Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA)


Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning

Committee Chair(s)

Keith Christensen


Keith Christensen


David Anderson


Judy Smith


Equine-Assisted Activities and Therapies (EAAT) is recognized as a therapeutic approach for persons with disabilities. The USU Animal, Dairy, and Veterinary Sciences Department provides EAAT instruction and services; however, they do not have the appropriate facilities to model best-practices in the delivery of these services. This design research entailed the development of a phased masterplan to support the instruction and delivery of equine-assisted activities and therapies in an innovative and accessible environment that supports animal-assisted intervention and natural equine behaviors.

The methodology used to approach the master plan design was derived from Norman K. Booth’s (1990) design process, as described in his book, Basic Elements of Landscape Architectural Design. The design process provided the needed clarity and simplistic format to address the complex project. The designer’s portion of the process was to complete the project acceptance, research and analysis, and design.

This design research argues that there is a healthier and more natural way to board domesticated horses other than typical methods, such as stalls or paddocks. USU’s EAAT program works closely with horses to promote human safety, healing, and learning. Their equine counterparts need to be predictable in order to ensure the successful execution of those goals. In order to be predictable, horses need to be healthy and happy. Environments that promote natural equine behaviors are proven to promote equine health and well-being.

This project resulted in a detailed master plan that not only meets the current and future needs of the EAAT program, but the results from the project research also produced design principles that should be implemented as a new method for equine boarding. The new boarding method is known as “Equine Living Systems” or “Track Systems.” The discovered design principles mentioned in this document will promote natural equine behaviors, and, therefore, provide the appropriate environment of safety, healing, and learning for every user of the future EAAT facilities.