Misbehaviour as a cause of poor performance in pleasure horses

Petra Buckley, John Morton, David J Buckley, Glen T Coleman

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paper

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Abstract

The role of horse behaviour in horse performance not been described in the veterinary literature, despite the 60% rider injury risks attributable to horse misbehaviour published in the medical literature. Furthermore, the performance of pleasure horse has not been defined, despite the importance of this sector of the Australian horse industry. Therefore, little is known about the potential role of veterinarians in assisting owners to optimise the performance of these animals and minimise injury risk. The aim was to profile the performance of Pony Club horses. We conducted an exploratory owner survey which preceded and guided a subsequent epidemiological study. The survey revealed ' somewhat unexpectedly - horse misbehaviour as a cause of poor performance. Based on these results we included misbehaviour as a variable in the epidemiological study. Data was collected over 13 months using monthly visits to 84 Pony Club horses as well as owner-kept diaries recording exercise patterns and the occurrence of misbehaviour.Horses were generally exercised infrequently and for short periods, with a median of six exercise days and 10 hours, respectively each horse-month. The daily incidence risk of misbehaviour was 4.1 %. The incidence risk was highest during schooling and competition (both 5.4 %) and lowest during pleasure riding (2.5 %). More than half of all misbehaviour events were classified as dangerous (high risk of injury). Risk factors for misbehaviour included horse height (135-140cm), horse breed (Thoroughbreds least likely), and teenage riders. We were unable to demonstrate a link between back pain and misbehaviour. These results suggest an association between behaviour and performance, with a modifiable rider effect. We propose that horse performance be defined as a horse meeting rider expectation.Implications for the welfare of ridden horsesAn understanding of behaviour in ridden horses is essential for veterinarians in the bigger context of horse welhealth and performance. In addition to advising potential horse owners of misbehaviour risk factors, equine veterinarians could assist first-time horse owners by including a horse temperament check at the time of purchase.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEthical Equitation
Subtitle of host publicationa sustainable approach
EditorsPaul McGreevy
Place of PublicationSydney
PublisherSydney University
Pages12
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Event5th International Symposium on Equitation Science - Sydney University, Australia
Duration: 12 Jul 200914 Jul 2009

Conference

Conference5th International Symposium on Equitation Science
CountryAustralia
Period12/07/0914/07/09

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Pleasure
Horses
Veterinarians
Epidemiologic Studies
Wounds and Injuries
Exercise

Cite this

Buckley, P., Morton, J., Buckley, D. J., & Coleman, G. T. (2009). Misbehaviour as a cause of poor performance in pleasure horses. In P. McGreevy (Ed.), Ethical Equitation: a sustainable approach (pp. 12). Sydney: Sydney University.
Buckley, Petra ; Morton, John ; Buckley, David J ; Coleman, Glen T. / Misbehaviour as a cause of poor performance in pleasure horses. Ethical Equitation: a sustainable approach. editor / Paul McGreevy. Sydney : Sydney University, 2009. pp. 12
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Buckley, P, Morton, J, Buckley, DJ & Coleman, GT 2009, Misbehaviour as a cause of poor performance in pleasure horses. in P McGreevy (ed.), Ethical Equitation: a sustainable approach. Sydney University, Sydney, pp. 12, 5th International Symposium on Equitation Science, Australia, 12/07/09.

Misbehaviour as a cause of poor performance in pleasure horses. / Buckley, Petra; Morton, John; Buckley, David J; Coleman, Glen T.

Ethical Equitation: a sustainable approach. ed. / Paul McGreevy. Sydney : Sydney University, 2009. p. 12.

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paper

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N2 - The role of horse behaviour in horse performance not been described in the veterinary literature, despite the 60% rider injury risks attributable to horse misbehaviour published in the medical literature. Furthermore, the performance of pleasure horse has not been defined, despite the importance of this sector of the Australian horse industry. Therefore, little is known about the potential role of veterinarians in assisting owners to optimise the performance of these animals and minimise injury risk. The aim was to profile the performance of Pony Club horses. We conducted an exploratory owner survey which preceded and guided a subsequent epidemiological study. The survey revealed ' somewhat unexpectedly - horse misbehaviour as a cause of poor performance. Based on these results we included misbehaviour as a variable in the epidemiological study. Data was collected over 13 months using monthly visits to 84 Pony Club horses as well as owner-kept diaries recording exercise patterns and the occurrence of misbehaviour.Horses were generally exercised infrequently and for short periods, with a median of six exercise days and 10 hours, respectively each horse-month. The daily incidence risk of misbehaviour was 4.1 %. The incidence risk was highest during schooling and competition (both 5.4 %) and lowest during pleasure riding (2.5 %). More than half of all misbehaviour events were classified as dangerous (high risk of injury). Risk factors for misbehaviour included horse height (135-140cm), horse breed (Thoroughbreds least likely), and teenage riders. We were unable to demonstrate a link between back pain and misbehaviour. These results suggest an association between behaviour and performance, with a modifiable rider effect. We propose that horse performance be defined as a horse meeting rider expectation.Implications for the welfare of ridden horsesAn understanding of behaviour in ridden horses is essential for veterinarians in the bigger context of horse welhealth and performance. In addition to advising potential horse owners of misbehaviour risk factors, equine veterinarians could assist first-time horse owners by including a horse temperament check at the time of purchase.

AB - The role of horse behaviour in horse performance not been described in the veterinary literature, despite the 60% rider injury risks attributable to horse misbehaviour published in the medical literature. Furthermore, the performance of pleasure horse has not been defined, despite the importance of this sector of the Australian horse industry. Therefore, little is known about the potential role of veterinarians in assisting owners to optimise the performance of these animals and minimise injury risk. The aim was to profile the performance of Pony Club horses. We conducted an exploratory owner survey which preceded and guided a subsequent epidemiological study. The survey revealed ' somewhat unexpectedly - horse misbehaviour as a cause of poor performance. Based on these results we included misbehaviour as a variable in the epidemiological study. Data was collected over 13 months using monthly visits to 84 Pony Club horses as well as owner-kept diaries recording exercise patterns and the occurrence of misbehaviour.Horses were generally exercised infrequently and for short periods, with a median of six exercise days and 10 hours, respectively each horse-month. The daily incidence risk of misbehaviour was 4.1 %. The incidence risk was highest during schooling and competition (both 5.4 %) and lowest during pleasure riding (2.5 %). More than half of all misbehaviour events were classified as dangerous (high risk of injury). Risk factors for misbehaviour included horse height (135-140cm), horse breed (Thoroughbreds least likely), and teenage riders. We were unable to demonstrate a link between back pain and misbehaviour. These results suggest an association between behaviour and performance, with a modifiable rider effect. We propose that horse performance be defined as a horse meeting rider expectation.Implications for the welfare of ridden horsesAn understanding of behaviour in ridden horses is essential for veterinarians in the bigger context of horse welhealth and performance. In addition to advising potential horse owners of misbehaviour risk factors, equine veterinarians could assist first-time horse owners by including a horse temperament check at the time of purchase.

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Buckley P, Morton J, Buckley DJ, Coleman GT. Misbehaviour as a cause of poor performance in pleasure horses. In McGreevy P, editor, Ethical Equitation: a sustainable approach. Sydney: Sydney University. 2009. p. 12