Background and Objective: There is no report on the effects of horseback riding on children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine the effects of 4 weeks of horseback riding on anxiety, depression, self-esteem, attention, and learning disorder in children with ADHD.
Material and Methods: Subjects comprised a convenience sample of 10 children aged 10-12 years with ADHD and 10 children without ADHD. Horseback riding sessions were performed 2 times (40 minutes/day) per week for 4 weeks. Before and after the horseback riding program, we measured the children’s anxiety, depression, self-esteem, attention, and learning disorder. The pre-test and post-test scores were analyzed with repeated-measures analysis of variance.
Results: After participating in the 4-week horseback riding program, anxiety (p = 0.013), depression (p = 0.007), attention (p < 0.001), and learning disorder (p < 0.001) were significantly improved in the ADHD group compared to the control group. However, self-esteem was not significantly different between the two groups (p=0.096).
Conclusion: These results indicate that the 4-week horseback riding program used in this study was very effective for significantly improving anxiety, depression, and attention in children with ADHD.