Appropriate strategies aimed at improving the welfare of working horses should contemplate the assessment of welfare status, as well as the evaluation of the human–animal relationship within each geo-cultural context. We assessed and compared the welfare status of working horses in two administrative regions of Chile and explored the nature of the owner–horse relationship from the perspective of the owner. The overall prevalence of health problems and negative behavior responses was low. However, significant differences between regions exist in the presence of lesions and the person responsible for managing horseshoeing. Two differing views were found regarding the owners’ perception of their horse: predominantly affective or instrumental. Despite the instrumental perception predominantly residing in one region, the affective perception was widely shared by owners in each region. The findings suggest that Chilean working horses have a, generally, good welfare and that the development of an affective owner–horse relationship is possible. Additionally, the results suggest that affective and instrumental perceptions of these animals can coexist.
|Cite this work||
Researchers should cite this work as follows: