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Effect of human-animal relationship between horses and young woman on feeding, husbandry and grooming of horses

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Abstract

Methods: A standardized questionnaire on human-animal relationship (advantages and draw backs of horse ownership and riding), feeding, husbandry and grooming of the horse was developed in a pilot study (20 interviews). Hundred non-professional riding female horse owners (15-29 years) who rode mainly dressage (no or lower level competition) and/or pleasure (no show jumpers, no three-day eventers, no race horses) were interviewed. A cluster analysis was carried out, to identify different types of relationship, differences between types were compared by criteria of practical significance.
R. Bergler, T. Hoff & E. Kienzle (2006). Effect of human-animal relationship between horses and young woman on
feeding, husbandry and grooming of horses.
Vortrag auf der Jahreskonferenz der European Society of Veterinary and Comparative Nutrition, Nantes.
Methods: A standardized questionnaire on human-animal relationship (advantages and draw backs of horse ownership and
riding), feeding, husbandry and grooming of the horse was developed in a pilot study (20 interviews). Hundred non-
professional riding female horse owners (15-29 years) who rode mainly dressage (no or lower level competition) and/or
pleasure (no show jumpers, no three-day eventers, no race horses) were interviewed. A cluster analysis was carried out, to
identify different types of relationship, differences between types were compared by criteria of practical significance. Cluster
analysis identified two types of human-animal-relationships.
Results: Type I perceives advantages of horse ownership intensively, riding is a central part of their life. Riders of this type
enjoy strongly many aspects of horse ownership, and the horse contributes considerably to their personal happiness. Solv-
ing problems and improving their horsemanship are important points which are counted among the advantages of horse
ownership. Riding is enjoyed best, when there is a feeling of harmony with the horse. Type II perceives horse ownership
and riding as something supposed to be fun among other important things in their life. The relationship to the horse is not as
close as in type I and they enjoy horse-ownership and riding to a lesser extent. Interest in improving their horsemenship is
rather moderate. Type I riders spent much more time with the horse for grooming, exercising and riding (sig.=0.01;
CC=0.25). They tend to be more careful about their horse in every way. For instance, they employ a farrior more regularly
and in shorter intervals (mean 7.2 versus 8.0 weeks; sig.= 0.01; eta2= 0.04). Type I riders are more interested in information
on many aspects of horsemenship including grooming and feeding (sig.=0.00; CC=0.40). Horses of type I riders are fed
significantly more often concentrates than horses of type II riders. All horses are given roughage, but horses of type I riders
are given significantly more often hay and straw and horses of type II riders more often silage (significance sig.=0.00-0.04
and CC=0.24-0.34). Type I riders prefer to stable their horses in single stalls (70.7% versus 48.0 %; sig.= 0.04; CC= 0.20),
and they use more often boxes without a paddock (54.7% versus 32.0%; sig.= 0.05; CC= 0.19). Outdoor and group housing
is used less often (25.3% versus 48.0%; sig.= 0.03; CC= 0.21). These findings are interpreted as follows: Group housing
and feeding mostly roughage are often chosen to accommodate the riders’ needs such as not being obliged to spent time
grooming and exercising the horse everyday or to improve their horsemanship but not because the riders care more about
there horses’ welfare.
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