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Equine-assisted activities and the impact on perceived social support, self-esteem and self-efficacy among adolescents – an intervention

Abstract
In this project, we examined the effect of a 4-month intervention with horses on perceived social support, self-esteem and general self-efficacy among Norwegian adolescents aged 12-15 years. The intervention took place at farm-based stables and included work with the horses and riding. A waiting-list crossover design was used and the participants answered questionnaires at three time periods. Study I (N = 49) examined the effect of the intervention compared with the control group. Study II (N = 41) examined the relationship between the same psychological variables and change in mastering skills with horse. The intervention group reported a significant increase in perceived social support compared with the control group. There were no differences in self-esteem and general self-efficacy between the groups. The results from study II showed that a lower level of perceived social support prior to the intervention predicted an increase in mastering skills with the horse during the intervention.
KEYWORDS:
adolescents; equine-assisted activities; horses; intervention; social support.

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Ain’t Misbehavin’: Researchers Find Link Between Pony Behavior Problems and Obesity

An equine study, Misbehavior in Pony Club Horses: Incidence and risk factors, was published last month by The Equine Veterinary Journal (EVJ) and is the first of its kind to quantify the incidence of misbehavior in a population of horses. The research, conducted by Petra Buckley, Senior Lecturer in Equine Science at Charles Sturt University, New South Wales, involved 84 Pony Club horses from seven different Clubs in rural Australia. Over the period of a year, owners kept daily records of horse management including nutrition, healthcare and exercise; they also recorded any misbehavior.

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