Hartpury involved in investigating impact of coronavirus pandemic on horse owners

Hartpury University is supporting research looking at the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on horses and horse owners. The study aims to mitigate any potential long-term negative impact.

Dr Jane Williams – Associate Professor and Head of Research at Hartpury – has joined scientific and equine consultant Dr David Marlin and Louisa Taylor MRCVS, veterinary surgeon with equine nutrition specialists Science Supplements, in carrying out the new study.

They are inviting horse owners from across the UK, the United States and Australia to provide personal feedback via a short online survey to help assess the implications of the global pandemic on equine care and welfare.

To complete the survey, visit www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/TZ96P83

The British Equestrian Federation (BEF), British Horse Society, British Grooms Association, Equestrian Employers Association, National Trainers Federation (NTF), and National Association of Stable Staff have all urged their members to follow government advice amid the current pandemic.

The BEF has said the maintaining the welfare of horses was still essential, making travel by owners to attend to them valid under the current government guidance, but it encouraged owners to keep visits to a minimum and to observe social distancing.

Dr Williams said: “The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and its impact have developed rapidly. There is a lot of speculation and discussion ongoing and many horse owners and yard owners are concerned.“

Dr Marlin added: “We believe in order to try and understand the current influence of the present situation and to potentially help with the management of the impact on owners and horse welfare, it is important to understand what is actually happening right now. We are inviting horse owners to complete a short survey, which should take no more than five minutes with no personal data collected. The results will be made public as soon as possible and the survey will then be run again in one month’s time to help gauge the progression of the situation.

“With this information we will be able to develop a better understanding of the effects of the current situation, with the aim of being able to produce more targeted advice for horse owners, yard managers/owners and equestrian professionals.”

Louisa Taylor MRCVS said: “Our end goal is to support horse owners by offering guidance during this difficult time which will help them improve the health and welfare of their horses and ponies, while adhering to the constraints which have been put upon us.

“To do this effectively, we need to develop a better understanding of how the equine industry is dealing with the current situation.”