Paris Olympic Games 2024 & Equine Wellbeing Parliamentary Report

L. Föttinger, Nicola Hewer

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster

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Abstract

Introduction: The Olympics were the world's greatest sporting event, but recent incidents in equestrian sport linked to the mistreatment of horses: Jet Set, Saint Boy, and Kilkenny, at the Tokyo Games sparked controversy and called for improved welfare measures (Meier, Tickell and Konjer, 2023). A French parliamentary report containing 46 recommendations and discussions on ethics and welfare was part of efforts to address these issues (Dombreval, 2022). This research project aimed to determine people's perceptions of the usefulness and effectiveness of the parliamentary report, depending on their nationality and/or equestrian background, in the context of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
Materials and Methods: An online multilingual questionnaire with 14 questions was posted in both English and French Facebook groups, which may or may not have been specific to the equestrian community. It garnered 214 responses. An independent samples T-test was used to analyse any statistically significant differences in responses according to nationality and whether or not the respondent belonged to an equestrian community.
Results: Out of 214 participants, 47% were French and 38% were English. More English (65) than French (58) were part of the equestrian community. Among equestrian participants, 130 were aware of the Saint Boy's horse abuse case at Tokyo 2020. However, only 44% knew about the equine welfare charter for Paris 2024. English (45) were more aware of the charter compared to French (36). 154 supported the charter's impact on horse welfare, while 60 opposed it. Conversely, 153 believed the charter alone wasn't enough for horse welfare, compared to 61 who disagreed. In the open questions section, four categories emerged:
1. Monitoring and control of rules (48 responses);
2. Education of riders and the Social License to Operate (SLO) for equestrian sports (17 responses);
3. Concerns about equestrian equipment (10 responses); and
4. Suggesting either banning horse riding or stopping equestrian sports at the Olympic Games (three responses).
T-test results showed no significant difference between nationalities and charter knowledge, t (212) = 2.30, p = 0.55. However, within the equestrian community group, there was a significant difference, t (209.72) = -4.69, p < 0.001, indicating that equestrian communities had better knowledge of the charter.
Discussion and Conclusions: The results showed the British are more effective in the way they communicate information. The equestrian world is complicated to understand and follow for someone external to it (Yli-Koivisto, 2019). Furthermore, people outside the equestrian community are virtually unaware of what's going on within it. However, scandals such as that of the Tokyo Olympics, and especially concerning the mistreatment of horses, went beyond the confines of the equestrian community. The results also showed that the various equestrian scandals surrounding the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games triggered controversy in the equestrian community sampled, tarnishing the already vulnerable image of the SLO in equestrian sports. Finally, if equestrian sports continue to be associated with the mistreatment and suffering of horses, they risk following the evolution of modern equestrian pentathlon and being banned from the Olympic Games under pressure from public opinion.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 8 May 2024
Event13th Alltech-Hartpury Student Conference - Hartpury University, Gloucester, United Kingdom
Duration: 8 May 20248 May 2024

Conference

Conference13th Alltech-Hartpury Student Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
CityGloucester
Period8/5/248/5/24

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