A new report from the University of Regina shows horses can help teenagers dealing with solvent abuse.

The two-year study was conducted at the White Buffalo Youth Inhalant Centre at the Sturgeon Lake First Nation.

Researchers found horses had a positive impact on the emotional, social, spiritual and cultural aspects of the teen girls at the centre.

Darlene Chalmers, an assistant professor with the Faculty of Social Work, says they hope to do more research with other animals, as well:

“A future study is being planned with a wealth of community partners again to explore the use of horses and also dogs in animal-assisted therapy and for addiction treatment and so we want to again take a look at what that might mean involving other species of animals and so we are looking specifically at horses and dogs”.

Chalmers says when it comes to the horses being used in the program, there is an established selection process:

“There are horses that go through a fair bit of extensive assessment, there are horses that have to be of a particular temperament to be able to work and be around a number of individuals, children, youth, adults, a suitable horse helper for the program.”

Chalmers says the research documents are now available online for organizations and members of the public.