Opinion: Dismissing Research Can Be Harmful To Horses

Though it can seem like some studies that are done repeat a foregone conclusion, it’s important not to dismiss them as a known quantity. Some equine enthusiasts don’t hesitate to express their feelings that an institution is “wasting” funds researching a topic they feel no longer needs to be examined.

Often this blatant dismissal of research indicates that the person doesn’t truly understand how scientific research is done. In the long term, this mindset can end up hurting horses. Researchers design their studies so that any other group can conduct the same research and have the same results. This confirms the conclusions that were drawn.

It’s important to scientifically confirm what is “known,” as sometimes what is known is wrong—even when it’s common practice, reports EQUUS. Withholding water from hot horses was common until research was completed for the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, which showed that, though often done, not allowing horses to drink after exercise was harmful to them.

Even if research confirms observations made by horse owners, it’s still valuable–it increases the body of knowledge available. Studies collect data that can be used to better understand an issue and form the basis for more research—which can lead to better diagnosis and treatments, a win for both horses and their owners.

Read more at EQUUS magazine.

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