Special Issue "Sustainability in the Equine Industry"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Clinical Prof. Steven S. Vickner
E-Mail Website
Chief Guest Editor
Morrison School of Agribusiness, W.P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University, 7231 E Sonoran Arroyo Mall, Santan Hall 235E, Mesa, AZ 85212, USA
Interests: agribusiness; economic impact of equine industry; horse auctions and pricing; economics of horse racing/wagering and other equestrian sports; sustainability; applied economics
Prof. Dana L.K. Hoag
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Colorado State University, USA
Interests: agricultural production; equine and livestock economics; sustainability; resource management; conservation; agricultural conflicts in society; policy
Prof. Jason E. Bruemmer
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Animal Sciences, Associate Director of Equine Sciences Program, Colorado State University, USA
Interests: equine reproduction; contraception of wild horses; management of wild horses; equine science/education; horse-human interactions; horses in society
Prof. Michael Peterson
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, Director of Ag Equine Programs, University of Kentucky, USA
Interests: animal biomechanics; hoof surface interaction; mechanics of granular materials; engineering design; renewable energy; sensors

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The relationship between humans and horses is as old as recorded history, with the earliest uses including food, agriculture, transportation, and warfare. Today, pleasure, recreation, sport (i.e., showing and racing) and even companionship are the more common uses, and the horse is embedded in cultures across the globe. The American Horse Council estimated the 2017 domestic horse population to be 7.2 million head resulting in a total economic impact of $122 billion in GDP. As uses have changed, enlightened sustainable management in the equine industry has also changed. In this Special Issue, we aim to document the state-of-the-art in sustainability of the equine industry while addressing some of its most pressing and often controversial topics. We ask, what is sustainability in the equine industry?

Ideal contributions to this Special Issue include but are not limited to: waste management; welfare and treatment; urban and agricultural conflicts; facilities and transportation; environmental management emphasizing water and/or renewable energy; disease management; opportunities for therapeutic and social interaction; wild horse management; policy; euthanasia/slaughter; real estate valuation in equine communities; and other innovative applications of the triple bottom line and lifecycle analysis to the equine industry.

Clinical Prof. Steven S. Vickner
Chief Guest Editor

Prof. Dana L.K. Hoag
Prof. Jason E. Bruemmer
Prof. Michael Peterson
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. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly 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 1900 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.

Keywords

  • equine
  • water conservation
  • LEED construction
  • energy resources
  • animal waste
  • horse
  • land management
  • animal health
  • triple bottom line
  • lifecycle analysis
  • sustainability

