Date of Award

8-1-2011

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Behavior Analysis and Therapy

First Advisor

Greene, Brandon

Abstract

Two experiments were conducted to evaluate the effects of various approaches to training equestrian skills. The purpose of Experiment 1 was to compare an instructional video(s), in combination with verbal instruction, to verbal instruction alone on the percentage of horseback riding and safety errors made among beginner trail riders. An analysis of the overall percentage of steps completed independently revealed significant differences between instructional conditions that favored the use of video. Experiment 2 involved more experienced riders and more sophisticated equitation skills. Specifically, it examined whether a training package would decrease the percentage of jumping equitation errors among riders training in the sport of eventing. Using a multiple baseline across participants design, a training package was evaluated which entailed written feedback and video footage of the lesson from the trainer's point of view in addition to standard instruction. The findings of this study are inconclusive. The overall performance of riders through a six jump course was highly variable from week to week, regardless of the type of instruction utilized during lessons. Although several jumping equitation skills were never problematic for riders, no other skills routinely improved. Limitations and future studies are discussed.

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