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Research article2023Peer reviewedOpen access

Finnish and Swedish riding school pupils' motivation towards participation in non-riding education

Nyberg, Lina; Linnavalli, Tanja; Hartmann, Elke; Kalland, Mirjam


Many horse enthusiasts have insufficient knowledge about horse behavior and welfare (BW) and learning and human-horse communication (LC), which poses a risk for both horse welfare and human safety. The main objective of this study was to investigate why riding school pupils participate or do not participate in non-riding education in BW and LC, using Self-determination theory (SDT). SDT posits that the quality of motivation is related to the individual's basic psychological needs. A convenience sample of 568 riding school pupils from Finland and Sweden completed an online questionnaire. The results showed that forty percent of the riding schools offered education in BW, and thirty-two in LC. Twenty-seven percent of the respondents participated in education in BW, and twenty-five in LC at their riding school. The respondents were autonomously motivated to participate in education, i.e., they would participate because it is interesting and personally important. Perceived needs satisfaction at the riding school predicted autonomous motivation to participate. Education was offered to a greater extent in Swedish riding schools and Swedish respondents participated more often, as well as experienced more autonomous motivation, relatedness and competence satisfaction compared with Finnish respondents. To our knowledge, this study is the first to explore riding school pupils' motivation towards non-riding education.


riding school; equestrian education; horsemanship; motivation; self-determination theory; basic psychological needs

Published in

Frontiers in Sports and Active Living
2023, Volume: 5, article number: 1232428

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Animal and Dairy Science

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