Dr Kristien Verheyen is a leading researcher in the field of equine epidemiology. Horses4Homes is fortunate enough to have Kristien as a Trustee and she has also agreed to undertake some very exciting research on the data Horses4Homes has collected over the past 15 months on the horses it has had listed with the charity. Kristien and one of her undergraduate veterinary students, Katie Hall are carrying out epidemiological analysis on the data recorded by Horses4Homes to evaluate which of the “problem” horses listed with the charity over the past year have been successfully rehomed and those which have not. They will be looking at the health, behaviour and temperaments of the horses as well as their locations to determine which factors have played a significant impact in their ability to be successfuly and responsibly rehomed.
This data will provide, for the first time, statistical evidence on the likely success of rehoming. It is hoped that the analysis will help horse owners to make informed decisions on when to rehome and when to euthanase based on evidence and not opinion. In addition to looking at the success Horses4Homes has had in rehoming “problem” or “tricky” horses Dr Kristien Verheyen and her assistant are looking at the demand for horses. The charity receives in excess of 100 applications for horses each month and offers a free “wanted advert” page which has over 300 adverts posted. Analysis of the types of horses people are most looking for in terms of the location in the country, the size, sex and breed of horse as well as the activities the owner wishes to pursue will be cross referenced against the availability of horses. There appears to be for example, a high demand for weight carrying horses, horses that novice owners can ride, horses that are safe in traffic, horses that can go barefoot and live out throughout the year and a demand for horses that can hack out alone. Supply and demand is simple economics but there is little evidence out there, if any, in the equestrian field. We look forward to receiving the full report on this research which should be available early next year.