Horse care

We explore ways to develop and improve sustainable horse care in Switzerland, looking at issues of breeding, genetics, economic viability, feeding, health prophylaxis, assessment of riding arenas and pasture management.

Our current research projects focus on feeding technology, diet and hay quality, assessment of riding arenas and digital methods to optimise stable management. We believe in holistic approaches to the sustainable management of horses on agricultural land.

Services

Our services cover applied and interdisciplinary issues in the horse sector.

  • Devising innovative horse care solutions
  • Stable inspections for Pferdegestützte Therapie Schweiz (PT-CH)
  • Issues relating to the feeding of equids
  • Tests on bedding materials, including tests of absorption properties and dust and ammonia emissions
  • Tests of riding arena surfaces (light weight deflectometer, moisture sensor, ring trial, granulation curves)
  • Effectiveness tests on insect repellents (midge suction trap)
  • Cost accounting and business planning
  • Other services upon request

Expertise

  • Care and feeding of horses
  • Assessment of stables and riding facilities, including management recommendations
  • Fodder production, fodder preservation and pasture management
  • Health prophylaxis for equids
  • Hygiene and protection of the environment in horse care
  • Vector protection measures
  • Economic and sociological aspects of horse-breeding, equestrian sports and horse care
  • (Agri-)tourism

Projects

Bedding tests for horse-care facilities

High-quality bedding makes an important contribution to the health and wellbeing of horses, especially where the animals are kept in boxes and are therefore confined to a restricted area. The horses’ lying behaviour is another important factor in their physical and mental health. We showed how different bedding materials affect the quality of the stable climate in different ways – in particular with regard to the concentration of ammonia. There are many different bedding qualities on the market for horse owners to choose from. The findings of several research projects enable us to make an objective assessment of bedding properties that affect purchasers’ decisions, including absorption, dust production, ammonia release, feeding behaviour, dung quantity, costs and labour requirements.
Project management: Conny Herholz

Effectiveness of insect repellents and vector protection measures for horses

A new EU regulation stipulates that in future all insect repellents must in future be tested for their efficacy on animals. Together with the Federal Office of Public Health, the University of Zurich and the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, we are testing repellents that target horse flies, midges and other insects. By analysing videos and using midge suction trips, we investigate the efficacy of each product and check the stated duration of action. As well as insect repellents, fans or nets can also protect horses from insects. We investigated the effectiveness of these devices in an earlier project.
Project management: Conny Herholz

Team