A delphi study to determine international and national equestrian expert opinions on domains and sub-domains essential to managing sporthorse health and welfare in the Olympic disciplines

Jane M. Williams, Lise C. Berg, Hilary M. Clayton, Katharina Kirsch, David Marlin, Hayley Randle, Lars Roepstroff, Marianne Sloet van Oldruitenborgh-Oosterbaan, Michael A. Weishaupt, Carolien Munsters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

The public is increasingly questioning equestrianism’s social license to operate. While the focus historically centered on horseracing, increased scrutiny is now being placed on how dressage, showjumping, and eventing are addressing equine management and welfare concerns. Nominated equestrian federation and equestrian organization experts (n = 104) directly involved in international and/or national-level horse sports took part in a four-stage, iterative Delphi to obtain consensus on what factors should be considered essential to manage sporthorse health and welfare. Five core domains were agreed as essential: training management, competition management, young horse management, health status and veterinary management, and the horse–human relationship. Two further domains: stable and environmental management, and welfare assessment were rated as important but not essential, as most respondents felt that these areas were already managed well. Participants felt increased education and guidance combined with further policy development and regulation are needed to support stakeholders to optimize sporthorse management. An appetite to engage with research to generate evidence that promotes sporthorse welfare was evident. The development of a sporthorse welfare charter and evidence-based guidelines to inform the management and monitoring of sporthorses’ health and welfare are recommended to provide horses with a good life and to safeguard the future of equestrian sports.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3404
Pages (from-to)1-30
Number of pages30
JournalAnimals
Volume13
Issue number21
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 02 Nov 2023

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