Yucatán Researcher: ‘Our Carriage Horses Have Acceptable Workloads’

Researchers found horses pulling tourism carts didn’t have excessive demands placed on them but did make recommendations for improved welfare.

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Yucatán Researcher: ‘Our Carriage Horses Have Acceptable Workloads’
Mexican researchers found horses pulling tourists carts in the Yucatán did not have excessive workloads. | Photo: iStock
As concerns for the welfare of carriage horses around the world mounts, science is presenting a different point of view. According to Mexican researchers, horses in the tourist industry, even those working long hours in the hot summer pulling six people, can—and do—experience good welfare in the right conditions.

Lightbreed horses pulling tourist carts with axles and tire-coated wheels in the Yucatán area did not have excessive workloads or demands on their physical or mental health, said Pedro Geraldo González-Pech, PhD, of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the Autonomous University of Yucatán, in Mexico.

Even when working conditions included several hours in a row pulling up to 700 kg (1,520 pounds) in a hot, humid environment, the horses didn’t exceeded scientifically established limits for work or health parameters, González-Pech said.

“As veterinarians, we were not surprised by this result,” he explained. “The carts are easy to pull because the wheels and the Yucatán topography, which is flat with smooth asphalt, results in a low tensile strength (force needed to pull something). We even have videos where you can see that a kid can move a cart

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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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