Do equestrians have insight into their equine-related knowledge (or lack of knowledge)?

David Marlin, Hayley Randle, Lyn Pal, Jane Williams

Research output: Other contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review

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It is widely accepted having insight into one’s ability and performance is an essential part of being a professional. Self-evaluation, self-efficacy and confidence are key factors in any successful career. The Dunning-Kruger (DK) effect is a well-known effect regarding performance and knowledge. There is minimal research evidence investigating the DK effect in athletes and sports. Equestrianism is a popular lifestyle and growing sport across the world. The aim of the current study was to establish whether equestrians have insight into their own equine knowledge or whether they over/underestimate their knowledge demonstrating a DK effect? The present study included non-equine (n=123) and equine (n=128) participants with different educational achievements (none, low, medium, high qualifications). Participation was voluntary via an online study. Ethical approval was provided by University Centre Hartpury ethics board. The non-equine group were asked to answer 40 general knowledge questions. The equine group were asked to complete 40 specific equine related questions. All participants were subsequently asked to estimate whether they felt they had answered the questions correctly. Analysis comparing actual mean score with self-estimated mean score demonstrated that: 1) non-equine participants irrespective of educational background were accurate on their abilities to predict their general knowledge (Paired t-tests: P>0.05); 2) actual mean score compared with self-estimated mean score for the equine participants demonstrated an over estimation of their equine knowledge regardless of qualification level (Paired t-test: cohort: P=0.0001, t=4.0, df=127, 15±5% over-estimation; by qualification level high: P=0.01, t=2.6, df=26, 15±6% over-estimation, medium: P=0.006, t=3.0, df=26, 19±6%, low: P=0.02, t=2.5, df=42, 12±6%). This preliminary study found all equestrians had an inflated confidence in their equine related knowledge indicating that equine related individuals have only moderate insight into their abilities. This study is the first to provide evidence of a form of the DK effect within the equine population. Future research must address the role of contextual factors i.e., whether the effect is limited to equine related material only. Furthermore, research is required to investigate over estimation of physical skills for example riding or horse care management and performance. For the equine industry the findings from this preliminary study are very alarming and raise welfare, mental health and safety concerns. Our study supports the need for further research investigating DK effect in the general field of sport psychology for example the effect on ‘coachability’ of riders.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 21 Sept 2018
Event14th International Conference International Society for Equitation Science: Equitation Science 150 years after Caprilli: theory and practice, the full circle - Regiment Lanceri di Montebello, Rome, Italy
Duration: 21 Sept 201824 Sept 2018 (Conference website)


Conference14th International Conference International Society for Equitation Science
Abbreviated titleEquine welfare: good training, good feeding, good housing, good mental state, good health, good behaviour
OtherNOTE - this conference only published abstracts - as per blurb on back of proceedings 'Herein are summaries of presentations of the 14th Equitation Science Conference held in Rome in 2018. Along with synopses of plenary talks and practical demonstrations are abstracts describing recent research within the broad emerging field of Equitation Science.'
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