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Racing Surface and Turn Radius on Fatal Limb Fractures in Thoroughbred Racehorses
Sustainability 2021, 13(2), 539; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13020539 - 08 Jan 2021
Viewed by 508
Abstract
North American Thoroughbred racing is conducted on three types of surfaces—dirt, turf, and synthetic. The tracks are oval, and races are run counterclockwise. The loading on right and left limbs is expected to differ as a function of turn radius, banking, surface, and [...] Read more.
North American Thoroughbred racing is conducted on three types of surfaces—dirt, turf, and synthetic. The tracks are oval, and races are run counterclockwise. The loading on right and left limbs is expected to differ as a function of turn radius, banking, surface, and gait asymmetry. Hind limbs and forelimbs also have different functions related to propulsion and turning, respectively. This study uses the Equine Injury Database for race starts from 1 January 2009 through 31 December 2014, to compare injury rates across participating North American racetracks. The data are limited to catastrophic injuries in which horses died or were euthanized due to a fracture within 72 h of the start of the race. Overall injury rates were lower on turf and synthetic surfaces and the pattern of limb injuries in left vs. right and fore vs. hind limbs were different. Regardless of surface, forelimbs were more likely to fracture. Dirt surfaces showed higher rates of forelimb injuries compared to other surfaces, hind limbs were more likely to experience a fatal fracture on turf than on dirt. The left fore and right hind limbs were more likely to experience a fatal fracture but only on dirt surfaces. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in the Equine Industry)
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Open AccessArticle
Horse Manure Management by Commercial and Old-Order Amish Equine Operators: Economic and Conservation Implications
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8723; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208723 - 21 Oct 2020
Viewed by 684
Abstract
Horse operations may produce high amounts of manure per acre/ha and be less aware of recommended manure management practices than livestock farmers, leading to negative environmental impacts. This study compared the manure management practices of two populations of horse owners in the USA [...] Read more.
Horse operations may produce high amounts of manure per acre/ha and be less aware of recommended manure management practices than livestock farmers, leading to negative environmental impacts. This study compared the manure management practices of two populations of horse owners in the USA state of Missouri, commercial horse operations and an Old-Order Amish community, using data from a 2019 mail survey with a 50% response rate. In commercial operations, manure was more likely to be piled rather than spread directly on fields, which was the Amish practice. The Amish were more likely to use manure for crop production, to indicate that was why they had not explored markets for manure, and to test soil for nutrients. Regression results for factors affecting previous sales/transfers of manure or compost showed that selling was more likely for commercial operations, female operators, and those who had composted manure. Compared to respondents who agreed that manure management had an impact on water quality, those who did not know or were neutral about that statement were more likely to have sold manure. While both groups can improve manure management and are underserved by traditional agricultural information channels, educational efforts should be tailored to their different circumstances. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in the Equine Industry)
Open AccessArticle
The External Workload of Thoroughbred Horse Racing Jockeys
Sustainability 2020, 12(18), 7572; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12187572 - 14 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 519
Abstract
The objectives of this study were to quantify the external workload of thoroughbred racing jockeys in relation to their experience and racing performance. The number of rides of 786 jockeys and apprentices who rode in 407,948 flat and 13,648 jumps racing starts over [...] Read more.
The objectives of this study were to quantify the external workload of thoroughbred racing jockeys in relation to their experience and racing performance. The number of rides of 786 jockeys and apprentices who rode in 407,948 flat and 13,648 jumps racing starts over 14 seasons were examined. Jockey work (ride numbers, seasons riding) and performance characteristics (race falls or wins) between cohorts with low (1–10), middle (10–200) and high (>200) numbers of rides per season were compared. Flat racing apprentices had more rides per season (25, interquartile range [IQR] 7–97 vs. 14, IQR 3–222, p < 0.001) but fewer rides per race day (2, IQR 1–4 vs. 4, IQR 2–6, p < 0.001) than flat racing jockeys. Flat racing jockeys in the high workload cohort (23%) were responsible for 83% of the race-day rides, riding in a median of 375 (IQR 283–520) races per season. These jockeys had half the fall rate (Incidence rate [IR] 1.0, 95% CI 0.9–1.1) and 1.4 times the success rates per 1000 rides (IR 98, 95% CI 97–99) than jockeys in the low and middle workload cohorts (p < 0.05). Most jockeys had light workloads, greater risk of injury and lower winning rates than the smaller cohort of jockeys with heavier workloads. This disparity in opportunity and success between cohorts indicates inefficiencies within the industry in recruitment and retention of jockeys. These data provide a foundation to further studies investigating jockey competition-specific fitness and its effect on both riding success and reducing injury risk. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in the Equine Industry)
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Open AccessArticle
Jockey Career Length and Risk Factors for Loss from Thoroughbred Race Riding
Sustainability 2020, 12(18), 7443; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12187443 - 10 Sep 2020
Viewed by 404
Abstract
Professional thoroughbred racing jockeys repeatedly work close to physiological capacity during races, whilst maintaining low body weights, on a daily basis with no off-season. The effects of this on their career length is unknown. The aim of this study was to examine the [...] Read more.
