A professor of Animal Sciences at Colorado State University, Dr. Temple Grandin is a world famous expert in animal behaviour and livestock handling. While renowned for her innovations in the design of handling facilities and improving animal welfare in the livestock industry, Dr. Grandin is perhaps best known for overcoming her personal struggles with autism. She continues to teach and pursue her research while lecturing around the world on autism and livestock handling.
By Lindsay Grice - Cribbing is a stereotypy, similar to obsessive compulsive behaviour in humans. A stereotypy is a repetitive behaviour that serves no practical purpose but makes your horse feel better by releasing brain chemicals. Research shows that, while initially begun in response to stress (physiological or environmental), cribbing often continues as an everyday habit, even without the stressful trigger.
Tension in horses can lead to all kinds of problems and hinder their ability to learn. Some horses are so tense and stiff that they are incapable of certain maneuvers. This can lead to frustration and anxiety, which in turn leads to increased tension.
It is important to understand the intentions behind a response especially when the response is explosive. A fear based reaction calls for a different training approach than that used for a confused response, and different again if the same action results from frustration. These three different outcomes make for three different identifiable intentions for the same stress factor. The intentions are important to understand.
Mother Nature built in the response of shying as a defense mechanism. However, humans see it as a vice. Imagine you are walking through a graveyard after midnight. You're only nine years old and you are holding your father's hand. Suddenly, something rustles in the bushes.
By Kentucky Equine Research - Pica is the desire to eat unusual substances that possess little or no nutritional value, such as dirt, wood, hair, and feces. This phenomenon has been observed in horses of all ages, breeds, and sexes.
By Lindsay Grice - I’ve had several horses in my program that, despite their talent, were extremely frustrating in their early competitive years. After investing many years of consistent training they eventually desensitized to the situations that would formerly set them off. Now, as mature horses, they are successful, versatile competitors.