Why do people own horses? The experiences of highly involved dressage horse owners in the United Kingdom

Bornemann, Darcy J. (2020) Why do people own horses? The experiences of highly involved dressage horse owners in the United Kingdom. PhD thesis, University of Gloucestershire. doi:10.46289/GH93KF12

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10470 Bornemann (2020) Why Do People Own Horses - The Experiences of Dressage Horse Owners in the UK PhD Thesis.pdf - Accepted Version
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Horse ownership is simplistically defined through the possession of a horse; however, the logistics of keeping horses and using horses are evidenced as far more complex than the mere ownership of an object. Although it is understood horses and humans develop a relationship built on a mutual communication system, the horse is more the focus of the relationship than the human despite humans’ position of power as the possessor. The existing areas of research seek to describe the equestrian population, the physiology and biomechanics of the horse rider, and the culture of human-horse relationships. Missing from these, however, is the underlying motivation to own horses, because humans can access horses without ownership. This thesis uses an inductive qualitative approach to investigate the motivations for dressage horse ownership (because equestrians appear to self-segregate by competitive discipline). Twenty-one highly involved dressage horse owners ranging in age, experience, and professional affiliation with horses were interviewed. Two core themes emerged. The core theme ‘Getting Into Horses’ is composed of people’s discussions around becoming horse owners and has two motivation themes: ‘Always Wanted’ and ‘Securing the Horse’. Respectively, these comprise people’s attraction to horses and how they first became horse owners. The core theme of ‘Horse-Human Interaction’ is composed of people’s discussion regarding their interactions with the horses they own and contains two motivation themes: ‘Caregiving’ and ‘Using the Horse’. Respectively, these cover how caring for the horse is motiving and how riding and training is motivating for ownership. All the themes come together to form a novel theory of horse ownership motivation. The horse ownership theory is explained by utilising four other theories. Biophilia explains the initial attraction to horses. Self-determination theory explains how horse ownership is fulfilling of humans’ basic psychological needs of autonomy, competency, and relatedness. Attachment theory and achievement goal theory work in conjunction with self-determination theory to further explain why human-horse interactions are fulfilling of relatedness and competency needs. Horse ownership is motivated by the ability to control the decision-making regarding the horse, which becomes important as humans begin interacting with horses and experience satisfaction through their subsequent relationship with the horse. Furthermore, ownership protects the human-horse relationship because ownership provides the power to control decision-making.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Advisors:
Thesis AdvisorEmailURL
Donne, Keithkdonne@glos.ac.ukhttps://www.glos.ac.uk/staff/profile/keith-donne/
Marvell, Alanamarvell@glos.ac.ukhttps://www.glos.ac.uk/staff/profile/alan-marvell/
Uncontrolled Keywords: Dressage horse owners, UK; Motivation
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV191.2 Outdoor Life. Outdoor recreation.
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > Gloucestershire Business School
Depositing User: Susan Turner
Date Deposited: 16 Dec 2021 13:44
Last Modified: 10 Jun 2022 14:18
URI: https://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/10470

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