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Widström, Elsa, 2023. Svenska hästägares erfarenheter av lastning med häst. First cycle, G2E. Uppsala: SLU, Dept. of Animal Environment and Health (until 231231)



Studies have shown that struggle during loading of horses is a well-known problem. Horses are flight animals who usually avoid dark and narrow places where the view of their surroundings are limited. Horses are also naturally neophobic, which can cause problems when loading and training horses to load. The risk of injuries caused by the horse’s flight response are burn marks and fractures on humans as well as wounds and fractures on horses. Studies have shown that different vehicles cause different physiological and behavioral responses in horses, something that can affect the horses will to load. Most horse owners train their horses to load by using negative- or positive reinforcement, positive- or negative punishment or habituation, which has different purposes and effects on the horse. This study aimed to get an understanding for how horse owners assess their horse experience of loading, which vehicles and training methods horse owners use when loading. By distributing a 23-question survey to horse centers and in Facebook groups. The method used was able to reach out to a great number of people during limited time. However, an intern dropout occurred because the respondent was not obligated to answer every question. A total of 49 answers were received. The results showed that a that a majority of horses were easy to load and often tend load without the owners help. Most horses travel 1-2 times a week to mostly competitions and training. The most frequently used vehicle was a two-horse trailer where the horse walks in and out from the back of the trailer. When they train to load, horse owners used most frequently positive reinforcement by giving the horse feed. Owners who do not train explained that the horse loads by itself followed by using negative reinforcement. However, studies have shown that training methods are often used unknowingly by owners, which leads to believe that training with habituation has occurred more than the owners are aware of. When experiencing problems during loading, they tend to use negative reinforcement by using lunge lines behind the horse’s hindlegs. Horse owners considered that if a horse once has learnt to load, the knowledge of loading sticks with them even after a longer break from transporting. Something that studies agree with. Studies do not however agree with positive reinforcement being the most common training method, rather it being negative reinforcement. Previous studies have shown that vehicles where the horse stands against the direction of travel is preferred by horses, something that horse owners agreed with. However, the most common vehicle according to studies is the same as was found in this survey. New questions for future studies were shaped to deeper investigate the teaching of loading horses to owners, how experiences change over time and finally how vehicles should be constructed to further facilitate loading.

Main title:Svenska hästägares erfarenheter av lastning med häst
Authors:Widström, Elsa
Supervisor:Wichman, Anette
Examiner:Vilain Rörvang, Maria
Volume/Sequential designation:UNSPECIFIED
Year of Publication:2023
Level and depth descriptor:First cycle, G2E
Student's programme affiliation:VK005 Ethology and Animal Welfare - Bachelor's Programme, 180.0hp
Supervising department:(VH) > Dept. of Animal Environment and Health (until 231231)
Keywords:häst, lastning, träning, transportfordon, enkät
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Deposited On:03 Jul 2023 07:50
Metadata Last Modified:04 Jul 2023 01:10

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