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Title: Health and welfare of working horses in Lesotho
Author: Upjohn, Melissa
ISNI:       0000 0004 2738 6329
Awarding Body: Royal Veterinary College (University of London)
Current Institution: Royal Veterinary College (University of London)
Date of Award: 2012
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Although equine charities’ presence in developing countries is assumed to improve working equine health, little scientifically substantiated information is available on the impact of such projects in targeted communities or about communities’ horse health priorities. This work aims to (i) evaluate and quantify the impact of World Horse Welfare training in farriery, saddlery and nutrition-related interventions on health of Lesotho’s working horses (ii) elicit community priority horse health topics using participatory methods for comparison with topics identified using epidemiological techniques. A baseline cross-sectional survey was conducted before World Horse Welfare’s first training course, with two follow-up surveys 9 and 20 months after first year course completion. Each followed a standardised clinical examination protocol for horses and administered a structured questionnaire on equine husbandry/primary health care knowledge and practices with study horses’ owners. Standardised data on tack used on horses was also collected. Data was analysed quantitatively to assess changes in equine health and tack parameters and owners’ knowledge and practices over the intervening period. Following impact evaluation, owner discussion groups were convened, employing participatory facilitation techniques to elicit owner-specified key horse health-associated issues and their priority order. Limited changes in farriery-related parameters were identified, but few saddlery-related improvements resulted; problems including high prevalence of poor tack and tack-associated injuries persisted. High prevalence of suboptimal body condition score, sharp enamel teeth points, parasite infestation, overgrown hooves and adverse clinical pathology parameters persisted throughout the study. Owners’ basic husbandry knowledge and application remained variable. Community-specified horse health priorities were mouthcare, nutrition, disease management, feet and husbandry. Engaging horse owners to understand country-specific issues and elicit community priorities is essential before designing interventions to improve equine health. A complex change process involving owner knowledge, attitudes and behaviour, underpinned by community support and bespoke step-wise interventions is required to achieve sustainable equine health improvements.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Working animals, Horse Management, Horses – Health, Horses - Culture and care