Horseback Riding May Help Improve Memory, Learning, and Problem-Solving in Children

By: | March 26th, 2017

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Every parent wants their child to do well. As per research published in the journal “Frontiers in Public Health,” horseback riding could make children more intelligent and perform better at school.

In fact, the effects of vibrations produced during horseback riding result in the activation of the sympathetic nervous system, which activates the kids’ nervous system.

Researchers from the Tokyo University of Agriculture have checked this by making the children complete simple response and mathematical tests before and after riding horses. Researchers also measured the kids’ heart rate in response to movements created by the horses.

Study author Professor Mitsuaki Ohta said, “We wanted to look into these effects because previous studies have demonstrated the benefits of horseback riding with respect to enhancing physical health and the mental effects, but few studies have addressed the effects of horseback riding on children and the mechanisms underlying how riding affects humans.”

Researchers tested behavioral reactions of the children by using a ‘Go/No-go’ test, with the goal to review cognitive response. These test results showed that riding horses significantly improved the children’s ability to perform behavioral tasks. However, they didn’t find the same improvement when solving mathematical problems.

Ohta said, “One important characteristic of the horse steps is that they produce three-dimensional accelerations. The movement of the horse’s pelvis may provide motor and sensory inputs to the human body, and in this study, I believe some of the differences among the rider’s performances might be due to these accelerations.”

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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