Australian Bronze medallist, Rio 2016
The Equine Behavior Assessment and Research Questionnaire (E-BARQ) Press Release
Since ancient times, horse behaviour and the bond between horses and humans, have been a source of intrigue and fascination.
The horse-lore that has accumulated over the centuries is a rich mix of both useful practice (approaching horses from their left side, making them slightly less reactive) and unsubstantiated myth, such as the one that chestnut horses are especially difficult to deal with.
This is why the University of Sydney has launched the Equine Behavior Assessment and Research Questionnaire (E-BARQ), an ongoing global database of horse behaviour. The study that explores how horse training and management interact with behaviour. It will reveal invaluable information on how our training and management affect behaviour and how, in turn, behaviour affects horse welfare. Beyond the immediate and direct research outcomes, E-BARQ also has great benefits to horse owners, riders and trainers.
On completion of the questionnaire, contributors receive a graph that compares their horse with 1000’s of other horses across various different categories. They also receive a private dashboard where they can log each of their horses and view their E-BARQ results. This innovative tool is completely free of charge.
Horse owners can upload photographs to a custom-built online dashboard, recording their horse’s progress in training over time. For the first time, they’ll also be able to compare their horse’s behaviour with that of other horses. The “share-&-compare” graphs will reveal attributes such as trainability, rideability, handling, compliance, boldness, and human social confidence.
E-BARQ’s main benefits are:
This project builds on a similar project for dogs (C-BARQ), which has collected information on over 85,000 dogs and been used in more than 70 research studies that have revealed behavioural differences, for example, that relate to head and body shape and the astonishing effect of desexing on behaviour. Without doubt, C-BARQ has revolutionised our understanding of dog behaviour.
After 8 years of planning, we are very excited about E-BARQ, It is a not-for-profit project that allows the global horse-folk community to offer their observational data to the University of Sydney and gain useful benefits in return.
You can access E-BARQ here: https://e-barq.com/
You can access an E-BARQ how-to video here: https://youtu.be/AFm_kctjP3s
The questionnaire and app will expose how training and management influences horse behaviour, and vice versa. They will reveal how breeds differ in responses and illuminate breed-typical personality types, how male and female horses differ, how horses used in different disciplines (such as show-jumping versus dressage) differ in their behaviour and how horse behaviour changes with maturation and training.
A horse’s behaviour has a direct impact on its usefulness and that, in turn, affects its value and – sadly – the care it receives. There is evidence from Europe that over 65% of horses outside the racing industry are slaughtered before the age of seven, very often for behavioural reasons.
Information provided by E-BARQ could potentially help buyers identify warning signs of dangerous behaviours and make more informed choices when purchasing. E-BARQ also holds great promise in tracking, welfare monitoring, promoting early intervention and the education of new owners in the area of horse rescue and re-homing.
By providing researchers with an unprecedented wealth of information, E-BARQ has the potential to revolutionise the way we train and manage our horses and, as a result, make real and lasting positive changes in horse welfare and the sustainability of horse sports.
The International Society for Equitation Science Conference, Rome 21st September, 2018
E-BARQ will investigate all aspects of horse behaviour, management and training.
E-BARQ will investigate horse behaviour relating to riding, handling, ground work and at liberty.
How you house, feed and work your horses will be examined.
By looking at training types and frequencies, E-BARQ can investigate relationships between training, management and behaviour.
After completing the survey, horse owners will be taken to a page that shows how their particular horse compares to others.
Owners can then re-take the E-BARQ at 6-monthly intervals to keep track of their progress - a great incentive for setting positive goals, regardless of your horse's age, breed or your area of interest.
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PhD candidate The Sydney School of Veterinary Science University of Sydney. Owner Kandoo Equine Online Training System.
Professor of Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare Science, University of Sydney, The Sydney School of Veterinary Science.
PhD (Equine Cognition and Learning), University of Melbourne. Director Equitation Science International.
Professor of Ethics and Animal Welfare, University of Pennsylvania, School of Veterinary Medicine.
The E-BARQ team are very grateful to the panel of knowledgeable equine specialists for their generous donation of time and expertise in the development of the questionnaire.
Many experts, from around the world, have been involved in the development of E-BARQ and we are extremely grateful for their assistance.
Lisa Ashton, Scott Brodie, Georgie Caspar, Jim Cook, Wayne Channon, Eli Gibson, Lydia Gu, Bianca Haase, Justine Harrison, Camie Heleski, Cathrynn Henshall, Felix Hu, Christine Johnson, Jen Johnson, Mary Klinck, Ada Ma, Sophie Masters, Paul McGreevy, Andrew McLean, Warwick McLean, Emily O’Connell, Adhish Panta, Marc Pierard, Hayley Randle, James Serpell, Irene Sheng, William Smith, Julie Taylor, Luke Thomas, Diane Van Rooy, Brandon Velie, Claire Wade, Amanda Warren-Smith, Cristina Wilkins, Cali Willet and Bethany Wilson.
2017 International Society for Equitation Science Conference, Wagga Wagga, Australia.