Professional thoroughbred racing jockeys repeatedly work close to physiological capacity during races, whilst maintaining low body weights, on a daily basis with no off-season. The effects of this on their career length is unknown. The aim of this study was to examine the career lengths and reasons for loss from the industry of 674 jockeys and apprentices who rode over 14 racing seasons and 421,596 race day starts in New Zealand. Descriptors were compared between jockeys in short (1–2 years), middle (3–9 years) and long (>10 years) career cohorts with descriptive statistics and Kaplan–Meier survival curves. The median career length for jockeys was 2 years (IQR 1–6). Long career cohort jockeys (11%) had lower carried weights (IQR 56–57 kg, p = 0.03), 40 times the median number of rides per season (248, IQR 61–434, p < 0.001), half the rate per 1000 rides of falling (1.1, 95% CI 1.0–1.2, p = 0.009) and 1.3 times the rate of winning (100, 95% CI 99–101, p < 0.01) than jockeys in the short career cohort. Jockeys who rode over 200 races per season had careers three times longer than jockeys with fewer races per season (p < 0.001). Half of the 40% of jockeys who failed to complete their apprenticeship were lost from the industry in their first year of race riding. In conclusion, most jockeys had short careers where the workload of a jockey and their ability to obtain rides had greater impact on career longevity than their performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in the Equine Industry)
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Open AccessArticle
Trace Mineral Leaching from Equine Compost
Sustainability 2020, 12(17), 7157; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12177157 - 02 Sep 2020
Viewed by 482
Abstract
Mineral leaching from compost can be environmentally disruptive. Little information is available regarding trace mineral leaching from equine-sourced compost. The objective of this study was to quantify the mineral content and leaching potential of compost produced from feces of horses fed different amounts [...] Read more.
Mineral leaching from compost can be environmentally disruptive. Little information is available regarding trace mineral leaching from equine-sourced compost. The objective of this study was to quantify the mineral content and leaching potential of compost produced from feces of horses fed different amounts and forms (organic or inorganic) of trace minerals. Nine horses were fed three treatments in a 3 × 3 replicated Latin Square design. The dietary treatments were provided as a daily pellet: CON (pellet without added trace minerals), ING (added inorganic trace minerals), and ORG (added organic trace minerals). The added trace minerals were Co, Cu, Mn, and Zn. Feces were collected from each horse after a 16-day feeding period, combined with straw, composted, and then subjected to simulated rainfall to measure mineral mobility. Concentrations of Co, Cu, Mn, and Zn were greater in ING and ORG compared to CON compost (p < 0.05); additionally, ING had greater Zn than ORG compost (p < 0.05). More Cu leached from ING and ORG compared to CON (p < 0.05). The most Zn leached from ING, followed by ORG, and the least amount leached from CON compost (p < 0.05). Dietary trace mineral intake affected the trace mineral concentration in the compost and amount available to leach during rainfall events. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in the Equine Industry)
Open AccessArticle
The Evolution of Racehorse Clusters in the United States: Geographic Analysis and Implications for Sustainable Agricultural Development
Sustainability 2020, 12(2), 494; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12020494 - 08 Jan 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1014
Abstract
Sustainability is frequently defined as the need to place equal emphasis on three societal goals: economic prosperity, environment, and social equity. This “triple bottom line” (TBL) framework is embraced by practitioners in both corporate and government settings. Within agriculture, the horse-racing industry and [...] Read more.
Sustainability is frequently defined as the need to place equal emphasis on three societal goals: economic prosperity, environment, and social equity. This “triple bottom line” (TBL) framework is embraced by practitioners in both corporate and government settings. Within agriculture, the horse-racing industry and its breeding component are an interesting case study for the TBL approach to local development. The sector is to some extent a “knowledge industry”, agglomerating in relatively few regions worldwide. In the USA, choices made by breeders or owners are likely affected by sudden changes in specific state policies, especially those related to gambling. Both of these unusual conditions—for agriculture at least—have been playing out against a background of national decline in the number of registered racehorse breeding stock. This study traces changes, between 1995 and 2017, in the geographic distribution of registered Thoroughbred and Standardbred stallions. We find that isolated, scattered registered stallions have largely disappeared, strengthening one or more core states (or counties) that had an initially high percentage of stallions. The gainers and losers among previously core regions appear to be heavily influenced by state-level policies. It follows that such policies can influence the conservation of agricultural landscapes as well as racing revenues. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in the Equine Industry)
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Open AccessArticle
Estimated Profitability of Thoroughbred Yearlings Sold in Auctions in the United States, 2001–2018
Sustainability 2020, 12(2), 463; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12020463 - 08 Jan 2020
Viewed by 680
Abstract
Yearling auctions constitute the most common means of trading prospective Thoroughbred racehorses. The main objective of many equine operations is to breed yearlings to sell at these auctions, and therefore, the ability of breeders to consistently realize positive returns is paramount to their [...] Read more.
Yearling auctions constitute the most common means of trading prospective Thoroughbred racehorses. The main objective of many equine operations is to breed yearlings to sell at these auctions, and therefore, the ability of breeders to consistently realize positive returns is paramount to their long-term participation in the market. In this article, we investigate the estimated profitability of Thoroughbred yearlings sold in auctions from 2001–2018. According to our estimates, less than 50% of transactions were profitable, with negative median profit in all years under analysis but two. In addition, the likelihood of realizing a positive return diminishes as the quality of sire decreases. Our results suggest that the long-run sustainability for many breeders, especially breeders that may lack the capital to invest in high quality stallions, is questionable. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in the Equine Industry)
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Open AccessArticle
