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Influence of Horse and Rider on Stress during Horse-riding Lesson Program

  • Kang, Ok-Deuk (Department of Hippotherapy Welfare, SungDuk C.University) ;
  • Yun, Young-Min (College of Veterinary Medicine, Jeju National University)
  • Received : 2015.12.30
  • Accepted : 2016.03.11
  • Published : 2016.06.01

Abstract

The present study aims to confirm the influence of a horse-riding lesson program (HRLP) on the stress level of horses and riders by respectively analyzing their salivary cortisol concentration. Twenty-four healthy horses and 23 riders participated in this study. The horses were randomly classified into two groups for the horse riding lesson program: Class 1 (for the beginner lesson) and Class 2 (for the intermediate lesson). The Class 1 group consisted of 12 horses and 12 riders, while the Class 2 group consisted of 12 horses and 11 riders. Salivettes cotton wool swabs were used for saliva collection and the saliva analyses were conducted using a two-way analysis of variance for repeated measures with SAS version 8. As for the results, the average salivary cortisol concentration of all horses before HRLP significantly increased compared to the baseline (p<0.001) while it decreased after the HRLP. The results of the salivary cortisol concentration of the riders were similar to the horses' results. However, there was no difference during the HRLP between Class 1 and Class 2 in the horse or rider groups. The results suggest that the HRLP did not influence the stress level of the horses or riders. Thus, this study provides the necessary information and guidelines for future studies on stress in horses during riding and gives insight into better horse welfare and management options.

Keywords

Animal Welfare;Horse Riding;Salivary Cortisol;Stress;Rider;Riding-lesson

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