Exploring the relationship between horse-owner attributes and their approach to horse training

Ella Bartlett, Emily J. Blackwell, Lorna Cameron, J. Hockenhull

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

Abstract

The way that horses are trained has implications for equine welfare and training success, yet little is known about the factors that influence horse-owners choice of training approach (TA). Having limited understanding of this area will likely hinder the development and dissemination of evidence-based training advice to owners. Consequently, this study aims to identify demographic and attitudinal factors that influence horse-owner TA selection. A 22-question online survey collected information from 1,593 horse-owners about their demographics, equestrian activities, horse training goals and beliefs. Participants rated how likely they were to use six different horse TAs on a five-point scale. Multinomial regression analysis and Spearman’s correlation coefficients were used to identify factors associated with their likelihood of using each TA. Several factors were significantly associated with participants’ reported TA use, including their age, gender identity, goals, activities, industry role and whether they had undertaken training in animal behaviour. Beliefs about equine sentience, cognitive ability and whether science should inform horse training correlated with likelihood of applying aversives. Distinct differences in training beliefs were seen between those highly likely to train with food and those more likely to use aversive training methods. This study provides insight for further research and development of educational strategies to reduce the use of training approaches that may compromise equine welfare.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages31
JournalJournal of Applied Animal Welfare Science
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 5 Jun 2024

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