It’s Just Horseplay … Or Is It?

While watching horses gallop across a field and wrestle with one another can be fun to watch, it’s not always fun and games for all members of the herd that are turned out together. Drs. Fureix, Bourjade, Wessel-Robert and Richard-Yris from the Ethologie Animale et Humaine in France found that adult horses that are more playful are under […]

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Blink Twice If You’re Stressed: New Study Tracks Equine Eyelid Movement

Recent research published in the open-access journal Animals has found the number of times a horse blinks or twitches his eyelids may be indicative of his stress level. A study team out of the University of Guelph noted that eye blink rates have long been used as stress indictors in humans. They hypothesized that the same […]

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Group Therapy: Why Turnout Time Is Imperative For Equines

While turning a horse out with his friends in a pasture can make some owners anxious, it’s important for a horse’s physical and mental health. There are some management methods that can be used to ensure he is as safe as possible while turned out with a herd. Turnout is beneficial for horses because it […]

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Macho, Macho Man: Why Some Geldings Insist On Acting Like Stallions

Some geldings act as though they have forgotten they’ve been gelded, but sometimes their diligence to watching out for “their” herdmates—particularly mares–can distract them from training and possibly make them a danger to handle. While some dominant behavior is to be expected with male horses, a gelding assuming the role of a stallion in a […]

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Safely Feeding Horses In Herds: It Can Be Done

While spending as much time as possible turned out is beneficial for horses, feeding them in groups can sometimes lead to problems as the more-dominant horses get most of the grain or hay, even when resources are plentiful. In the wild, stallions eat first, then mares, and finally young horses; in domesticated situations, dominance is […]

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Stable Relationships Key To Happy Horse Herds

Horses are social animals that do best in environments that offer them opportunities to interact with other horses. However, it’s important that the group of horses that are turned out together have minimal aggression to allow them to bond with one another. University of Iceland researchers Hrefna Sigurjónsdóttir and Hans Haraldsson studied 426 Icelandic horses […]

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Can Herd Hierarchy Affect Racehorse Performance?

Where a horse falls in the herd hierarchy can greatly affect his stress management and performance, says Kerry Thomas of THT Bloodstock. Herd hierarchy is based on emotional intelligence. About 85 percent of horses fall into the middle range of herd dynamics. The horses with the most power in a herd tend to be quieter. […]

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Study Shows That Mongolia May Be A Hotbed For EIV Outbreaks

Scientists have discovered that Mongolia may be a hotbed for novel strains of the equine influenza virus (EIV). There are 3.3 million horses in Mongolia that are critical to the livelihood of Mongolian herders; horses provide transportation and food, and play a huge role in the culture of the Mongolian people. With more horses than […]

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Herd Mentality: Do Horses Really Seek A Leader?

It has long been thought that horses need a leader. This is the basis for many training methods, a common theme in equestrian culture and often depicted in movies, books and mainstream media, where a stallion rules over his herd, leading them to water and forage and keeping them from danger. Researchers in France sought […]

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