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Equine Nutrition: A Survey of Perceptions and Practices of Horse Owners Undertaking a Massive Open Online Course in Equine Nutrition

Murray, Jo-Anne M.D., Bloxham, Carmen, Kulifay, Joan, Stevenson, Anne, Roberts, Jayne
Journal of equine veterinary science 2015 v.35 no.6 pp. 510-517
body condition, demographic statistics, diet-related diseases, horsemanship, horses, nutrition knowledge, nutritional intervention, online courses, surveys, weighing devices
An online survey was designed to ascertain the following information: demographics, current feeding practices, and perceptions and knowledge of equine nutrition, including nutrition-related disorders. Response rate was 34% (6,538 respondents). More than 80% of respondents were horse owners or caretakers, with the majority owning between one and five horses (75%) aged 5 years and older (74%). Most kept their horses for pleasure (54%), with 33% using them mostly for competition and 13% using them for an equal mix of both pleasure and competition. Concentrates were fed by the majority (87%), and more than 70% stated that their horses had some access to pasture. Over half of respondents (60%) regularly monitored their horses' weight, with most doing this monthly. Weight tapes were most commonly used (62%), although many reported to guess the weight of their horse(s) with very few (5%) using weight scales. Under half (46%) stated that they regularly used body condition scoring (BCS), many did not use BCS at all (24%), and some did not know what BCS was (10%). Of those that did use BCS, most (36%) did this monthly, with others weekly (25%), daily (14%), and when they remembered (15%). Overall knowledge of nutrition was reported by most as average (median, 3 on Likert scale—average); however, respondents were less knowledgeable on the management of nutrition-related disorders.