Australian Research Helps Horse Owners: New Projects Down Under

The Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) of Australia recently reported two projects that will be funded through 2001. One will evaluate the economics of the horse industry, and the other will look at safety.

Raymond Kripps, PhD, of the Research Centre for Injury Studies at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, is investigating a "Pilot Project to Examine Injuries to Horse Riders and Handlers."

"My project is primarily a feasibility study to develop a national surveillance system in Australia to monitor and look at trends in fall-related injuries during eventing," said Kripps. This study is a collaborative effort between the Equine Federation of Australia (EFA) and Flinders University Research Centre for Injury Studies, and will take about a year. First, the research will focus on South Australia and New South Wales one- and three-day events. If successful, Kripps plans to broaden the study's scope to a national system.

"We hope that this project will be the first that will look at injury events with a view to developing effective countermeasures to reduce injuries and to promote safety," Kripps added.

The other project--The Economic Contribution of the Horse Industry; A Scoping Study--aims to develop a framework for estimating the contribution of the horse industry to the Australian economy. The principal investigator, Jenny Gordon, PhD, Senior Research Economist for the Centre For International Economics in Canberra, Australia, plans to make recommendations regarding a model for the industry's economic contribution once initial surveys are complete.

"We have undertaken a survey of riding schools as part of the exercise and found that it is not only very hard to get a response, but that answers show an amazingly wide range of practice," said Gordon. "One value of knowing the gross value of the industry is to base a levy for funding research and development and industry development, another example is the impact of government on the industry."

Gordon invites horse owners in Australia to provide written submissions on what concerns they have at an industry level. Contact her at

About the Author

Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief

Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief, received a B.A. in Journalism and Equestrian Studies from Averett College in Danville, Virginia. A Pony Club and 4-H graduate, her background is in eventing, and she is schooling her recently retired Thoroughbred racehorse, Happy, toward a career in that discipline. She also enjoys traveling, photography, cycling, and cooking in her free time.

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