The British Horse Society (BHS) has commissioned a survey into the health and psychological benefits of riding.

The results of this survey, which is being conducted by Plumpton College and the University of Brighton, will be used as a lobbying tool for future funding applications by equestrian groups.

Mark Weston, BHS director of access, safety and welfare, said: “Unlike walking and cycling, there is currently no empirical data to support the known benefits of riding.

“We hope this research will provide tangible evidence we can use as leverage when it comes to applying for external funding.”

Julian Marczak, chairman of the Association of British Riding Schools (ABRS), said:
“The ABRS commends this initiative. You only have to watch disabled riders to see at first hand the therapeutic benefits riding can bring.”

Alongside the survey, the university is conducting a scientific study to establish the exercise intensity of a 45-minute riding session.

Kim Cross, who works full-time and rides a friend’s horse several times a week, said: “Everyone who rides knows its health benefits but having statistics to prove it has to be a good thing.”

To take part in the survey, visit www.plumpton.ac.uk/pages/documents/health-benefits-of-riding-survey.doc.

The final report, with the findings from the work, will be available on the BHS website in mid-2011.

This article was first published in the current issue of Horse & Hound, 11 November ’10