Preliminary evidence supporting the use of equine science podcasts to bridge the gap between scientists and horse enthusiasts to improve horse welfare

student projects
animal behaviour and welfare
veterinary human behaviour change

Kate Acton

Nancy McLean

Jill R D MacKay


December 7, 2023

Podcasts have become a popular digital forum for discussing scientific information with peers, as well as with the non-scientific communityu, often referred to ‘edutainment’. It is unclear how science-based podcasts can support the veterinary industry through, for example, supporting good husbandry practices. Objectives: To understand the influence of ‘edutatinment’ on equine owners’ husbandry decisions. Study Design: The sample population were listeners of the Conversations in Equine Science (CES) podcast recruited to complete an online suvery via a link promoted by the CES hosts. The survey contained Likert-like questions assessing how listeners rated the importance of different forms of evidence when making husbandry decisions and questions relating to husbandry decisions made. Methods: A mixed methods approach was used to analyse the data. The Likert package for R was used to explore importance ratings. Free text questions were analysed via a content analysis with a constructionist epistemological position. Results The experience of veterinarians and scientific evidence were considered the most important forms of evidence that owners used when making decisions about their horse’s management (93% agreed and 91% agreed they were important respectively). Additionally, 74% of respondents had made a change to the management or training prin- ciples prompted by an episode of CES, suggesting edutainment can be a prompt to man- agement change. Of these, the majority (55%) had done so based on a joint discussion of the podcast and their own reading of the evidence. Main limitations: This was an opportunistic sample of those already invested in the edutainment format and may not represent those owners with no interest in scientific evidence. Conclusions: Podcasts are an easy-access, low-cost medium to convey research and cur- rent trends in the equine/equitation science genre. They may be a valuable tool for the veterinary industry to employ to support horse welfare.