Horse Behaviour & Psychology

are horses sentient beings? do we need to ask consent to ride horses, alexa linton, should we domesticate horses?

In an effort to narrow down the conversation, as the topic of consent applies to countless aspects of our horse-human relationship, I decided to focus on consent around touch, because horses are one of our most-touched domesticated animals. This is a fascinating thing, given that in a feral or wild setting, horses might rarely ever touch each other, and would typically not do so without first either giving or receiving permission in the form of behavioural cues. In domestication, we touch horses to halter, groom, saddle, bridle, ride, train, bathe, treat, and often just to feed them. For most horses this happens numerous times every day and is often combined with a restraint of some kind, like a halter, meaning they are not able to move away from this touch.

should i rest my horse? Will clining training, how to keep a happy horse, do horses need downtime?

What does your horse do for a living? Does he need a change from your routine to keep him mentally fresh and physically rested, or does he need a challenge mentally and physically to make him safe to be around? In this article I will concentrate on horses that are working regularly and horses that are seldom working. Both of these scenarios can be detrimental to the horse’s mental and physical well-being.

equitation science, how to horses learn, learning theory horses, tania millen, international society for equine science ises

What is it and how can it help horses and riders? Riders train horses to act in ways they deem positive, whether it’s jumping a jump, walking down a trail, or performing movements in an arena. But to train horses effectively and safely, riders, trainers, and coaches must understand how they learn and react. Over the past 15 years, equine scientists have researched the learning theory of horses — how horses process, retain knowledge, and learn. Equitation science applies this evidence-based learning theory of horses to horse training, and explains horse behaviour based on horses being horses – without attributing human emotions, ways of thinking, or behaviour, to them. It’s a burgeoning field that is changing the way many riders and trainers think and act.

ISES research on bits, do horses like wearing bits, stress in horses, international society for equitation science conference

New research has found that introducing the bit to a young horse for the first time can be a stressful process for them. However, this stress could be difficult for most people to identify, as the horse may not show visible stress behaviours.

stalled horses impact health, are horses okay isolated, alice ruet equine science mark andrews, housing horses in individual boxes

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 to use a horse whip, whip usage equestrian sports, british show jumping, hartpury college conference, equine guelph on whips

Whip use in equestrian sports is currently a highly debated topic across the industry. Two presenters, Jane Williams and Kirstin Spencer, at the 15th Annual International Equitation Science Conference held at the University of Guelph, Ontario, shared insight on whip use and its perception in riding sports. Previous research has focused mainly on whip usage in the racing industry; however, it is necessary to evaluate all disciplines in order to effectively address whip usage concerns and any welfare issues.

heavy rider horse, does my weight affect horse riding, hartpury college, horse psychology, horse behaviour

Equine behavioural and physiological responses to rider weight increases - New research should help shed more light on how increased rider weight may affect a horse during exercise under saddle, looking at lower rider:horse weight ratios, which are more common for warmblood horses.

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