Behavioral and Social Sciences
Barger, Mya (School: Kamiah High School)
This study compares the effectiveness of two types of equine-assisted therapy on reducing anxiety in teenagers. Equine-assisted therapy is a therapy method that involves working with horses to promote physical and mental health in humans. To test this, I conducted experiments with student volunteers at a riding facility. The participants were randomly split into three groups: a riding group, a ground work group, and a control group. Each participant was given one hour to work with their horse in their designated therapy type and was given a pre- and post-survey to measure anxiety. After experimentation, I measured changes in anxiety. My results show that both the riding-based and groundwork-based therapies were both effective in reducing anxiety when compared to the control group. However, there was no significant difference in the effectiveness of the two types of therapy when compared to each other. This supports the hypothesis that equine-assisted therapy is beneficial but does not indicate which is most effective. I would like to continue this research by expanding the number of participants and exploring whether participants receive greater benefit by either gender or age.