Date of Award:

5-2020

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Applied Sciences, Technology, and Education

Committee

Tyson J. Sorensen

Committee

Joshua Dallin

Committee

Rebecca G. Lawver

Abstract

There is an inherent risk associated with working with youth and large equine. The Utah 4-H Equine program is a volunteer-based program that seeks to properly educate youth on equine husbandry, this includes the topic of safe equine handling practices. The purpose of this study was to explore the perceptions and behavioral intentions of Utah 4-H Equine Program leaders about teaching equine safety, including attitudes, perceived behavioral controls and subjective norms. The survey instrument consisted of multiple choice, fill in the blank, and six-point Likert scale questions regarding personal demographics, experience teaching equine safety, attitudes towards safety, perceived behavioral controls, and overcoming challenges associated with teaching equine safety.

The majority of respondents were females over the age of 40 with an average of 9.3 years of experience as a 4-H leader. All respondents also reported having some type of personal equine experience outside of being a Utah 4-H Equine Program leader. Respondents were asked to indicate what types of resources they typically use when teaching equine safety with the top two answers being “4-H curriculum” and “personal knowledge.”

Overall, respondents indicated having positive attitudes towards teaching equine safety, a high influence of subjective norms on teaching equine safety, and a positive ability to overcome challenges (perceived behavioral controls) associated with teaching equine safety. According to the theory of planned behavior, the positive attitude, high influence of subjective norms and positive perceptions of perceived behavioral controls indicates that Utah 4-H Equine Program leaders have positive intentions regarding teaching equine safety to youth. The implications of these findings and recommendations for future research and program development are also discussed.

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