A Pilot Study on the Impact on the Balance of the Autonomic Nervous System during Equine Assisted Executive Coaching as Measured by Simultaneous Heart Rate Variability in Horses, Coach and Client


The rhythmic pattern of heart activity, heart rate variability (HRV), was used in this pilot study to evaluate quantitatively the autonomic nervous system of humans involved in an equine-assisted coaching session. HRV is responsive to states of human caring which include the experience of compassion, kindness, and empathy in humans and animals. Results indicated that emotions in humans impact their psycho-physiological state and resulted in healthy HRV patterns. This effect was enhanced in the presence of horses during triad-coaching sessions. The study signals that integrating coaching with horses can be a catalyst for healthful benefits associated with human caring.

This publication has been peer reviewed.
Publication Type: 
Journal Article
. Kaye Gehrke, Ellen; Myers, Michael P.; Evans, Suzanne; and Garman, Karen
Year of Publication: 
Journal, Book, Magazine or Other Publication Title: 
International Journal of Human Caring
Publication Language: 



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