Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


School of Theatre and Dance: Theatre

First Advisor

Ann Haugo


Circus is an art form that was originally considered as a humanitarian art, promoting equine welfare by shedding a new light on the horse and human relationship. During a time where horses were used for war, work, and transportation; fancy riding and liberty stood as the framework for a new togetherness between man and beast. The animal activist revolution centered on exotic animals in circus, yet the effects of these demanding pressures caused a major blow to the equestrian circus. This comparative study examines possible improvements to the industry in order to keep this art alive. Keeping up with eclectic audiences, improving training tactics and living/working conditions for the performing horse, and engaging in open dialogues with audience members, it is possible to reverse the effects of the dying circus industry. The importance of this study lies in the future and welfare of the working horse. When comparing demands of work, career longevity, and post-career options for working horses, the circus horses’ welfare clearly exceeds that of sport horses. With a surplus of jobless and homeless horses combined with increasing numbers sent to slaughter, the equestrian circus serves as a favorable option for the working equine.


Imported from ProQuest Painter_ilstu_0092N_11291.pdf


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