Participation Experiences in Recreational Horse Riding for Female Riders with ADHD

G. Peters, Emma Davies

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster

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Introduction: Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a form of neurodivergence which is believed to affect 4.4% to 5.2% of adults, with the higher rates of ADHD among participants in sport (Hoare et al., 2023). Research investigating ADHD most commonly is conducted with male participants (Hinshaw et al., 2022) which has led to females often going undiagnosed due to ADHD symptoms often presenting differently between males and females (Tung et al., 2016). Recreational equestrian sport is a predominantly female activity, therefore female riders who have ADHD are an interesting population to investigate. This study aimed to explore the benefits and challenges of participation in recreational horse-riders for female individuals with ADHD.
Material and Methods: Online semi-structured interviews were conducted with 11 female riders (18-52 years old, mean 25.5±9.4), discussing their experiences as a rider with ADHD (Combined (n=5); Inattentive (n=3); Hyperactive (n=1); Unsure (n=2)). Eight riders had a formal diagnosis and three were self-reported. The interview involved the participants discussing their riding life, ADHD, and the relationship between ADHD and riding life. Thematic analysis was performed to identify key themes regarding the experiences of riders with ADHD outlining some of the benefits and challenges they encounter from participation in equestrian sport.
Results: The main themes identified were structure and organisation, feel-good factors, social life, and challenges in the equestrian industry.
Discussion and Conclusions: Individuals with ADHD can experience challenges with time management, motivation and maintaining routines, however recreational horse-riding benefits individuals by improving their emotion regulation, increases physical movement and personal progress, as well as improved social life and sense of understanding of themselves and from other people in the equestrian industry. Barriers for ADHD riders include working with people, competition and managing their mental health. These findings are beneficial for coaches, employers, and parents of female riders with ADHD, as well as organisations aiming to support people with ADHD, to allow them to understand the effect ADHD has on individuals and allow them to provide appropriate support. This could be provided by ADHD and neurodiversity organisations and ambassadors, by providing information posters, online resources, and educational sessions to help improve knowledge of females with ADHD in sport and recreational horse-riding, and educate coaches, athlete support staff and family members.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 8 May 2024
Event13th Alltech-Hartpury Student Conference - Hartpury University, Gloucester, United Kingdom
Duration: 8 May 20248 May 2024


Conference13th Alltech-Hartpury Student Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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