Validation of the Equine Behaviour Assessment and Research Questionnaire (E-BARQ): A new survey instrument for exploring and monitoring the domestic equine triad

Kate Fenner, Sarah Matlock, Jane Williams, Bethany Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
61 Downloads (Pure)


The Equine Behaviour Assessment and Research Questionnaire (E‐BARQ) was developed to obtain quantitative data on the domestic equine triad: training, management and behaviour. It can be taken repeatedly, thus collecting longitudinal data to enable evaluation of how changes in a horse’s training and management are reflected in that horse’s behaviour over time and how these changes can impact horse welfare in the longer term. Questionnaire validation and reliability were tested by determining (a) whether an owner’s subjective ratings of their horse’s problematic behaviours or undesirable temperament traits were reflected in the questionnaire scores obtained for that horse (construct validity), (b) whether two respondents, equally familiar with a particular horse, reported comparable scores for that horse through the questionnaire (inter‐rater reliability), and (c) whether the same respondent, scoring the same horse after a known interval of time, recorded similar responses (intra‐rater reliability). Construct validity testing of 1923 responses showed significant alignment between owners’ reported experience of focal horses’ behaviour and those horses’ E‐BARQ scores, with scores varying from 1.13 to 1.34 for ridden horse behaviour (all p <0.001) and from 1.06 to 1.43 for non‐ridden horse behaviour (all p <0.001). Inter‐rater reliability testing of ten horse–rider pairs revealed that 203 of the 215 question items were significantly aligned (p <0.001) when tested by two independent raters. Of the remaining 19 items, four had fair alignment (ĸ = 0.174–0.316; p = 0.281) and ten items, largely related to whether the horse shows behavioural signs related to anxiety when taken away from home, did not align (ĸ = 0; p = 1). Intra-rater reliability tests showed that the responses significantly aligned on all 215 question items tested (p <0.001). The results of these tests confirmed the construct validity and reliability of E‐BARQ as a standardised behavioural assessment tool for horses.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
Issue number11
Early online date28 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - 28 Oct 2020


  • Behaviour assessment
  • Domestic equine triad
  • Ethical equitation
  • Horse behaviour
  • Horse welfare
  • Rider safety


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