Rapid development of the Chinese equine industry in the last two decades has resulted in an increased equine population without trained personnel to support industry growth. The purpose of this study was to understand the present profile of horse use in horse clubs in China from the perspective of horse welfare. The survey was distributed to specific personnel in selected Chinese horse clubs, and snowball sampling techniques were used to increase response rates. Of 20 respondents, the oldest club was established in 2002 and the newest in 2018. Fourteen clubs were membership-based, providing services for 40-1000 members and up to 10,000 visitors annually. A total of 1703 horses were reported. Most horses were under 15 yr of age (84.6%). Warmbloods made up the greatest number of imported breeds (30.8%), followed by Thoroughbreds (17.9%). Mongolian horses were the most common indigenous breed (29.4%). Major health problems included hoof-related issues (31.6%) and injuries (31.6%). Four clubs (20%) reported no turnout space, and only 5 clubs (25%) had access to turnout areas with grass. Hay constituted the majority of feed for horses. Most horses were used for recreation (20.45%), breeding (17.46%), or dressage (15.25%). Veterinary (23.8%), farrier (19.1%), and nutritionist (17.5%) skills were most needed. Although 38.8% of employees reportedly held a certificate or degree associated with equine science, foreign specialists were often employed to support club activities, including teaching general riding (42.9%) and dressage (21.4%). Horses were used between 4-7 d/wk, and about one-third of clubs (36.7%) reported having a single person in charge to prevent overuse of horses. Data from this study can serve as a platform for future surveys and begin development of education and training programs to improve horse management in China.



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