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J Appl Anim Welf Sci. 2018 Apr-Jun;21(2):141-152. doi: 10.1080/10888705.2017.1392301. Epub 2017 Nov 27.

Preliminary study on current perceptions and usage of training equipment by horse enthusiasts in Canada.

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a Department of Animal Biosciences , University of Guelph , Guelph , Canada.
b Rennes Campus, AGROCAMPUS OUEST , Rennes , France.


Training practices may impose restrictions on the equine behavioral repertoire through the use of training equipment. Presently, the prevalence of the use of training equipment in Canada is unknown. Through an online survey for horse enthusiasts (n = 654), this study evaluated the prevalence and predominant uses of whips, spurs, and head-control equipment by enthusiasts with direct contact with horses compared to perceptions held by enthusiasts with no direct horse contact using chi-squared analyses. Respondents primarily reported using whips and spurs to augment rider or trainer cues and reported using head-control equipment mainly for lunging purposes. The perceived frequency of spurs and head-control equipment use during riding or training by nonactive horse enthusiasts was significantly greater than reported usage by riders and trainers (p < .05). The results potentially indicate a lack of understanding and miscommunication of training equipment use by riders and trainers. The frequent reporting of training equipment for the purpose of augmenting rider cues may imply misinterpretation of the correct application of learning theory. These preliminary results warrant further investigation of equipment use within the horse industry.


Equine industry survey; learning theory; spur use; training equipment; whip use

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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