Feasibility of a grading system for horses used for leisure riding in the UK

Feasibility of a grading system for horses used for leisure riding in the UK

80 Abstracts / Journal of Veterinary Behavior 15 (2016) 78e95 and previous findings investigating professional coaches’ understanding of LT. An anony...

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Abstracts / Journal of Veterinary Behavior 15 (2016) 78e95

and previous findings investigating professional coaches’ understanding of LT. An anonymous survey, comprising 21 questions, was distributed via social media and horse-related organizations. The participants (n ¼ 1028) were voluntary, English-speaking riders over 18 years and non-licensed coaches. Chi-square test was performed to analyse the data and post hoc testing via multiple regression approach was executed using SPSS software. Initial Pearson chi-square values were adjusted according to the Bonferroni-method. 95.82% of all participants indicated that they know how their horses learn certain behaviors. Yet, significantly fewer knew how NR affects horse behavior (c2 ¼ 21.9, P < 0.01) and confused the definition of NR with PR (c2 ¼ 15.9, P < 0.01). These findings suggest that riders may be lacking in their knowledge and application of LT, which may have welfare implications on their equine partners and jeopardise rider safety. It is strongly suggested to include LT in coaching syllabi and educate riders/trainers about LT through an international educational campaign. Key words: learning theory; horse; training; welfare; safety 8 Equitation pedagogic practice: Use of a ridden horse ethogram to effect change A. ABBEY*, H. RANDLE Duchy College, Stoke Climsland, Callington, PL17 8PB, UK *Corresponding author: [email protected] Many horses work in equestrian facilities worldwide where they are ridden by riders who vary in their equitation ability and their understanding of the horse’s physical and mental capabilities. This is compounded by instruction and coaching that focuses solely on curriculum or competition driven outcomes and disregards horse sentience. This study investigated the effect of providing riders with an understanding of the horse on horse ridden behavior. Eighteen equine students (aged 16-20 years) took part in a mixed-methods investigation. Questionnaires completed prior to riding confirmed that students were not aware of horse sentience. Each student then rode an individual horse in walk, trot and canter in a familiar 20 x 60m environment autonomously for 18 minutes before, and 18 minutes after, receiving a 3 minute intervention talk designed to raise student awareness of horse sentience. Twenty one ridden horse behaviors considered indicative of stress were recorded using scan-sampling at 30 second intervals during both periods of riding. Comparison of horse behavior pre- and post- intervention talk revealed that negative behaviors such as tail swishing, jaw tensing, nostril flaring and ears back decreased significantly (Wilcoxon: all P < 0.001) while positive behaviors such as ears neutral and ears forward-and-back increased significantly (Wilcoxon: P < 0.05) post intervention talk. A post-trial focus group confirmed that increasing riders’ awareness of horse sentience led to more realistic expectations of the horse and consequently less stressed horses. This study demonstrates that there may be shortcomings in how horse and rider pedagogy is facilitated within equestrian educational centres. Key words: horse; sentience; ridden ethogram; welfare; educational facility 9 Feasibility of a grading system for horses used for leisure riding in the UK R. LAWSON*, C. BRIGDEN Myerscough College, St Michael’s Rd, Bilsborrow, Preston, PR3 0RY, UK *Corresponding author: [email protected] The demand for suitable leisure horses in the UK is great, yet there are no standardised methods of identifying desirable traits of these horses, unlike the competition horse. Previous studies validate a demand for an inexpensive and reliable horse assessment method. This study aimed to explore the demand for, and feasibility of a leisure horse grading system. A self-administered online questionnaire was completed by

leisure horse owners (n ¼ 157) to gauge general understanding of performance horse grading within the UK and opinions regarding a leisure horse specific grading. An inter-rater reliability assessment (IRRA) was conducted using recordings of simulated gradings of three horses, using nine assessors. The majority of respondents were either entirely positive (60.7%) or unsure (29.0%) about the grading concept. 81.8% believed the concept would be met with interest within the industry. The most influential reason for potentially using grading was to improve the matching of horse to rider. Kruskal-Wallis identified significant differences in the perceived importance of different components of the grading (H6 ¼ 193.5, P < 0.001), with personality and ridden behavior rated the highest and paces considered the least important. The IRRA indicated good reliability in the temperament testing components, but suggested a need for improved methods for assessing ridden behavior. This research suggests that horse owners would have an interest in leisure horse grading and specifically the inclusion of personality testing, and riding performance and behavior. This could aid in the matching of horses to riders, potentially reducing equine wastage and improving equine welfare and rider safety. Key words: leisure; horse; personality; grading; behavior; welfare

10 Biomechanical effects of training surfaces on the locomotor system - Effect on the horse’s health N. CREVIER-DENOIX*, P. POURCELOT, F. MUNOZ, B. RAVARY-PLUMIOEN, J.-M. DENOIX, H. CHATEAU Unité 957, BPLC, INRA, Ecole Nationale Vétérinaire d’Alfort, MaisonsAlfort, France *Corresponding author: [email protected] Track or arena surfaces used for training or competing not only affect hoof’s motion at the onset of stance. They can also increase or decrease the stresses to the limb’s bones, joints and tendons throughout stance, and modify locomotion. During stance, the horse’s hooves come in contact with the surface, slide and sink more or less into it, then compress it differently according to the limb, to the gait and speed (i.e. activity), and to the surface properties. The amplitude and orientation of the ‘ground reaction force’ vector, which varies during stance, condition the biomechanical stresses applied to the limb. The beginning of stance is highly sensitive to the surface’s properties. For instance the impact shock is the biomechanical variable the most sensitive to the superficial hardness of the surface; it can be drastically reduced through a simple harrowing. However the vertical loading rate and the maximal vertical force that characterize the support phase are the key variables for injury risk. They reflect the ability of the surface (including its deeper layers) to vertically deform, or on the contrary, its tendency to compacting. Maximal vertical force is reached all the more late (lower rate) that the surface is more compliant. A study performed in 12 trotters has established the link between the hardness of a track and the lesions induced at training on this track. In this study 50% of the group of horses trained on the hard track developed a superficial digital flexor tendinopathy after 4 months. Key words: force; hoof; impact; lesion; surface

11 Relationship between health problems and husbandry, use and management of horses: An analysis based on health insured horses U. KÖNIG V. BORSTEL 1, *, C. ERDMANN 1, M. MAIER 1, F. GARLIPP 2 1 University of Goettingen, Department of Animal Science, AlbrechtThaer-Weg 3, 37075 Goettingen, Germany 2 Uelzener Allgemeine Versicherungs-Gesellschaft a.G., Veerßer Str. 65/ 67, 29525 Uelzen, Germany *Corresponding author: [email protected]