Humans and animals are known to share connections and form bonds. Since ages, we have been domesticating animals. A recent research suggests that horse riding can have previously far-unknown benefits in children.
In children, the vibrations produced by horses during horse riding lead to the simulation of the sympathetic nervous system. This in turn improves cognitive abilities in children. Cognitive skills are brain-based skills. Improvement in that area can translate into enhanced learning, memory and problem-solving.
Researchers conducted a study that helped them conclude these benefits of horse riding. They conducted simple tests on the performance of children before and after horse riding. Children’s behavioural skills and mathematical skills were tested. The behavioural test assessed their cognitive response. The children depicted great improvement in their ability to perform behavioural tasks. But, they showed no change in their performance on solving arithmetic problems.
Researchers believe that the behavioural tasks might be harder than the arithmetic problems. This caused activation of the sympathetic nervous system. Thus, increase in heart rate was associated with the improved performance on the behavioural tasks, but not mathematical skills. These results proved that horse riding improved cognitive skills in children.
It may be possible that these results are exclusive to a certain breed of horses. Researchers plan to conduct more studies to find out other benefits from human-animal interactions.