SE.20.004 – What effect do humans have on horses and how do we interfere in their living environment?

Route: Sport and exercise

Cluster question: 138 How and why do animals do what they do?

Horses and humans have interacted for many decades. Equestrian sports is a unique sport due to the use of living animals. Namely, the horse. We, the people, choose to participate in this sport, however the horse does not get a choice. Therefore, the responsibility falls to us to ensure the wellbeing of our horses. This is necessary for both animal welfare and to promote an optimal sport performance. A better understanding of horses’ behavior is critical in our search for welfare. Therefore, we must discover how horses interact with their living environment, including the use of horses in equestrian sports. Our aim is to research the effect humans have on horses and how we interfere in their living environment. This encompasses the way we ride and how our body and the equipment we use affects the horse’s movements. It also considers how we take care of our horses; what the influences are of the environment that we create. Why do we want to know this? Lately there has been much critique on animal welfare within the equestrian sport. We care for our horses and want to provide evidence through research that can give us a better indication of a horse’s wellbeing. The research involves the interaction between humans and animals, veterinary aspects, movement sciences, and animal behavior and welfare. These insights can aid us in improving animal welfare in equestrian sports. This is a potential cross-over to the NWA route sport and exercise.


animal welfare, horse, interaction, sport

Other organisations

FieldLab Equestrian Sports, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen (RUG), Universiteit Jheronimus Academy of Data Science, Utrecht University (UU), Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)


Organisation EquInnoLab
Name Mr. A. (Alain) Broft