A unique rurality: Exploring the role of the horse farm in the post-productivist rural landscape

Wilton, Bronwynne Leigh
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
University of Guelph

This thesis explores the role of the horse farm in the post-productivist rural landscape of Ontario, Canada. As agricultural landscapes in developed nations around the world evolve to an increasingly consumptive focus as opposed to a productivist landscape, there is an increased demand for recreational and lifestyle land uses in rural regions. Horse farms and equestrian activities are one of these consumptive land uses that also have connections to the agricultural community. A comprehensive literature review of multifunctional landscape, post-productivism, and current trends in the equine industry in Ontario is presented in this thesis. In addition to the literature review, a survey of 952 members of the Ontario Equestrian Federation was conducted on the general themes of landscape multifunctionality with three broad categories of production, ecological, and community functions as the principle areas of investigation. The survey elicited a 61% response rate. The results provide a description of the demographics of the sport and recreation sector of the equestrian industry in Ontario as being primarily female, active in their communities, concerned and interested in environmental stewardship, and strongly attached to their horses and their properties in rural Ontario. The survey results suggest a unique sector of the rural landscape has been overlooked in government policies and programs and provides recommendations for future research and suggested policy initiatives. Results of this survey also suggest that the trend towards a pluralistic and consumptive rural landscape is occurring in Ontario and that horse farms are an important part of this trend.

horse farm, post-productivist, rural landscape, Ontario