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Management of horses showing stereotypic behaviour, owner perception and the implications for welfare
  1. S. D. McBride, BSc, PhD1 and
  2. L. Long, BSc, MSc1
  1. 1 Institute of Rural Studies, University of Wales, Aberystwyth SY23 3AL


A telephone survey was conducted of 100 racing stables, 100 riding schools and 100 competition establishments (8427 horses in total) to determine what management practices were being applied to horses showing stereotypic behaviour, and to determine the underlying reasons for them by assessing the perceptions and opinions of the people working with the horses. The results indicated that horse owners are concerned about stereotypic behaviour, first, because it reduces the performance of the animal (31,30 and 27 per cent of the owners of racing stables, riding schools and competition establishments respectively), secondly, because it has adverse clinical effects on the horse (52, 55 and 56 per cent), and thirdly, because it reduces the monetary value of the animal (45, 59 and 31 per cent). The belief that these behaviours are learnt or copied also affects the management of affected horses: they are not allowed on to the premises by 4,32 and 17 per cent of owners of racing stables, riding schools and competition establishments, respectively; attempts are made to remove the causal factors of the stereotypy by 35,43 and 36 per cent; the behaviours are physically prevented by 77,67 and 79 per cent, and the affected horses are kept separate from other horses by 39,30 and 48 per cent.

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