For those of us who own horses, we already know that there’s both mental and physical benefits to riding! However, the general public is not aware just how great horseback riding is for people. In fact, many have no idea that riding horses is linked to high intelligence.

A study recently conducted by researchers from the Tokyo University of Agriculture shows that the vibrations caused by riding are responsible for activating a part of the brain known as the sympathetic nervous system. To break this down into simple terms, when a person is riding a horse their cognitive skills could potentially enhance due to the vibrations.

The study required candidates, all of whom were children, to complete simple questions and math tests before and after horseback riding. The results came back, and while there wasn’t a huge difference in the math results, there was a significant correlation between horseback riding and the participants’ problem solving and learning abilities.

In regards to the study, a question was raised wondering if any sport that caused a vibration in the brain would have the same result, but Professor Mitsuaki Ohta set the record straight.

“One important characteristic of horse steps is that they produce three-dimensional accelerations,” Professor Mitsuaki Ohta said while talking to the Independent. “The movement of the horse’s pelvis may provide motor and sensory inputs to the human body and in this study I believe some of the differences among the rider’s performances might be due to these accelerations.”

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