German Study Suggests Horseback Riding Promotes Social Development, Builds Character

A European study has
revealed the benefits of horseback riding. Photo: On Horseback by Virginia State Parks via BY 2.0

If anyone ever tells you that riding isn’t a good use of your time and money, you can now argue back that you must keep riding because it’s scientifically proven that horseback riding builds character and promotes social development.

OK, so it may not be exactly scientifically proven, but researchers have concluded through a study commissioned by the German National Federation FN that those who ride horses are “generally more determined, enthusiastic, structured and balanced” than those who don’t. In addition, riders “showed greater leadership, were more assertive and competitive, and demonstrated greater resilience,” reports.

According to, 411 riders and 402 non-riders were studied. They ranged in age from 14 to 65; 91% were women and 9% were men. The study was conducted using an online tool. The Federation conducted to the study because they “have always been convinced of the positive impact of the horse on the development of children and adolescents, because it corresponds to our experiences and observations,” the Federation’s secretary general, Soenke Lauterbach, told horsetalk.
Lauterbach added that the study reveals numerous benefits for equestrian associations and clubs as well as parents. He told horsetalk, “The horse is not only a friend to whom they can tell their concerns and needs, but they can also learn from him ‘for life.’”


But you didn’t need a study to tell you that.



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