Dogs may be man’s best friend but, for many people with special needs, happiness is found on horseback.

It’s thought that the rhythmic, rocking motion can stimulate good posture, confidence, comfort, and other therapeutic benefits for people who suffer from physical and mental disabilities.

But a team of undergraduates from Rice University have developed a robotic horse to offer therapies for patients with no easy access to a stable.

Expanding on a similar device previously developed by Rice engineers, the robot, Stewie, is designed to provide a cost-effective alternative to the living creature.

Hippotherapy is a technique commonly used by therapists working with children with disabilities.

But these sessions can be expensive, sometimes costing hundreds of dollars.

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