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Article

Evaluating Horse Owner Expertise and Professional Use of Auxiliary Reins during Horse Riding

1
Equine Clinic, Veterinary Department, Freie Universitaet Berlin, 14163 Berlin, Germany
2
Veterinary Department, Institute for Veterinary Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Freie Universitaet Berlin, 14163 Berlin, Germany
3
Animal Behavior and Laboratory Animal Science, Veterinary Department, Institute of Animal Welfare, Freie Universitaet Berlin, 14163 Berlin, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Clive J. C. Phillips
Animals 2021, 11(7), 2146; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11072146
Received: 8 April 2021 / Revised: 6 July 2021 / Accepted: 13 July 2021 / Published: 20 July 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Welfare)
Auxiliary reins, which function as mechanical training aids that exert influence on the posture of the horse, are often criticized, especially if they are used incorrectly and against animal welfare. The aim of this paper was to investigate, with an online questionnaire, how much knowledge horse owners have regarding auxiliary reins and whether they use them appropriately. In our study, the running side rein was the most popular auxiliary rein when working from the ground and the sliding ring martingale was the most popular for equestrian activities. Half of the participants did not change the auxiliary rein during the entire training session and most participants adjusted their horse too tightly and did not change anything at that time despite the related breathing problems. The study showed that most participants used the reins responsibly, but there is still a need for clarification of their correct application regarding animal welfare and training physiology among horse owners.
Auxiliary reins are commonly used for the training of riders and horses as well as in daily training. They are often criticized when used incorrectly, as they will not help and can harm the horse by causing overwork, accidents, and injuries, which harm the horse in the long term. They also often conceal causal rider problems while trying to achieve quick success. The aim of this paper was to investigate, with an online horse-owner questionnaire, which and how often auxiliary reins were used and whether they were used appropriately. Only participants who were currently using auxiliary reins were selected. Consequently, 823 participants were questioned, of which 362 were currently using auxiliary reins at least every two weeks. Auxiliary reins were mainly used according to their discipline: the running side rein was the most popular when working from the ground and the sliding ring martingale was the most popular for ridden equestrian activities. Most of the test subjects only attached the auxiliary reins after the warm-up phase, but half of the participants did not change them during the entire training session. Most participants (75%) could at least identify what the correct head position of the horse should look like. However, there were still too many (50%) who adjusted their horse too tightly and did not change anything at that time despite the related breathing problems. The study found that most participants used the reins responsibly, but there is still a need for clarification and information relating to the functions of the different auxiliary reins among horse owners. View Full-Text
Keywords: horse; training; auxiliary reins; draw reins; sliding ring martingale horse; training; auxiliary reins; draw reins; sliding ring martingale
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MDPI and ACS Style

Gehlen, H.; Puhlmann, J.; Merle, R.; Thöne-Reineke, C. Evaluating Horse Owner Expertise and Professional Use of Auxiliary Reins during Horse Riding. Animals 2021, 11, 2146. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11072146

AMA Style

Gehlen H, Puhlmann J, Merle R, Thöne-Reineke C. Evaluating Horse Owner Expertise and Professional Use of Auxiliary Reins during Horse Riding. Animals. 2021; 11(7):2146. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11072146

Chicago/Turabian Style

Gehlen, Heidrun, Julia Puhlmann, Roswitha Merle, and Christa Thöne-Reineke. 2021. "Evaluating Horse Owner Expertise and Professional Use of Auxiliary Reins during Horse Riding" Animals 11, no. 7: 2146. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11072146

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