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Conference Papers Year : 2007

Handling horses : safety and welfare issues


The interaction between horse and human can be observed in a spectrum from the short occasional interactions to a (life)long term bond. Difficulties and problems in the interspecific communication lead to accidents and decreased welfare of both humans and horses. Surveys on horse related accidents underline the need for a better knowledge and observation of the behaviour of horses in different situations and professions. The reaction of the horse on human handling depends on the human attitude, skills and experience but also on the horses’ temperament. The development of methods to evaluate the way horses react to humans is rather recent and a variety of approaches have been developed, among them are observer ratings and behavioural tests. Most horse owners develop an emotional bond with their horses. The way owners consider their horse most likely has an important influence on the way they manage and handle them. The horse-rider relationship is only very poorly understood; riding accidents and severe mismatches between horse-rider and aim lead to disappointments and welfare problems. There is a strong need for specific research and training of humans working with horses in order to improve the human-horse relationship that, as shown by the high incidence of accidents and increasing number of horses with a decreased welfare is far from optimal.

Dates and versions

hal-01354071 , version 1 (17-08-2016)



Eleonora Kathalijne Kathalijne Visser, Hélène Roche, Séverine Henry, Martine Hausberger. Handling horses : safety and welfare issues. 58th Annual Meeting of the European Association for Animal Production, European Federation of Animal Science (EAAP), Aug 2007, Dublin, Ireland. pp.30, ⟨10.3920/978-90-8686-612-0⟩. ⟨hal-01354071⟩
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