Online survey explores effects of pandemic on horse-keeping in NZ, Australia

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File image. Photo by Cole Parrant

Horse owners in New Zealand and Australia are being asked to share their experiences of the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on horse-keeping, in a second survey exploring the issue.

The research is being led by Dr Hayley Randle, Dr David Marlin and Dr Jane Williams.

The first online survey was run at the end of March this year.

The researchers found that a majority of horse owners who responded felt they had been affected by the pandemic and associated quarantine restrictions.

Most facilities had put in place some form of control measures to reduce the spread of transmission of the virus but only a third of horse owners felt fully informed.

Most owners had not experienced issues accessing veterinary and other professional services, but two-thirds were worried about the long-term financial impact of the pandemic and how this could inform equine management, health and welfare in the future.

Now, six months later, the study team wants to understand if and how the situation facing Australian and New Zealand horse owners has changed.

Anonymised data from responses will be shared with various stakeholders such as Equestrian Australia, the New Zealand Equestrian Federation, the Australian Veterinary Association, the New Zealand Veterinary Association and key animal welfare organisations in both countries.

The results will also be made public as soon as possible.

“With this information, we will be able to develop a better understanding of the effects of the ongoing situation, with the aim of being able to produce more targeted advice and support for horse owners, facility managers/owners and equestrian professionals,” said Randle, who is an equine science specialist with Charles Sturt University in Australia.

The survey should take no more than five minutes and no personal data will be collected.

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