Effect of Physiological Stress and Experience of Riders with High-Reactive and Low-Reactive Horses While Riding Bareback
To quantify the relationship between experience level and physiological stress of horse and rider during a bareback riding session, 28 horses (geldings, ages 6-20 years) and 28 riders (16 male, 12 female, ages 19-22) were organized into a 2X2 factorial experimental design. Horses were categorized as either high-reactive or low-reactive based on their response to a reactivity test. Average daily distance travelled was monitored for the horses. Riders were split into two groups: novice (never have ridden a horse) and experienced (2-3 years of riding instruction). One riding session was evaluated for advanced riders, while two riding sessions were evaluated for novice riders. The second session occurred at three weeks after the initial session. Heart rates for both horses and riders were monitored before, during, and after the session. All data were analyzed using the PROC GLM procedure in SAS. Advanced riders presented with higher heart rates (P <0.01) than novice riders during test 1. Novice riders did not have significant change in heart rate between the first (test 1) and second (test 2) ride sessions. Horses demonstrated unvarying heart rate patterns regardless of the rider’s experience level.
Subjecthorse, equine, bareback, rider, riding, physiology, stress, heart rate, inexperience, experience, novice, advanced
Much, Mattea L (2017). Effect of Physiological Stress and Experience of Riders with High-Reactive and Low-Reactive Horses While Riding Bareback. Undergraduate Research Scholars Program. Available electronically from