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Evaluating Perceptions of UGA Extension Horse Resource Credibility and Accessibility Using Diffusion of Innovation Theory

Applied Research

Robyn Stewart
County Extension Coordinator
University of Georgia


With over 7.2 million horses in the U.S., the equine industry is a thriving sector of agriculture (AHP, 2018). Horse owners rely on veterinarians and the internet for equine information, not Extension resources (Hartmann et al., 2017; Martinson et al., 2006; Spahn, 2005). The purpose of this study was to use diffusion of innovation theory as a basis for understanding the dissemination of UGA Extension innovation to horse owners (Rogers, 2003). Objectives were to describe the demographics of individuals using UGA Extension horse resources and to describe public perceptions of these resources. This preliminary study used a voluntary, anonymous online survey (Qualtrics, LLC, Provo, UT) consisting of 20 questions distributed to 1,300 individuals through email and social media during a 14-day period. A total of 221 responses were collected, of which 104 met the inclusion criteria. The majority of respondents were from Georgia (70.2%), horse owners or leasers (79.8%), and had 1-2 horses (37.5%) and reported current use of UGA Extension horse resources (70.2%). SPSS data analysis focused on determining differences in credibility and accessibility between respondents who currently use UGA Extension horse resources and those who do not. Statistical significance was set at P<0.05. Independent sample t-tests revealed differences in perceived credibility and accessibility between users and non-users of UGA Extension horse resources. Respondents who currently use these resources perceive them as more credible (p=0.001) and accessible (p<0.001) than non-users. Further analysis across demographic categories showed variations in perceptions of credibility (p=0.008) and accessibility (p=0.005), which may reflect varying needs of equine industry stakeholders. The results of this study highlight that long-term engagement and targeted education are critical to building positive perception of UGA Extension horse resources. A future qualitative study should evaluate barriers to the use of UGA Extension horse resources by horse owners and industry stakeholders.

Poster has NOT been presented at any previous NACAA AM/PIC

This poster is being submitted only for display at AM/PIC. Poster is not to be judged, but the abstract will be published in the proceedings.

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Authors: Robyn Stewart, Brooklyne Wassel, Ashley Best
  1. Stewart, R. County Extension Coordinator, University of Georgia, Georgia, 30817
  2. Wassel, B. County Extension Coordinator, University of Georgia, Georgia, 30295
  3. Best, A. County Extension Coordinator, University of Georgia, Georgia, 30014