View Full Version : Disabled Rider research
14th Jan 2008, 02:41 PM
My name is Cheryl Nosworthy and I am a postgraduate student at The University of Reading. After a career as a flat jockey ended in injury, the charity ‘The Injured Jockeys Fund’ and the ‘Jockey Employment Training Scheme’ sponsored me to complete an undergraduate degree at The University of Reading. My rehabilitation from temporary disablement included once again participating in horse-riding. Continuing in academia to study for a PhD my experiences have led me to an interest in the links between horse-riding and ‘wellness’. I want to find out why horse-riding is such a special activity for so many people, how people communicate with horses, and the role of the emotions (of horse and rider) in the riding experience.
As part of this research I am currently volunteering with two Riding for the DIsabled groups but I am also looking for adult 'disabled' riders (over 18) to keep diaries of their riding experiences for me. I realise that 'disabled' is an ambiguous category and one of my aims is to look at issues that are common to ALL riders as well as how some riders may do things differently.
If you would be interested in keeping a diary of your riding experiences for me please message me with your e-mail address and I will send you an information sheet that outlines the project in more detail. All replies will be kept strictly confidential and names will be changed in material used. Participants will recieve a summary of the completed research.
14th Jan 2008, 04:36 PM
Look into the effect the smell of a horse has on the brain. I want to put someone in one of those brain wave scanner thingies where you can see the brain light up in different areas.
I want to put them in there and give them horse smell to smell and see what happens in the brain.
I and convinced the smell of a horse releases chemicals, endorphines or some happy relaxed drug into the brain. It cannot be synthesized horse it has to be real horse.
14th Jan 2008, 06:04 PM
Interesting thoughts Wally!
I shall have to look at some of the medical journals and see if anything like that has been done. After my accident I was stuck in a room in a wheelchair for a year and the first time I ventured out on crutches to say hello to a friends horse it was good to smell them as well as pat them.
14th Jan 2008, 06:15 PM
That is so true, I quite often have a sniff of my smelly horse glove when I am having withdrawal cos I can't spend as much time with mine as I want lol
14th Jan 2008, 06:22 PM
If you look at the way some very hyperactive kids with a mental disability are often affected by being in the prescence of a horse it makes me wonder if it's not better that some of the chemical koshes the sometimes use on them.
14th Jan 2008, 06:42 PM
But do you think the smell works the first time you go near a horse or do you just learn to love it after you get to like horses??
14th Jan 2008, 06:57 PM
I only learnt to ride when I was 39, I was terrified, I had to take two paracetamol before I left to drive to the riding school, because the minute I got to the school, I got a headache. I had only ever had a donkey ride on the beach as a child. I started having lessons cos its was what my friend wanted to do, and she wouldn't go on her own, she had done some riding as a child. After a month I was addicted, and was having 3-4 private lessons a week. The whole family joined in, and 12 months later we had 1 horse and 1 pony. I suppose I have learnt to love the smell. I take my smelliest gloves on holiday, and have nearly hyperventilated sniffing them.
15th Jan 2008, 08:06 AM
Our vet comes onto the yard, and even with the worst cases we have presented him with, whilst listening to the heart generally has him nose in the mane taking very deep breaths!
he always burries his nose in a mane!............see, everyone has a thing about the smell.
15th Jan 2008, 08:58 AM
I'm over 18 and I have learning disabilties (dyslexia and dyspraxia) but I don't know if that's "disabled" enough *lol*
I do know that my riding is what keeps me sane and gets me through the week - and since I've been sharing the horse I have I've come off my antidepressants too (which I was on for 5 years) I'd like to think that it's helped "cure" my depression :)
I wouldn't give it up for the world!!
15th Jan 2008, 09:50 AM
I see it similar but the other way round. I am convinced that (most) horses like the way I smell. I hold out my hand to a horse, it sniffs it and that works.
Yes, I know I read lots of books, watch demos, learn from people like you on NR - know something about how to behave around horses and how to handle them. My RI says it is nonsense.
But I am convinced it is my smell they like -and since, even as a child, I knew horses liked me, of course I like them.
And I dont know about brain waves but I know my pulse rate drops as I lead my horse out to the lesson.
Right, CherylN - back to disability and your thesis. I understand RDA therapy - it is what convinced me I could ride in old age, and my OH too has just started riding age 68.
But there is an artificial division between normal and disabled when it comes to elderly people with age related degeneration or physical limitations.
The RDA enables - whereas the BHS on safety grounds restricts. If a rider cant canter, all sorts of other activities are ruled out. These safety restrictions were introduced with the best will in the world and partly by Charles Harris, whom I much admire.
But I would urge you to take a look also at the beneficial effect of horses on the elderly - thinking of the American horseman Bill Dorrance who devised ways of riding when he was over 90 years old.
