Looking After Horses Reduces Stress, Study Says
By Karla Danica Figuerres | April 28, 2014 12:55 PM EST
A new research claimed that looking after horses and horseback riding can help lessen stress and anxiety among teenagers.
A study confirmed that young people who consumed their time grooming, managing and riding horses had lesser amounts of stress hormones.
The researchers examined the saliva of 130 youths who were enrolled in a school horsemanship course that lasted 12 weeks. The enrolees spent 90 minutes a week educating themselves about grooming and horsemanship.
Before and after the 12-week programme, every teenager gave six samples of saliva for 2 days. After getting the samples, the researchers evaluated the levels of stress hormone cortisol.
The data gathered from the study was released in the American Psychological Association's Human-Animal Interaction Bulletin. The research findings showed that youth who played with horses had considerably lower stress levels than a control group.
"We found that children who had participated in the 12-week program had significantly lower stress hormone levels throughout the day and in the afternoon, compared to children in the waitlisted group," Dr Patricia Pendry, from Washington State University, stated.
"We get excited about that because we know that higher base levels of cortisol—particularly in the afternoon—are considered a potential risk factor for the development of psychopathology," she added.
It is hoped that the research could be a first step in discovering ways to avoid teenagers developing mental health problems.
Earlier findings have already found that interacting with dogs, horses and cats can be beneficial for children, as it improves teenagers' self-esteem. However, the idea of horses as reducing stress in adolescents has never before been researched.
"We were coming at this from a prevention perspective," said Pendry. She hopes that horsemanship could be used as a type of therapy for people with psychological and mental problems.
"We are especially interested in optimizing healthy stress hormone production in young adolescents, because we know from other research that healthy stress hormone patterns may protect against the development of physical and mental health problems.
"The beauty of studying stress hormones is that they can be sampled quite noninvasively and conveniently by sampling saliva in naturalistic settings as individuals go about their regular day," she ended.
To contact the editor, e-mail:
Most Popular Slideshows
- Taylor Swift Named Forbes' Second Highest Paid Country Musician [PHOTOS]
- Forever Lost: Indescribable Anguish for Malaysia Airlines MH17 Families, Remains of Some Victims May Never Be Found (PHOTOS)
- Global Aviation Accidents: UN to Form Safety Task Force, Gov'ts Should Share Intelligence Info to Avert Future Incidents on Flying Over Warzones (PHOTOS)
- PageSix: Beyonce & Jay Z Union is Not About Love, All About Business & the Brand
Join the Conversation
- Richard Norris' Successful Face Transplant Lands Him in GQ Cover [WATCH VIDEOS]
- Breaking Discovery: Industrial Pollution Reached South Pole by 19th Century
- NASA Scientists Advance Understanding of Climate Change With The Help Of IceCube
- These 2 Questions Reveal if You Unwittingly Abuse Alcohol
- First Ever Man-Made Leaf That Could Provide Oxygen During Space Travel: A Breathtaking Leap [Watch Video]
- Freshly Leaked Apple iPad Air 2 Cases Confirm Touch ID Sensor; Release Date, Limited Specs and Price Listed
- Moto X Android 4.4.4 KitKat Update Guide: Schedule and How to Install
- Top 4 Reasons Why iPhone 6 Will Hit Big Soon After its Sept 2014 Release Date
- Top Surprising Features Of iOS 8
- Twin Malaysia Airlines MH370, MH17 Aviation Disasters Create Phobia Among Travellers
- OnePlus One vs. Moto X+1 – Early Specifications, Release Date and Price Faceoff
- 2014 Ebola Outbreak: ‘Out of control… and Can Get Worse'; Asky Airline Stops Flying to Liberia, Sierra Leone; Liberia Closes Schools