University of Vermont AAHS

Numbers Showing Significant Changes in Children’s Safety Awareness

[reproduced from Spring 2002 Caution:Horses]

The “JP Paddock Says Be Safe with Horses” project, funded by a grant from the Indian Health Service, Navajo Division with assistance from the Pepsi Cola Company, was finished in April on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona.  After two years of planning, preparation which included preparing the workbook, choosing the target sites, and the preliminary test on focus groups the project was completed at the last presentation on April 5th at the Greasewood Springs Community School.  The success of the project was far greater than anyone had anticipated and a revised version of the workbook designed for this project is expected to be available later this year.

Principal investigator, Jan Dawson, president of AAHS, and project director, Nancy Bill of the Indian Health Services, Navajo Division made arrangements for Dawson and champion bull rider, J.P. Paddock to present a test version of the program to groups of 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students from selected schools around the Navajo Reservation.  Sample copies of the workbook were left with the principals of the individual schools.  In the original plan Paddock and Dawson expected to present the program to about 300 students at four different schools.  By the time the presentations were over they had taught and entertained nearly 900 students.

Before each presentation a pre-test was given comprised of 15 questions related to horse behavior and horsemanship safety.  Following the program a post-test was given to determine the effectiveness of the program.  The results were compared with the results from a focus group from a rural Texas population.

The preliminary results indicate that the workbook and the program is an extremely effective method for teaching horsemanship safety.  The results also indicate that only two grade levels are appropriate for the program, fourth and fifth.  Test results reported for the third and sixth grades were acceptable but investigators deemed the program inappropriate in structure or content for these grades.

This is the third AAHS project in search of a method to reduce horse-related injuries on the Navajo Reservation. 

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