I have problems with my lower spine and it affects the nerves to my left leg. I suffer terribly each time I go to a new RI as they manipulates my left leg into the "correct" position. The physical barriers are insurmountable. If you are in pain, and physically stressed, the effect of a riding lesson is going to mask or obliterate any positive affect of being with or smelling a horse.
Riding is not perceived (in the able bodied world) as a beneficial relationship with an animal, a close and positive communication.
If your research can find grounds to alter attitudes, I wish you very well.
15th Jan 2008, 10:44 AM
Re. the artificial division between disabled and able-bodied, I am viewing mind and body differences as on a continuum rather than seeing people as 'disabled' or 'non-disabled' and also suggesting that disability is something that we ALL expereince at various points in our lives and to different degrees. Communication with the horse is very much central to my thesis - I am not looking at the right and wrong ways to ride a horse, more to the nature of our relationship with them and particularly how they can affect our emotions (and we theirs!).
Going back to the smell thing, I think if you are nervous of horses they can smell it on you - although as I have little knowledge of biology I will leave it there!
15th Jan 2008, 12:50 PM
A horse can smell adrenaline a mile off, that's how they work in a herd if one is attacked, they smell it and are off like a shot. It is necessary to their survival.
I think adrenaline as a substance will smell the same no matter what species you are.
If you are nervous around a nervous horse he'll be even more nervous.
15th Jan 2008, 02:41 PM
Edit-sorry, Meant To Send A Pm, Really Didn't Meant To Post That On The Board
15th Jan 2008, 03:39 PM
Churchill said that there is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man!
15th Jan 2008, 07:16 PM
A favourite quote of mine that has partly inspired my research is;
'We have almost forgotten how strange a thing it is that so huge and powerful and intelligent an animal as a horse should allow another, and far more feeble animal to ride upon its back' (Gray 1928)
I think we sometimes take horse-riding for granted and I want to remind everyone just how special an activity it is!
16th Jan 2008, 05:15 PM
Hi Cheryl, got your email...will get right on it! Went riding last night, first thing i did was take a deep breath. I can't honestly say if the horses or the smell came first as i can't remember the first time i realised i liked horses. But now i actually am doing what i wanted to as a kid (never got the chance then) i'm more aware of my senses. I love the smell of the stables as i pull up in my car. Penniewitch you are sooo not the only one who smells your gloves! When i'm off work, a bit down or just need to feel horses around me (as i only really get 2 hours pw) i'll smell my gloves, or go to work in my riding jacket and stink out the office! It's comforting, warming. Even last night, when my horse stunk of damp, mud and wind ahem (unfortunate side effect of windsucking!!) i still hugged and stroked him. I loved brushing him down, giving him his tea and putting on his rug. Simple but effective. Now if i could sniff a horse regularly everyday instead of taking an anti-depressant......ha ha!!
17th Jan 2008, 07:51 AM
Just had to chip in to this "smell thing". I'm in my 60's now and have only been riding about a year. As a very tiny girl, there were still lots of horses on the streets - the coalman, the milkman etc. all had a horse and cart. My earliest memories are of seeing horses and wanting to get on them. I have always loved the smell of horses and, according to my mother, I could accurately smell a horse coming from a couple of streets away when I was a small girl!
Even now I go home after a lesson and bury my nose in my smelly riding glove!:o
I'm not sure if, like Skib, horses really like me - although I've always had a good affinity with all animals. I hope they do like me because I adore them!
17th Jan 2008, 02:17 PM
Look forward to hearing from you Abserd!!
19th Jan 2008, 03:03 PM
Have emailed you Cheryl! Hope you don't regret it :D
14th Feb 2008, 10:51 AM
Im very new - just joined but if I can help in any way at all I will. I have done a lot of research into horses as a therapy, including the honours part of a BSc degree> with regard to the effect of smell, I highly reccommend the book "kindred spirits" as it discusses this and there is evidence to prove it does have an impact on us. Its a great book about animals as a therapy.
Im writitng a book about my "therapy horse" and I's progress / journey over the years and would be more than happy to keep a diary for you. what sort of things would you like in it - i have to keep pain diary anyway. Ive written a couple of articles on the therapeutic benefits of horses if they would be any use to you too???
17th Feb 2008, 01:57 PM
Thanks therapyhorse - I will message you with more info!
17th Feb 2008, 02:00 PM
highly reccommend the book "kindred spirits" as it discusses this and there is evidence to prove it does have an impact on us.
I KNEW it did! :D :D I will look out for it. Have you got an ISBN (?) number for it or the author.
17th Feb 2008, 02:30 PM
23rd Feb 2008, 10:37 PM
I love wallys quote from Winston Churchill, it is one of my favourite quotes!! :D
There is no other animal that smells good like a horse, you walk into a room full of cats (as much as i love them!!) they knock you out, same goes for dogs etc, walk into a barn of horses.. and mmm heaven, it smells divine, the best is going to Appleby getting out the car and all you can smell is thousands of horses!!! I LOVE IT!!!! x
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