Horses are commonly housed in individual boxes. While this may be convenient and prevent injuries from other horses, it may also be detrimental to the horse’s welfare, especially if access to pasture is limited. A paper by Alice Ruet and colleagues investigated the effect of various management practices on the display of behavioural indicators of compromised welfare in housed horses.
How can you tell when a horse is feeling stressed? It’s all in the eyes and the way their eyelids twitch, University of Guelph researchers have discovered. A horse will blink less and twitch its eyelids more when it’s under mild stress, the research team found – a new finding that could offer handlers a simple, easy-to-spot sign their animal is becoming agitated.
When it comes to cantering, riders seem to divide in two camps. In one camp are those who favour it above all else, while the other camp includes those who find it scary or unpleasant. I would like to add a third camp: riders who understand the unparalleled physiological benefits of cantering their horses. Beyond the obvious cardiovascular conditioning, cantering can improve muscle tone, symmetry, and flexibility more than other gaits. Let me explain this further, in addition to offering some tips and guidelines.
A French study has confirmed that mixed grazing with cattle helps control strongyle worms in horses. Grazing horses with cattle is often suggested as a useful pasture management tool to help control strongyle parasites. However, there has been little research to assess the benefit.
Male horses are usually castrated to moderate unwanted male behaviour and limit unintended reproduction. Vasectomy, interrupting the vas deferens to prevent sperm being released, is an option to prevent breeding while still maintaining male behavioural characteristics. It is performed less frequently in horses than in other species.