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Survey hopes to take global snapshot of horse care

The nature of the diversity in gut bacteria in horses may be behind the species' vulnerability to digestive upsets, researchers suggest.

The nature of the diversity in gut bacteria in horses may be behind the species’ vulnerability to digestive upsets, researchers suggest.

Do horse owners in Sweden stable their horses more often than horse owners in New Zealand? What do horse owners in France and Holland feed their horses? Do riders in England use the same bits and saddles as riders in Australia? Do horse owners in the United States or Spain use the internet the most to find out about horse care?

The University of Sydney and the International Society for Equitation Science (ISES) want to find out the answers to these questions, and others like them. They have developed a seven language online survey that gives horse owners worldwide the chance to contribute information about how they care for their horses.

The survey covers housing and feeding, behaviour, equipment, and the information sources owners use to learn about caring for their horses.

“The global horse industry is hugely varied,” said doctoral candidate Georgie Caspar, “so we’re really interested to identify the differences and similarities in horse care across countries.”

The findings of the survey will be used to gain an understanding of how horses are cared for and managed, as well as how owners access information about horse care across the globe.

The findings will help researchers, horse trainers and educators develop relevant and informative programmes to assist horse owners to improve the health and welfare of their horses.

The survey takes about 20 minutes.

Participants will need to select the flag in their chosen language and provide details about their horse. Upon completion they can enter a prize draw to win a year’s membership of ISES. The results will be published towards the end of 2014.

The survey can be accessed here.

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