

Results: The study found marginally significant improvements in terms of autistic children's movement sensitivity and sensory and cognitive awareness. In addition parents reported marginally significant improvements in their marital relationship and a trend towards improvement in their autistic child's relationship with their siblings. A trend towards reduced levels of anxiety in the parent was also found.

Conclusions: Horse Boy Camps are a promising intervention for children with autism and their families.

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The Long Ride Home

The long awaited sequel of the Horse Boy.


longridehome 4



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