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Open AccessArticle

A Retrospective Survey of Factors Affecting the Risk of Incidents and Equine Injury During Non-Commercial Transportation by Road in the United Kingdom

by Carol Hall 1,*, Rachel Kay 1 and Jim Green 2
1
School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences, Nottingham Trent University, Brackenhurst Campus, Southwell, Nottinghamshire NG25 0QF, UK
2
British Animal Rescue and Trauma Care Association CIC, The Horse Trust, Slad Lane, Speen, Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire HP27 0PP, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2020, 10(2), 288; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10020288
Received: 9 January 2020 / Revised: 7 February 2020 / Accepted: 10 February 2020 / Published: 12 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Horse Welfare)
The transport of horses by road is necessary for several reasons, including competition and leisure, moving horses between yards and for breeding and veterinary purposes. In addition to the risks associated with road travel in general, the reaction of some horses to confinement in a transport vehicle may result in injury to the animal. An online survey was carried out to investigate the frequency of incidents during road transport and identify potential risk factors. Of the 2116 survey participants, 342 reported incident details. Over 50% of these incidents were attributed to the behaviour of the horse during transport, with most of these occurring during the first hour of the outward journey. The horse was injured in over 50% of the incidents, with transport vehicle malfunction being thought to be responsible for 68% of these injuries. Those transporting horses for competitive or professional purposes were more likely to have reported an incident than those transporting for leisure purposes. The findings of this survey highlight the need for better training and preparation of horses for transportation and to identify the risk factors associated with transport vehicles.
The number of equines injured as a result of incidents during road transport is currently unknown in the United Kingdom. Although previous research has identified factors that affect an equine’s behavioural and physiological responses to transportation, their contribution to incident occurrence and injury risk is unclear. The aim of this study was to identify factors associated with incident occurrence and equine injury during transportation by road. An online survey was administered between 12th May 2017 and 21st July 2017 in the UK. The survey was open to those transporting equines non-commercially and comprised two sections. Questions relating to general transport behaviour were completed by all participants. Participants who had experienced an incident then provided details of these, including outcomes. Incidents were reported by 16.2% (342/2116) of participants, with details included for 399 incidents. Those participants who had a professional/competitive involvement with equines reported more incidents than those with a predominantly leisure involvement (p < 0.01). Equine behaviour was the attributed cause of 56% of incidents reported and most incidents occurred during the first hour of travel (65%). In over 50% of the incidents reported, the equine was injured, with those incidents attributed to transport vehicle malfunction being associated with the highest percentage of injury (68%). This study highlights the need for better preparation of the equine for transportation and to identify risk factors associated with transport vehicle type, design and operation.
Keywords: horse; equine; transport; transportation; horsebox (lorry; truck); trailer (float); survey; accident; injury horse; equine; transport; transportation; horsebox (lorry; truck); trailer (float); survey; accident; injury
MDPI and ACS Style

Hall, C.; Kay, R.; Green, J. A Retrospective Survey of Factors Affecting the Risk of Incidents and Equine Injury During Non-Commercial Transportation by Road in the United Kingdom. Animals 2020, 10, 288.

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