Horse Behaviour & Psychology

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From The Horse's Perspective - Until recently, no major studies had been conducted about the effect of travel on horses. The best advice most folks could hope for was to glean some pearls of wisdom from the ocean of opinions and tales of other road warriors. As a result, I actually found the results of the recent study by the University of California, Davis Campus, noteworthy in that their observations essentially did not differ from what responsible commercial horse transporters have known for years. In other words, they put down in writing what we already practice. The best part about their study is that it confirmed what we already know and made it knowledge public.

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Horses can tell the difference between dominant and submissive body postures in humans, even with people they don’t know, according to a new study. The research, from the University of Sussex, is published in Animal Cognition. The authors report that the findings enhance our understanding of how animals can communicate using body posture across the species barrier, and are specifically helpful for informing horse handlers and trainers about the ways horses perceive human body language.

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Therapeutic horse riding may be used in the management of various anxiety disorders. But little is known about how these programs affect the stress levels in horses. A University of Missouri study has revealed that horses ridden by veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) did not have undue physiological stress responses, nor did they exhibit behavioural stress while participating in a veterans’ therapy program.

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Where Should You Start? By Jec A. Ballou. When spring finally arrives, the sunny riding season ahead can greet riders with both excitement and anxiety. Where do I start, you might wonder as you calculate how unfit your horse has become from a winter of being off work. How long will it take to ease him back to fitness? What sorts of exercises and timelines should I use? In this article, I’ll answer these questions plus offer a simple schedule in addition to some rules you never want to break.

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If a dog is man’s best friend, then the horse is his most loyal servant. – Joseph V. DiBianca, Loudly They Speak: The Memoirs of a Horse Listener - What is it that makes the vast majority of horse people love dogs? Dogs indeed possess some of the same admirable traits as horses and complement the lifestyle of a horse person very well.

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A Guide to Getting Jack Into the Box - The most common transport-related injuries to horses are from failure to adequately and properly train the horse to load and haul. It’s solely a matter of investing the time and having the willingness to teach the horse in the way he can best learn and accept the concept. Think about the second half of that statement for a moment; as with any form of teaching, if method A isn’t working, there are 25 more letters in the alphabet!

Recently, I helped a friend whose mare was having problems with the transition to canter. Moving from trot to canter was scary at best – the mare might cut sharply into a turn, panic and rush, or throw in a strong buck. The mare seemed to be saying let’s just stick with the trot!

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