Home off the Range: The Role of Wild Horse Internet Adoptions in Informing Sustainable Western United State Rangeland Management
Sustainability 2020, 12(1), 279; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010279 - 30 Dec 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 872
Abstract
According to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), there are about 60,000 more wild horses and burros roaming the rangelands in the western United States than the land can sustain. While the BLM is pursuing a number of strategies to address this imbalance, [...] Read more.
According to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), there are about 60,000 more wild horses and burros roaming the rangelands in the western United States than the land can sustain. While the BLM is pursuing a number of strategies to address this imbalance, placing wild horses and burros in private homes is one of the most preferred options. However, little is known about the demand for wild horses. This paper utilizes data from internet adoptions of wild horses to better understand the demand side of the market. More specifically, results from a Heckman selection model provide estimates of the market value of various characteristics of wild horses. By describing adopter preferences, these estimates can aid policy makers in optimizing strategies to manage the wild horse population. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in the Equine Industry)
Open AccessArticle
Dietary Trace Mineral Level and Source Affect Fecal Bacterial Mineral Incorporation and Mineral Leaching Potential of Equine Feces
Sustainability 2019, 11(24), 7107; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11247107 - 11 Dec 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 687
Abstract
Minerals excreted in feces have the potential to leach or runoff to water-ways, negatively impacting water quality. This study examined the effect of dietary trace mineral levels, and their source, on the leaching potential of minerals from equine feces. Nine horses were used [...] Read more.
Minerals excreted in feces have the potential to leach or runoff to water-ways, negatively impacting water quality. This study examined the effect of dietary trace mineral levels, and their source, on the leaching potential of minerals from equine feces. Nine horses were used in a replicated 3 × 3 Latin Square, with three dietary treatments provided as pellets: no added trace minerals (CON), added inorganic trace minerals (ING), and added organic trace minerals (ORG). Supplemental trace minerals included Co, Cu, Mn, and Zn. Horses were allowed ad libitum access to forage and fed their treatment pellets for 16 days prior to fecal sample collection. Estimated dietary mineral intake exceeded requirements for supplemented minerals. Regardless of the source, adding dietary trace minerals increased the fecal leaching potential of Cu, Zn, and P (p < 0.05). More Co leached from ORG compared to ING, while Zn leached in greater amounts from ING compared to ORG (p < 0.05). Fecal bacterial Zn content was greater (p < 0.05) for ORG compared to ING. Negative correlations were observed between bacterial mineral content and leaching for several minerals. Supplementing trace minerals in forms that increase microbial incorporation may provide a strategy to control fecal mineral leaching. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in the Equine Industry)
Open AccessArticle
Central Kentuckians’ Willingness to Pay for Horse Farm Preservation
Sustainability 2019, 11(19), 5210; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11195210 - 23 Sep 2019
Viewed by 647
Abstract
This study estimates the non-market value of horse farms of Central Kentucky’s equine economic cluster using a contingent valuation approach. Utilizing a payment card, respondents are asked to indicate how much they would be willing to pay in additional taxes for a hypothetical [...] Read more.
This study estimates the non-market value of horse farms of Central Kentucky’s equine economic cluster using a contingent valuation approach. Utilizing a payment card, respondents are asked to indicate how much they would be willing to pay in additional taxes for a hypothetical “horse farm preservation program.” Results from the study showed that, on average, a Central Kentucky household was willing to pay an additional $55.14–$67.78 in taxes annually to maintain the equine industry at its current levels. The additional taxes generated would compensate for lost tax revenue from development of the land. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in the Equine Industry)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Thoroughbred Racehorse Welfare through the Lens of ‘Social License to Operate—With an Emphasis on a U.S. Perspective
Sustainability 2020, 12(5), 1706; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12051706 - 25 Feb 2020
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2431
Abstract
This review addresses the question of whether Thoroughbred horse racing is sustainable in the context of current social values. A recently acknowledged framework, known as ‘Social License to Operate’ (SLO), provides us with a lens through which to view and assess racehorse welfare. [...] Read more.
This review addresses the question of whether Thoroughbred horse racing is sustainable in the context of current social values. A recently acknowledged framework, known as ‘Social License to Operate’ (SLO), provides us with a lens through which to view and assess racehorse welfare. In multiple surveys of the general public, the horse owning public, and university students, the primary topics of concern regarding Thoroughbred racing show considerable concordance: concern about catastrophic injuries—particularly as related to track surfaces, concern over the racing of two-year-olds, whip use by jockeys, drug/medication policies, and aftercare opportunities for retired Thoroughbred racehorses. Legitimacy of an industry, consent from industry stakeholders, and trust between the community players, are all essential to have and maintain SLO. In the current era of 24/7 global media access, and the proliferation of social media providing an interactive platform for all interested parties, a dramatic change has occurred in commentary related to racehorse welfare concerns. The situation at Santa Anita (California, USA) from late December 2018 through mid-November 2019 demonstrated just how tenuous the SLO for horse racing is. This article will provide a brief review of what ‘Social License to Operate’ is, along with a brief literature review of five of the areas of primary concern voiced by stakeholders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in the Equine Industry)
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