Three people have joined the Scientific Advisory Board of the Horses and Humans Research Foundation. * Photo by Jan Canty via Unsplash.

Professors & Equine Behaviorist to Focus on Horse-Human Interactions

Two educators and an equine scientist will advise a group that seeks to advance global knowledge of the impact of horse-human interactions on the health and wellness of humans and equines.

The Horses and Humans Research Foundation (HHRF), based in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, announced it had hired three new members of its scientific advisory council: Dr. Mary Acri, Dr. Laura Bassette and Dr. Krisztina Nagy.

“We are excited about our three new SAC advisors and look forward to their insight about grant applications,” HHRF Executive Director Dr. Pebbles Turbeville said in a statement. “We are hoping to keep them busy in the future with more grants or by contributing to our education programs through articles or webinars.”

Dr. Mary Acri

Dr. Mary Acri received both her Master of Social Work and her PhD in clinical social work from New York University. She is currently a Research Associate Professor within the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at New York University Langone School of Medicine. Her areas of professional interest include child disruptive behavior disorders, peer-delivered interventions, animal-assisted treatment for children with anxiety and autism, and developing and testing unique models of detection and outreach for families impacted by poverty.

Dr. Laura Bassette

Dr. Laura Bassette is an Associate Professor in applied behavior analysis/autism at Ball State University and a doctoral-level board-certified behavior analyst. Prior to Ball State, Dr. Bassette earned her Ph.D. in special dducation from Purdue University and completed a post-doctoral fellowship with an emphasis in severe disabilities at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. She developed her passion for exploring the connection between horses and people based on personal experiences she had with horses growing up. During her master’s program at Purdue University, she earned her PATH (then NARHA) Registered Riding Instructor in 2006. Her master’s thesis compared using live horses and horse materials to teach an equine-based mathematics curriculum to students with moderate disabilities. These experiences working with people with disabilities in therapeutic riding settings are what ultimately led her to the field of Special Education. During her doctoral program, she conducted another preliminary study examining the impact of a therapeutic riding program on conversational skills in people with disabilities. 

Dr. Bassette continues to maintain her PATH Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor certification and engage in research that includes horseback activities for children with disabilities. Her current primary line of research focuses on using technology to deliver physical activity interventions to people with developmental disabilities and autism in inclusive community fitness settings. In her free time she enjoys riding her Percheron horse and competes him in lower level dressage. 

Dr. Krisztina Nagy

Dr. Krisztina Nagy is an equine scientist, a professional riding coach and a happy horse owner. She completed her Ph.D. on horse behavior and has been working as a scientific research fellow and as a lecturer in several subjects, including ethology, biostatistics and research planning. Dr. Nagy shares that many people ask her to help with their horse’s problematic behavior, but she believes the truth is, to be able to address the horse’s behavioral challenges successfully, the riders need to change their approach, too.

Nagy believes through the help of horses, magical transformation can take place. And the best thing is that one does not need to be a horsey person to get amazing results with equine-facilitated learning and therapy. “Let’s share this magic with the whole World!”

For more information about HHRF and our team, visit the website or contact Dr. Pebbles Turbeville, Executive Director, [email protected].