Correlation of Human and Horse Heart Rates During Equine-Assisted Therapy Sessions with At-Risk Youths: A Pilot Study
Keywords:Heart Rate, Animal-Assisted Therapy, Equine-Assisted Therapy, Horse, At-Risk Youth
Minimal research has been done to examine the cause of the positive results of animal-assisted therapy. This study examines the correlation between horse and human heart rate, an involuntary stress response, which may allow the mechanisms of potential therapeutic benefits to be further understood. Horse and human heart rates were recorded during equine-assisted therapy sessions, compared, and the significance of human/horse heart rate correlation was documented. Results indicate that each incidence of correlating changes in the heart rates appeared to be the result of external stimuli. Findings are discussed and recommendations for future trials with controlled environments are made.
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