The bond between horses and humans, and horse behavior, has intrigued both scientists and equine enthusiasts alike for centuries. The knowledge base that currently reigns is a mix of practical information and myth.
Researchers at the University of Sydney have launched a questionnaire to create a global database of equine behavior; both veterinarians and horse owners can enter information on a horse's mental, physical and social development. This information will create an evidence base on what is considered normal and abnormal equine behavior, as well as what defines effective and humane training.
Called the Equine Behavior Assessment and Research Questionnaire (E-BARQ), all answers are anonymous and responses are being collected worldwide. Equine owners can upload images and video into an app, and record the horse's progress in training and competition. App users will also be able to compare their horse's behavior with other horses on things such as handling, boldness, rideability, compliance, trainability and human social confidence.
The app will show how training and management influence equine behavior and how breeds differ in their personalities. Additionally, differences in mares, geldings and stallions will be able to be quantified, as well as how equine behavior changes with time and training.
Researchers Dr. Michelle Lenore Hyde, Paul McGreevy, Kate Fenner and Bethany Wilson expect that this information will be able to disclose the impact of traditions and trends. The research team believes that the information garnered from the questionnaire will revolutionize the way horses are trained and managed, making positive changes for equine welfare and the sustainability of equestrian sport.
Read more at Phys.org
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