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Equine Science

The Equine Department at Askham Bryan College undertakes standalone research in the Equine Industry and is also part of the Advancing Equine Scientific Excellence (AESE) initiative.

Welfare, ethics and behaviour are pivotal within the core values of research undertaken in the equine department at Askham Bryan College. The research undertaken aims to promote improvements in the welfare of domesticated horses. Performance is linked to behavioural processes and has numerous welfare and ethical implications. Our research in equine and rider performance aims to consolidate and build upon the fundamental principles of ethical equitation.

Advancing Equine Scientific Excellence (AESE) is an established initiative operating as a Committee of the British Equestrian Federation (BEF) which was formed as a collaboration between BEF and the British Society of Animal Science (BSAS).

AESE is revolutionising the way in which the horse industry integrates with academic establishments. Our undergraduate degree students and Research staff are involved in research projects which will help to inform the horse industry.


Project Staff:

Dr Tim Whitaker, Campus Principal
Loni Loftus, Head of Equine Research
Dr Anna Riach, Lecturer in Animal Management and Equine

Emma Jones – AESE Research coordinator
Fiona Harrison – Research Staff

Project Title:
A study into the effect of stereotypic behaviour on TB racehorse performance
 
Start Date:
January 2016
 
Project Lead Staff:
Loni Loftus
 
Project Partners:
Flat and National Hunt Racing Yards in North Yorkshire

 

Other Project Staff:
None
 
Project Aims and Overview:

This study is a retrospective audit of the behavioural records, veterinary records and race performance of a cohort of over 800 TB racehorses in UK racing yards. The project also encompasses a real time study looking at ~250 current TB racehorses in training to evaluate correlations between stereotypic behaviour performance and race performance.

The study also aims to analyse relationships between genetic, behavioural and medical characteristics identified during data collection and extrapolate these in relation to stereotypic and race performance behaviours seen in this cohort of racehorses.

It is hoped that the results of this study will contribute to the body of knowledge surrounding the initiation, maintenance and effect of stereotypic behaviours in performance horses and help to inform working practices in this field.

 

Project Title:
Efficacy of a natural eggshell membrane supplement on joint mobility and pain in a cohort of UK riding horses
 
Start Date:
January 2016
 
Project Lead Staff:
Loni Loftus
 
Project Partners:
Spanish supplement manufacturer and UK based animal feed manufacturer
 
Other Project Staff:
None
 
Project Aims and Overview:

This study encompasses a pilot study, currently ongoing, to identify palatability and dosage regimen of this nutritional supplement. Following this a full double blinded randomised controlled trial will be conducted (due to begin Autumn 2016) to measure the efficacy of the supplement.

It is hoped that the results of this study will identify whether this supplement may be a beneficial additive to equine feed preparations to aid joint health.
 

 

Project Title:
Wearable technology in equine sports
 
Start Date:
June 2016
 
Project Lead Staff:
Loni Loftus
 
Project Partners:
Science City York
 
Other Project Staff:
None
 
Project Aims and Overview:

This project is being undertaken to develop a new piece of wearable technology initially for the horseracing industry but also applicable to the equine sports industry as a whole.
The technology will primarily be aimed at advancing welfare and performance in the equine sports industry and engages with technological partners and the horse racing and equine sports industry to prototype an innovative and effective piece of equipment.

 

Project Title:
Ethological study of ridden, handling and stable related behaviour of horses in set management systems
 
Start Date:
April 2016
 
Project Lead Staff:
Loni Loftus
 
Project Partners:
Other Project Staff:
None
 
Project Aims and Overview:

This study aims to collate and analyse data relating to the behavioural repertoires of horses in a set management system to identify the relative time budgets of these horses compared with natural time budgets and identify behaviours unique to these domesticated time budgets.

It is hoped that the results will indicate where allocated time budgets are appropriate for domesticated equines and where measures could be put in place to enhance and modulate these time budgets to improve the welfare and behaviour of domesticated horses in set management regimes.
 


 

Askham Bryan College,
Askham Bryan,
York,
YO23 3FR
01904 772277
enquiries@askham-bryan.ac.uk