Exploring adult horse riders' perceptions of their communication with horses and how it translates to their communication with family
Scholtz, Anna Maria
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This study is a sub-study of the umbrella project entitled “A multi-disciplinary programme to enhance family well-being in different South African contexts: Phase one”. The main aim of the umbrella project is to develop a comprehensive, multi-faceted approach to enhance the well-being of families in different South African contexts. The objectives of the umbrella project are, amongst others, to 1) explore and describe family well-being in different South African contexts; and to 2) explore and describe various therapies and methods (e.g. horse riding) that could potentially contribute to and/or enhance family well-being in different South African contexts. The aim of this study is to explore and describe adult horse riders‟ perceptions regarding their communication with horses and how it translates to their communication with family. This aim is justified by research and literature that clearly indicates the need for research regarding family well-being and the human-animal relationship within the family system and the nature and importance of communication in human relationships, specifically in the family context, and with horses. There is, however, little research on this phenomenon and if we can understand the nature of the communication between people and horses and communication between family members, we can plan and implement appropriate interventions to promote family well-being in this regard. In order to reach the aim of the study as identified above, a qualitative explorative, descriptive research design was implemented. Purposive voluntary sampling and snowball sampling techniques were used and the sample included six female participants between the ages of 19 and 53 years of age and three male participants between the ages of 20 and 53 years of age. Data was collected by means of individual semi-structured interviews and analysed with the use of thematic analysis. The results describe the participants‟ communication with horses, their communication with family members and the benefits of interaction and communication with horses. The findings can be used to design and implement interventions to contribute to more effective interactions in the family context.
- Health Sciences 
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