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Equine Caregiver Information-Seeking Preferences: Surveys in the Midwest

Carroll, Heidi K., Bott-Knutson, Rebecca C., Mastellar, Sara L.
Journal of equine veterinary science 2018 v.64 pp. 65-68
Internet, animal well-being, caregivers, e-mail, females, horses, information sources, managers, nutrition, nutritionists, ownership, professionals, radio, social networks, surveys, teachers, veterinarians
Two surveys of equine owners/managers and professionals using convenience sampling via multimodal distribution were conducted on perceptions of equid health and well-being (n = 142) and equine nutrition and feeding practices (n = 151). Surveys were distributed in 2014–2015 (health and well-being) and 2016 (nutrition and feeding) to similar email lists and social media sites; both included questions regarding information-seeking preferences. Respondents were mostly female (62% health and well-being, 84% nutrition and feeding) and had over 20 years of equine ownership/management experience (47% and 61%, respectively). Participants in the Nutrition and Feeding survey reported seeking information from veterinarians (77%), books/magazines (42%), horse enthusiasts (38%), friends/family (35%), Internet/social media (28%), feed company representative (28%), farrier (25%), scientific publications (25%), trainer/instructor (21%), equine nutritionist (19%), equine dentist (7%), extension specialist (7%), and radio (1%). The Health and Well-Being survey requested information regarding participants' likeliness (5-point Likert scale) of trusting various sources for animal well-being information. Respondents from the Health and Well-Being survey indicated veterinarians/nutritionists (average = 4.5) and extension specialists/university personnel (average = 4.0) as their top two trusted sources of information, and local (average = 2.9) and national humane societies/rescues (average = 2.8) their least-trusted sources of information. These results elucidated the information-seeking preferences of horse owners from the Upper Midwest regarding two equine topics. Veterinarians are sought as a source of equine information in the Upper Midwest.