How to minimise the incidence of transport-related problem behaviours in horses: A review

Amanda York, Judith Matusiewicz, Barbara Padalino

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    19 Citations (Scopus)
    17 Downloads (Pure)


    This review aims to provide practical outcomes on how to minimise the incidence of transport-related problem behaviours (TRPBs) in horses. TRPBs are unwanted behaviours occurring during different phases of transport, most commonly, a reluctance to load and scrambling during travelling. TRPBs can result in injuries to horses and horse handlers, horse trailer accidents, disruption of time schedules, inability to attend competitions, and poor performance following travel. Therefore, TRPBs are recognised as both a horserelated risk to humans and a human-related risk to horses. From the literature, it is apparent that TRPBs are common throughout the entire equine industry, and a YouTube keyword search of ‘horse trailer loading’ produced over 67,000 results, demonstrating considerable interest in this topic and the variety of solutions suggested. Drawing upon articles published over the last 35 years, this review summarises current knowledge on TRPBs and provides recommendations on their identification, management, and prevention. It appears that a positive human-horse relationship, in-hand pre-training, systematic training for loading and travelling, appropriate horse handling, and the vehicle driving skills of the transporters are crucial to minimise the incidence of TRPBs. In-hand pre-training based on correct application of the principles of learning for horses and horse handlers, habituation to loading and travelling, and self-loading appear to minimise the risk of TRPBs and are therefore strongly recommended to safeguard horse and horse-handler health and welfare. This review indicates that further research and education with respect to transport management are essential to substantially decrease the incidence of TRPBs in horses.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)67-75
    Number of pages9
    JournalJournal of Equine Science
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 2017


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