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Gröndahl, Andrea, 2011. Hästägares kunskapsnivå och attityder angående hästutfodring. First cycle, G2E. Skara: SLU, Dept. of Animal Environment and Health

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Abstract

Horse owner’s knowledge about horse feeding and nutrition is directly linked to the horse’s health and welfare. According to several studies, both Swedish and foreign, horse owners generally have inadequate knowledge about horse feeding. The housing systems and feeding routines of today differs in many ways from what horses have adapted to through evolution. Wild horses live in harem herds and roam on large open fields, spending about 60 % of the day grazing, mainly grass and herbs. Horses are thereby adapted to a diet high on fibers and low on starch. Horses today are being housed individually through large parts of the day and fed restricted amounts of roughage, which can reduce the feeding time significantly. The roughage is often supplemented with cereal-based foods rich on starch.

Incorrect feeding can lead to a great number of diseases and problems that are negative for both human and horse, such as overweight, underweight, colic, laminitis, stereotypies, deficiency diseases and gastric ulcers. To work out a balanced feeding plan, with the right balance between nutrients, minerals and vitamins, can be quite complicated since several feed components are used. You also have to take into concideration several individual factors such as working load or other specific needs. It is therefore important to have good knowledge about what type of feedstuff horses are adapted to and how to feed them in an adequate way. If a horse owner lacks this knowledge or has an incorrect apprehension about what is suitable horse feeding, it is vital for them to be interested (motivated) in learning more and to change their attitudes.

The aim of this study was to investigate what Swedish horse owners attitudes are about knowledge and routines regarding horse feeding. This was made through an internet based survey which was published on horse oriented websites during the period of March 25 to 29 2011. The survey was based on answers from 601 people at 14 – 68 years of age, among whom 98,3 % were women. The majority of the owners have had hoses for more than 10 years. Most of the answering persons (82,8 %) were active on a hobby level and the rest (17,2 %) were active on a professional level. The most common ways to reason over the amount of roughage was that horses should have unlimited access to roughage (43,0 %) or that the nutrition of the roughage should precisely cover the horses need for energy and protein (27,2 %). The horse owners stated, for the most part, that they used concentrates to supplement the roughage shortages of nutrition (44,7 %) or to cover the horses nutritional need for energy and protein as much as possible (20,0 %). However, there were few who did not feed their horses with cereals at all.

The horse owners had in general good attitudes, particularly regarding roughage, and they deemed themselves to have good or very good knowledge about horsefeeding, which seemed partly correct. The category of people that claimed to have the most knowledge have had horses for more than seven years. They were at a professional level and were highly educated. The owners showed indications of inadequate knowledge and incorrect apprehension about feeding cereal-based feed and supplements. For example, they did not show enough awareness of the negative effects cereal-based feeds can have on horse’s health. However, the category of people that claimed to have the least knowledge had become horse owners more recent. They were active on a hobby level and had only a primary education. This is thereby the group that probably needs more information and knowledge. The interest to learn more about horse feeding was however high, which is promising and indicates that there is good chance of affecting and changing their attitudes.

Main title:Hästägares kunskapsnivå och attityder angående hästutfodring
Authors:Gröndahl, Andrea
Supervisor:Palmgren Karlsson, Carina
Examiner:Johansson, Birgitta
Series:Studentarbete (Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet, Institutionen för husdjurens miljö och hälsa)
Volume/Sequential designation:350
Year of Publication:2011
Level and depth descriptor:First cycle, G2E
Student's programme affiliation:EODKP Ethology and Animal Welfare Programme 180 HEC
Department:(VH) > Dept. of Animal Environment and Health
Keywords:utfodring, häst, hästägare, enkät, attityder, kunskaper
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-s-410
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-s-410
Subjects:Animal feeding
Diet and diet-related diseases
Language:Swedish
Deposited On:30 Jun 2011 11:11
Metadata Last Modified:20 Apr 2012 14:21

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