Special Issue "Horse-Human Interactions and Their Implication for Equine Welfare"

A special issue of Animals (ISSN 2076-2615). This special issue belongs to the section "Equids".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 January 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Joanna Hockenhull
Guest Editor
Animal Welfare and Behaviour Group, Bristol Vet School, University of Bristol, Langford BS40 5DU, UK
Interests: animal welfare; equine behaviour and welfare; human-animal interactions; human behaviour change
Dr. Tamzin Furtado
Guest Editor
University of Liverpool, UK
Interests: horse-human relationships, qualitative research, human behaviour change, equine welfare

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Equines perform a wide variety of roles within human society—serving as companions, transport, and traction and elite athletes, to name a few. These roles have wider implications for how the equines performing these functions are perceived and treated, and consequently for their welfare. As our understanding of the needs of our equines grows, so does our awareness of the importance of the human–horse relationship in how horse carers perceive the welfare of their equines and recognise sub-optimal welfare. Moreover, we are seeing more and more examples of how human behaviour change interventions can facilitate improvements in the lives of the equines under human care.

In this Special Issue, we would like to focus on the horse–human relationship and the implications this has for equine welfare. We are interested in original research or review papers that address this area, including research that has focused on human behaviour change for the benefit of equine welfare.

Dr. Joanna Hockenhull
Dr. Tamzin Furtado
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Animals is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • equine welfare
  • equine behaviour
  • human–horse relationship
  • human behaviour change

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Open AccessArticle
Prevalence and Distribution of Lesions in the Nasal Bones and Mandibles of a Sample of 144 Riding Horses
Animals 2020, 10(9), 1661; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10091661 - 16 Sep 2020
Restrictive nosebands are used in equestrian sports to hold the bit in place and reduce mouth-opening, a response that can attract penalties in some sports and is thought to reduce the rider’s control of the horse. Sustained pressure from such tightly fitted (restrictive) [...] Read more.
Restrictive nosebands are used in equestrian sports to hold the bit in place and reduce mouth-opening, a response that can attract penalties in some sports and is thought to reduce the rider’s control of the horse. Sustained pressure from such tightly fitted (restrictive) nosebands denies normal behaviour and thus, causes frustration and distress that can jeopardise horse welfare. It also may push the cheek against the molar teeth, compress soft tissues including blood vessels and nerves, and possibly induce chronic changes to underlying bone. This study of mature cavalry horses (n = 144) was designed to explore relationships between visual and palpable damage to structures that underlie the nosebands of horses and any related bony changes in those horses as evidenced by radiography. Working independently of each other, two researchers inspected the horses for visual changes and palpable changes before the horses were radiographed. The radiographs were assessed by a separate pair of veterinary radiologists, again working independently of each other. Among the current population of horses, 37.5% had one or more radiographic changes to the nasal bones according to both radiologists, and 13.8% had one or more radiographic changes to the mandible. For nasal bones, the two radiologists reported bone deposition in 6.9% and 8.3% of the horses and bone thinning in 33.3% and 56.9% of the horses, respectively. By palpation, they found that 82% and 84% of the horses had palpable bone deposition of the nasal bones and 32% and 33.4% had palpable bone thinning. For the mandibles, the radiologists reported increased bone deposition in 18.8% and 32.6% of the horses but no bone thinning. By palpation, the two examiners reported 30.6% and 32.7% of the horses had palpable bone deposition and 10.4% and 11.1% had palpable bone thinning. This is the first report of lesions to the mandible at this site and this article presents the first confirmation of bony lesions at the site typically subjected to pressure from restrictive nosebands. These results suggest that radiographic bone thinning is more apparent in the nasal bones of riding horses than in the mandible and that both palpable and radiographic bone deposition are more likely in the mandible than in the nasal bones. That said, we note that the current study provides no evidence of a causal link between any piece of gear or its putative tightness and the lesions in these anatomical locations. Further studies are needed to identify risk factors for these clusters of lesions. The inadvertent deformation of bones in the horse’s head for competitive advantage is difficult to justify on ethical grounds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Horse-Human Interactions and Their Implication for Equine Welfare)
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