People: Chantil Sinclair, Nicola Menzies-Gow, Jackie Cardwell

Laminitis is a debilitating foot disease that often requires prolonged treatment and can result in euthanasia. The aetiology of laminitis is well researched, but it is not known whether or how research evidence translates into appropriate horse care and optimised welfare.

The objectives of this mixed methods study are to investigate horse carers’ awareness of evidence-based best practices using an online questionnaire and to identify barriers and drivers affecting the implementation of research-based recommendations using qualitative methods. Using laminitis as an exemplar for other important equine welfare issues, we will determine whether and how scientific evidence influences horse care.

Understanding horse carers’ drivers and barriers to implementing evidence-based best practice will enable communication between researchers and horse carers to be optimised. This will lead to improved dialogue to ensure that research and findings remain relevant and feasible to the recreational horse owner, ultimately improving horse welfare. Although study findings will focus on laminitis, the improved understanding of drivers and barriers to implementing research-based guidelines will be relevant to a wide range of horse related welfare issues, and therefore should lead to a wider impact on the wellbeing of horses.

How you can help: If you are a horse owner or carer (yard owner or manager) responsible for day-to-day horse care decisions based in the UK you can help by completing the HOrse Owners Views on Equine Science survey at: www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/HOOVES

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