Improving Horse Welfare by Changing Human Behavior: Not Always Easy

One veterinarian concedes that equitation scientists and vets alike are still working to determine how to change people’s behavior with the goal of improving horse welfare, but offers some suggestions on how to make progress.
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improving horse welfare
One veterinarian concedes that equitation scientists and vets alike are still working to determine how to change people’s behavior with the goal of improving horse welfare, but offers some suggestions on how to make progress. | Photo: iStock

We’ve got the science. We’ve got the evidence. We know the kinds of things that result in poor equine welfare. We’ve figured out what causes horses discomfort or pain. We understand what actions we, as humans, do that can make horses suffer in the name of sport, pleasure, or even convenience. And we’ve made strides in improving horse welfare.

Now that we’ve got that down, the next step is easy, right? Just tell people to stop doing what they’re doing and do it differently.

Hold your horses. As a group of equitation scientists and equitation science enthusiasts discovered, it’s not quite that easy

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Passionate about horses and science from the time she was riding her first Shetland Pony in Texas, Christa Lesté-Lasserre writes about scientific research that contributes to a better understanding of all equids. After undergrad studies in science, journalism, and literature, she received a master’s degree in creative writing. Now based in France, she aims to present the most fascinating aspect of equine science: the story it creates. Follow Lesté-Lasserre on Twitter @christalestelas.

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