Influential factors in people's decision-making when considering rehoming a rescue horse

H. James, Rachel Collins

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster

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Introduction: The number of horses relinquished to charities has increased in the last ten years despite charities being at capacity (Rosanowski and Verheyen, 2019). Hence, more research is needed on factors influencing people, as this could increase the number of rehomed horses which is required (Holcomb, Stull, and Kass, 2010). Therefore, the study aimed to identify factors influencing people's decision-making when considering rehoming a rescue horse.
Methods: An online questionnaire was conducted. The inclusion criteria required respondents to work in the equestrian industry or, own a horse, and be at least 18 years old. The mode determined the most influential factors. Mann-Whitney U and Kruskal-Wallis H compared factors influencing different groups: people who have rehomed a rescue horse (rehomers) and people who have not (non-rehomers), people who have owned a horse (owners) and people who have not (non-owners), and the different groups regarding the purpose for which people want the horse. Braun and Clarke's (2006) thematic analysis analysed factors influencing respondents who have considered rehoming a horse and respondents who have not.
Results: Responses (n=548) were achieved. Unlike previous research, charities' restrictions on rehomers were influential. Current and prior rehomers were significantly more likely to want a companion (p=<.001) than non-rehomers who preferred a ridden horse. Non-owners were significantly more likely to strongly agree that financial difficulties (p=.014) and a lack of time (p=.014) are influential when considering rehoming a rescue horse. There was no significant difference between the groups regarding the purpose for which people wanted the horse for regarding financial difficulties (p=0.14).
Discussion and Conclusions: Respondents felt charities impose unrealistic restrictions due to the control charities want to keep over the horses, partly by having home checks. As rescue centres have more companions than riding horses, rehomers may be used to rehoming companions; therefore, they prefer this. Non-owners might be less financially stable due to the current cost-of-living crisis and working longer hours; thus, financial difficulties are particularly influential. This research can help charities select which horses are more suitable for different categories of people, increasing the number of rehomed horses. Charities can also reassure potential rehomers regarding their concerns about restrictions. Focus groups or interviews are needed with equestrians to understand which specific restrictions are influential. Qualitative research is also required with charity staff to establish if charities can do anything to reassure equestrians and understand if charities can practically and realistically alter restrictions
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 8 May 2024
Event13th Alltech-Hartpury Student Conference - Hartpury University, Gloucester, United Kingdom
Duration: 8 May 20248 May 2024


Conference13th Alltech-Hartpury Student Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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