Recent News for Behavior & Handling

Article

"Conflict Behavior" Evaluation Varies Among Horse Professionals

September 06, 2010

There's a new term that describes the actions of our horses in response to our unclear cues or handling: "conflict behavior." Horses showing conflict behavior might buck, rear, toss their heads, gape their mouths, or try to escape their handlers, to ... Read More

Article

Genetic Response to Training Found

September 05, 2010

Researchers measured the way muscle genes are switched on and off when a Thoroughbred exercises and found that these genes work together to adapt to exercise training. "As any trainer knows, different muscles respond and adapt t... Read More

Article

Learning to Load

September 01, 2010

At what age is it safe to start introducing a young horse to loading on a trailer? ... Read More

Article

Farm Safety Tips

September 01, 2010

How do you create the safest possible environment for your horses? ... Read More

Article

Multi-Species Grazing: Horses and Cows and Goats, Oh My!

September 01, 2010

A handful of horses graze in a pasture one week; a herd of goats mow down its bushes and weeds the next. This multi-species rotational grazing system has its advantages, but whether they outweigh the disadvantages will depend on your situation... Read More

Article

Foal 'Stealing'

September 01, 2010

Our pregnant mare thinks another mare's colt is hers. Is it common for pregnant mares to adopt others' foals?... Read More

Article

Training: Food Rewards Are More Effective Than Physical Contact

August 30, 2010

Everybody loves a good back scratch, including your horse, right? Scratching of the withers has been scientifically proven to reduce a horse's heart rate, but a good scratch might not be enough to communicate to your horse that you're h... Read More

Article

Seeking Solutions to Separation Anxiety

August 26, 2010

When teaching young horses to accept separation from their pasturemates, it might seem like a good idea to train them in pairs first for a while before training them alone. However, new equitation science research suggests that pairing them up might ... Read More

Article

Bilateral Training Improves Performance, Welfare, Researchers Say

August 17, 2010

Congratulations, your horse has learned a new trick! Now, start all over again--this time on the other side. That's right; it turns out if you want your horse to learn a trick or skill correctly, you're probably going to have... Read More

Article

Study: Rein Tension Varies Between Riders, Affects Horses' Gaits

August 13, 2010

You know what it means to apply light contact with the bit, but have you ever wondered if your interpretation is the same as other riders’? And how strong is "strong contact," exactly? What kinds of effects do these different ha... Read More

Article

Spatial Reasoning and Laterality Affect Riding Horses' Behavior

August 12, 2010

"Can't go over it, can't go under it, have to go around it." No, your horse isn't on a bear hunt; he's on a bucket hunt, trying to reach his food around an experimental barrier. Italian equitation science researchers s... Read More

Article

Defensive Horsemanship Keeps Owners Safe when Working with Horses

August 09, 2010

A person who practices defensive horsemanship is less likely to be hurt while handling a horse, Robert M. Miller, DVM, of Thousand Oaks, Calif., said at the recent American Veterinary Medical Association meeting July 31-Aug. 3 in Atlanta, Ga.... Read More

Article

Equitation Science Symposium Emphasizes Horse Welfare and Human Safety

August 03, 2010

Rein tension, saddle and seat pressure, training rewards and reinforcement, and the evaluation of stress and emotions in riding horses were some of the main topics at this year's International Equitation Science Symposium held July 31&ndash... Read More

Article

Sedative, Analgesic, and Anesthetic Usage in Horses

July 27, 2010

How much do veterinarians use sedatives, analgesics (painkillers), and general anesthetics in horses? Veterinarians at The Ohio State University surveyed members of the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) to find out.... Read More

Article

The Equestrian Athlete (Excerpt from Riding For Life)

July 19, 2010

If you're a seasoned equestrian, you know how physically demanding and mentally challenging riding can be. Even if you're a newcomer to the sport, it probably didn't take you long to realize riding is much more than just sitting on a horse.... Read More

Article

Ways to Wean Young Horses

July 01, 2010

Parting is such sweet sorrow. Weaning a foal can be painful or painless, depending on how you do it.... Read More

Article

Studies Track Horses' Movement Patterns

June 15, 2010

Where the wild horses roam free, daily hoof tracks can be followed for miles. Now thanks to new, lightweight GPS technology, Australian researchers are no longer following tracks but recording satellite signals from various wild horse herds as well ... Read More

Article

Study Explores How Horses View the World

June 14, 2010

On the trail, in the dressage arena, at the racetrack, on the cross-country train--wherever horses may be, we've all seen it: the "Spook"--that sudden, bolting reaction of shock so particular to our equine friends. It might be bec... Read More

Article

Pasturing Stallions Together Can Work, Says Study

June 08, 2010

Behavior Quiz: If you put five breeding stallions together in an open pasture, what do you get? A) the Kentucky Derby, minus the jockeys, B) a new pro basketball team, or C) dramatic chaos?

Believe it or not, according to a new study... Read More

Article

Rescued Horses: Looking For A Universal Companion

June 01, 2010

Sue McDonnel, PhD, tells us how to choose rehabilitation companions for rescued horses.... Read More

Article

Mares Choose Genetic Diversity in a Mate

May 27, 2010

When it comes to forming couples, do opposites really attract? Or does it boil down to chemistry? New research in Switzerland suggests that, at least for horses, both of these phenomena play into the process of selecting mates. The reactions of... Read More

Article

Does Hand-Feeding Treats Promote Biting?

May 01, 2010

I am a novice horse handler/rider. I've been told that hand-feeding treats to horses promotes biting. What is ... Read More

Article

Isolated Yearlings Learn Better, Says French Study

April 26, 2010

When a yearling is separated for a few days from other horses for practical reasons, it's a great opportunity to get in some good quality training with that youngster, according to a new study by French equine behavior researchers.

... Read More

Article

Basic Horse Temperament and Behavior (Book Excerpt)

April 06, 2010

Those who have worked with different breeds of horses almost always have their opinion as to basic temperament and behavioral characteristics of certain breeds. Few would not agree that in general the warmblooded breeds, such as Thoroughbreds a... Read More

Article

Horses with Pica Lack Trace Elements, Researchers Report

April 05, 2010

A recent study found that horses with pica--a propensity for consuming non-food items--have lower iron and copper blood levels than horses who restricted themselves to food items, only. According to researchers from Turkey, "prophylactic u... Read More