How horse riding can improve your child’s intelligence

Not that i need any more of an excuse to get my daughter on a pony! But scientists are claiming that time in the saddle can have a direct positive effect on your child’s brain, making them more intelligent and perform better at school. So, if you like me are now overtly justifying to your husband why even more time at the yard is required, you need to read our blog today. Just so that as you fly out the door, you are armed and ready with the facts when he questions you!

Here at Selwood Equine, we all know that any form of exercise and getting your child out of the house is a good thing. Sport has physical and mental benefits. Horse riding is a great way to get the children exercising outdoors and having fun. We are constantly bombarded in the media with child obesity statistics. In 2015/16 9.3 per cent of four to five year olds were listed as obese. A further 12.8 per cent were listed as overweight. It is certainly worrying.

The science behind the claim

Japanese scientists have claimed that their research has proven that time in the saddle riding has a direct link to improved learning, memory and problem solving. The breaking news is that sitting in the saddle actually activates the part of your brain that is responsible for learning. Yes you read that right! Research has shown that vibrations made during riding can trigger the sympathetic nervous system. This is the part of the brain that deals with learning and problem solving. Researchers from the Tokyo University of Agriculture carried out mathematical and simple response tests on children directly before and after riding. They found that some children showed improved ability after riding, more specifically in the behavioral tasks. This therefore means that children who ride horses could have improved cognitive abilities.

Benefits of horse riding

Horse riding is also a great way for your child to interact with other children. To make new friends and boost their social skills. Children sharing a common interest and a hobby can form lifelong friendships outside of school friendships. Learning to ride and care for an animal is a great learning curve for children. Teaching responsibility, care and confidence is very positive. It is great for a child to learn and understand that caring for an animal is hard work. Yet is rewarding at the same time. Children are able to understand that the animals needs must come before theirs. This in turn is a great life lesson to carry through to adulthood.

“Need i say more” i hear myself proclaiming to my other half! Great research for horsey mums across the world then. And just another reason, albeit a scientific one this time(!), why my husband will never win when it comes to horses and ponies!

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