By Fran Jurga | Equus Magazine
What is it about kids and horses? A new study measures a change in juvenile participants’ levels of the stress hormone cortisol after working around horses.
We all know it’s true, but now there’s proof: horses have a positive effect on children.
A study published this month in the American Psychological Association’s Human-Animal Interaction Bulletin documents work done at Washington State University (WSU). The WSU study, “Randomized Trial Examines Effects of Equine Facilitated Learning on Adolescents’ Basal Cortisol Levels” is the first evidence-based research within the field of human-equine interaction to measure a change in participants’ levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
Comment by Adam Trenk: “For those who grew up around horses this study comes as no surprise. One way or another working with animals teaches us the most important life lessons about the value of hard work and patience.
“I think it’s important, especially in today’s day and age of techno-gadgets and sanitized environments, that our society not lose track of how valuable experiences with animals are when we are in our formative years. It may not become a lifelong passion for everyone, but as this article demonstrates long lasting physical and mental benefits come from work with animals.
“I know I would not be where I am today if working with horses and dogs had not been a part of my education outside the classroom growing up.”