Horse owners past and present are being urged to take part in a survey gathering experiences of taking on a horse or pony for the first time.
Becoming a first-time horse or pony owner is a landmark occasion, and Redwings Horse Sanctuary are keen to learn why, when and how individuals make the switch from riding lessons or helping out with friends’ horses to shouldering the responsibility of their own.
Launched on World Mental health Day (10 October), the survey also considers the considerable impact horses can have on a person's physical and mental health.
Explaining the project, Andie McPherson, Redwings’ campaigns manager, said: “We have a lot to learn about the thought processes and preparations involved when someone takes on their first horse.
“We know that horses can have a hugely positive impact in people’s lives, but there’s a concern that not getting the right horse for you, or not having support as a new owner, could increase risks to the wellbeing of both horse and human.
“We’re keen to find out more so we can help support people at this exciting, but sometimes daunting, stage of their equestrian journey.”
The questionnaire, entitled ‘My First Horse’, will remain open until 18 November. Participants who complete the survey can also choose to enter a grand prize draw to win a bundle of equine goodies.