OTD Capstone Projects


This capstone project was completed through partnership with Saddle Up!, in Franklin, Tennessee. Saddle Up! is a nonprofit adaptive barn providing children and youth with disabilities the opportunity to grow and develop through therapeutic, educational, and recreational activities with horses. The primary focus of this project was to create a volunteer training manual for operating the mechanical lift. The deliverable was a PowerPoint which bridged the gap between instructor and volunteer knowledge. It included step by step instructions, as well as education on how to best support participants during the lift process. The secondary focus of the project was educating local organizations that serve children and youth with disabilities on Saddle Up’s Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) program. Education was provided to advocate for the EAL program, and how it benefits children and youth and with disabilities. The final focus of the project was to adapt and refurbish gait trainers for participant use to promote participation. After researching and consulting with experts, it was determined it was not best practice to utilize one gait trainer for multiple children. The deliverable included a resource to educate the staff of Saddle Up! on the purpose of gait trainers, and energy conservation techniques in order to promote participant participation.

Publication Date

Spring 4-18-2022

Faculty Mentor

Elena Espiritu OTD, OTR/L, BCPR


Occupational Therapy, School of


Health Sciences & Nursing, Gordon E. Inman College of

Document Type



Doctorate of Occupational Therapy (OTD)

Degree Level


Degree Grantor

Belmont University


Adaptive Riding, Hippotherapy, Volunteer Training, Equine Assisted Learning, Disabilities