Equine and human mutual welfare: a whole subject? Critical aspects and possible strategies in equine-assisted activities and therapies

Li Destri Nicosia, Dora (2011) Equine and human mutual welfare: a whole subject? Critical aspects and possible strategies in equine-assisted activities and therapies, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Morfofisiologia veterinaria e applicazioni biotecnologiche, 22 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/3819.
Documenti full-text disponibili:
Documento PDF (English) - Richiede un lettore di PDF come Xpdf o Adobe Acrobat Reader
Download (13MB) | Anteprima


General aim of the study is equine welfare, particularly concerning different husbandry methodic and inter-specific relational factors. Specific aim is the evaluation of possible mutual (to humans and to equines) benefits and the analysis of critical factors/strength points, of human-horse relationship within Therapeutic Riding context (TR). The peculiarities of human-horse relationship (compared to the bond with “Pet”) are analyzed, concerning their socio-anthropological, psychological, psycho-dynamic distinctive characteristics. 8 European representative therapeutic riding centers (TRC) were therefore selected (on the basis of their different animals’ husbandry criteria, and of the different rehabilitative methodologies adopted). TRC were investigated through 2 different questionnaires, specifically settled to access objective/subjective animal welfare parameters; the quality of human-horse relationship; technicians’ emotional experienced. 3 Centers were further selected, and behavioral (145 hours of behavioral recording) and physiological parameters (heart rate and heart rate variability) were evaluated, aimed to access equine welfare and horses’ adaptive responses/coping (towards general environment and towards TR job). Moreover a specific “handling-task” was ideated and experimented, aimed to measure the quality of TR technicians-horses relationship. We did therefore evaluate both the individual horses’ responses and the possible differences among Centers. Data collected highlight the lack of univocal standardized methodic, concerning the general animals’ management and the specific methodologies (aimed to improve animal welfare and to empower TR efficacy). Some positive and some critical aspects were detected concerning TR personnel-horse relationship. Another experimental approach did evaluate the efficacy (concerning the mutual benefits’ empowerment) of an “ethologically-fitted” TR intervention, aimed to educate children to and through the relationship with horses. Our data evidenced that the improvement of human horse relationship, through structured educational programs for TR personnel might have important consequences both to human and equine welfare.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Li Destri Nicosia, Dora
Dottorato di ricerca
Scuola di dottorato
Scienze veterinarie
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
horse welfare behavior hippotherapy horse-human relationship
Data di discussione
12 Maggio 2011

Altri metadati

Statistica sui download

Gestione del documento: Visualizza la tesi