Benefits for At-Risk Youth

Equine-facilitated psychotherapy for at-risk adolescents: The influence on self-image, self-control and trust Keren Bachi 1, Joseph Terkeland Meir Teichman2 This article describes the theoretical-conceptual frame of equine-facilitated psychotherapy (EFP) for adolescents at-risk, the unique components of this intervention, and its implementation in an evaluation study. The study was conducted at a residential treatment facility for adolescents at-risk. We examined the outcomes of EFP on self-image, self-control, trust and general life satisfaction. Fourteen resident adolescents comprised the treatment group, and were compared with a matched group of 15 residents who did not receive EFP (control). The treatment comprised a weekly individual EFP session over a period of seven months. The study found a trend of positive change in all four research parameters within the treatment group. Additional indications of the intervention’s positive influence were also found and are discussed.

Horsin’ Around Reduces Stress Hormones in Youth
Science Daily®
April 24, 2014
Washington State University

New research reveals how youth who work with horses experience a substantial reduction in stress — and the evidence lies in kids’ saliva. “We were coming at this from a prevention perspective,” said a developmental psychologist working on this study. “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.” Read More …

Healing children through horse therapy
kxan news Austin, Texas
Published on May 9, 2012

Bettina Shultz-Jobe ditched her office several years ago for a barn and a pair of cowboy boots. The licensed therapist wanted to try her hand at helping children who have survived trauma, in a different way.

Arabian Horse Literacy Project
~ By Dr. Brenda E. Abbey

“All emotional learning is held in our bodies, recorded on our vast, interrelated neural networks. The brain and the body are exquisitely intertwined systems that are constantly interacting with the environment. All five senses are connected to this system and field information that determines our unique response to anything. In fact, the more senses involved in an experience, the more the brain remembers it, the deeper the imprint onto our emotional systems”. [Tian Dayton] “When experiential memories are wonderful, our neural system carries with it our emotional sense memories.” Dr. Thomas Lewis MD explains “Changing the matrix of early emotional experiences which have knit long lasting patterns into the very fabric of the brain’s neural networks calls for a DIFFERENT kind of medicine altogether”. * I suggest that the child’s interactions with the horse would be creating new emotional memories. Read More …

The Bonds That Heal Studying Human-Animal Interactions

NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt
CONCRETE COWBOYS: In this inner-city neighborhood, where many live below the poverty line and crime runs rampant, these teens are learning to ride and take care of horses: “When I’m on a horse, I don’t think about what’s going on out here…” —


Horseback Riding Improves the Ability to Cause the Appropriate Action (Go Reaction) and the Appropriate Self-control (No-Go Reaction) in Children

Frontiers in Public Health | February 2017,  Volume 5,  Article 8

There are many obvious health benefits to riding, including developing a strong core and legs, but there are also many less obvious benefits, such as increased confidence and introspection. Few studies have addressed the effects of horseback riding on children and the mechanisms underlying how riding affects humans. We examined the effects of horseback riding on the ability to distinguish Go/No-go tasks and solve arithmetic problems in children […]

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