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Abstract

This review considers some contemporary training and restraining techniques that may lead to confusion or abuse in ridden and nonridden horses. As competitive equestrian sports boom, the welfare of the horse is under increasing scrutiny. The current focus on hyperflexion of the neck in dressage warm-up has exposed the problems with relying on subjective opinions when attempting to safeguard horse welfare. The discussion also highlights an opportunity for equestrian federations to evaluate practices within the various horse sports. Our review considers numerous examples of unorthodox practices that modify locomotion and posture. It offers a scientific framework for consideration of many contentious techniques in horse sports and emphasizes the role of Equitation Science in generating evidence-based enlightenment.

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... However, these advances have been slow to gain traction in equestrian communities that often value traditions and esoteric knowledge over science [2]. A lack of understanding of the equine learning process can lead to training or management practices that confuse horses [3] and can result in training deficits or the emergence of undesired behaviours [4]. There is substantial evidence to highlight the importance of clear and consistent training cues for the mental wellbeing of captive and domestic animals [5,6]. ...
... Undesirable behaviour in horses may emerge as a response to aversive experiences, such as pain, fear, or confusion [8]. Such behaviours can also compromise the welfare of horses when trainers rely on punishment based methods, suboptimal negative reinforcement or use of aversive equipment [3,7]. Such methods and equipment have the potential to compromise horse welfare [3] and could also cause an escalation of potentially dangerous behaviour if the horse's fight-or-flight response is triggered [14]. ...
... Such behaviours can also compromise the welfare of horses when trainers rely on punishment based methods, suboptimal negative reinforcement or use of aversive equipment [3,7]. Such methods and equipment have the potential to compromise horse welfare [3] and could also cause an escalation of potentially dangerous behaviour if the horse's fight-or-flight response is triggered [14]. Undesirable behaviour can also diminish the perceived value of the horse, causing the horse to be sold, auctioned, or euthanased [15]. ...
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It is logical to assume that horses with multiple riders encounter variation in application of training cues. When training cues are inconsistent, we expect to see a decrease in trained responses or an increase in conflict behaviours. This study investigated the relationship between the number of people that regularly ride or handle a horse and the horse’s response to operant cues. Data on 1819 equids were obtained from the Equine Behavior Assessment and Research Questionnaire (E-BARQ), an online global survey of horse owners and caregivers. Three mutually independent indices (acceleration, deceleration, and responsiveness) were derived from a parallel analysis of E-BARQ items related to acceleration and deceleration cues. These indices were then subjected to multivariable modelling against a range of dependent variables including horse and human demographics, horse management, and the number of riders or handlers. The number of riders or handlers was a significant predictor for two out of three indices. As the number of riders or handlers increased, horses were more difficult to accelerate (regression coefficient = 0.0148; 0.0071; p = 0.0366) and less difficult to decelerate (regression coefficient = 􀀀0.017; 0.008; p = 0.030) than those with fewer riders or handlers. These findings suggest that horses’ responses to rein tension cues are more persistent than their responses to leg pressure or whip cues. Alternatively, horses with these responses may be actively selected for multiple rider roles. Longitudinal studies of this sort should reveal how the number of riders or handlers affects horse behaviour and could lead to safer and more humane equestrian practices.
... Rein tension is defined as the force exerted along the reins via a mouthpiece or "bit" in the horse's mouth, as an aid to control direction, speed, and head position of the horse and is typically measured in newton (N) (Clayton et al., 2003). The bit and the (rein) tension applied on it are fundamental in horse-rider communication and control during ridden and in-hand training (McGreevy and McLean, 2007;McLean and McGreevy, 2010;Hawson et al., 2014). Behavioral responses of horses have evolved to avoid pain, discomfort and predation and it is common practice for animal trainers to make use of such innate responses and to provide rewards for desired behaviors. ...
... The application of "excessive" rein tension during equestrianism is central to debates on rein tension and equine welfare among equine professionals (McLean and McGreevy, 2010;ISES, 2017). Inadequate timing of rein signals or unintentional pulls on the reins have been identified to cause poor welfare and a negative stress response in the horse and can result in the exhibition of undesirable or conflict/stress behaviors (McLean and McLean 2002;Heleski et al., 2009;Manfredi et al., 2010;McLean and McGreevy, 2010), which may then result in rider injuries (Newton and Neilson, 2005). ...
... The application of "excessive" rein tension during equestrianism is central to debates on rein tension and equine welfare among equine professionals (McLean and McGreevy, 2010;ISES, 2017). Inadequate timing of rein signals or unintentional pulls on the reins have been identified to cause poor welfare and a negative stress response in the horse and can result in the exhibition of undesirable or conflict/stress behaviors (McLean and McLean 2002;Heleski et al., 2009;Manfredi et al., 2010;McLean and McGreevy, 2010), which may then result in rider injuries (Newton and Neilson, 2005). In addition to this, standard equipment worn by horses, such as bits and nosebands, are designed to reduce the extent that horses can physically exhibit undesirable behaviors, which may be associated with uncomfortable or excessive bit pressure (McGreevy et al., 2005;Randle and McGreevy, 2013). ...
Article
The use of pressure via a bit in the horse's mouth is part of training methods throughout equine disciplines. Rein tension refers to the force exerted on the reins between the horse and human during ridden and in-hand training. Understanding the effects of these forces has the potential to inform both rider performance and equine welfare research. The methodological protocols of current rein tension research appear inconsistent, and to date, a review on rein tension has not been published. This study uses a systematic literature review to evaluate the tools and methods used to measure rein tension within current literature to establish whether their findings were reliable. The review also suggests improvements to study protocols, where appropriate, to enable the standardized measurement of rein tension. A search protocol was developed and inclusion criteria defined with the aid of independent subject specialists, including 2 published equestrian authors, an equine industry professional and a librarian. Inclusion criteria determined that only full peer-reviewed articles available via Google Scholar and published in the previous 15 years were included in the review. Articles also had to include the following key words: rein tension AND “horse/s” OR “rider/s” OR “equine/s” OR “equestrian.” The literature search returned 154 initial results, and the inclusion criteria rejected 137 results. Seventeen primary research articles (after 2002) from peer-reviewed journals were subsequently reviewed. The articles reviewed found rein tension to be influenced by the horse, the rider, and the training equipment used. Rein tension studies have multivariable foci and methodological limitations and frequently report their methods and results inconsistently. Future rein tension research should aim to improve the consistency of reporting horse-related, rider-related, and performance-related factors that may affect rein tension, as well as reporting data handling and analysis approaches to increase comparability between studies.
... The misunderstanding of equine needs and behaviours has been linked to welfare concerns [1,2]. Misunderstanding can lead to forceful or stressful training methods [3,4], and the provision of inadequate management and care regimes [5,6]. For example, Collins and colleagues find that social norms constitute one of the leading causes for compromised horse welfare in Ireland [7]. ...
... When this genre was employed, riders' concerns with bravery were often met through forceful riding-digging in the heels, pulling on the reins, using a whip or spurs for punishment and to assert the rider's authority. When these tools are used for punishment or force, rather than as part of incremental training regimes in line with learning systems, training is likely to be more painful and stressful for the horse, more dangerous for the rider, and less successful [3,62]. ...
... However, the opposite pattern was also notable, that riders' desire to overcome their own nerves would seemingly obscure their capacity to recognise a situation that really was unsafe or too much for horse and rider to handle. Researchers have commented on the importance of gradual, incremental training for welfare, safety, and success [3,4,62]. However, some of those struggling with managing their own nerves would rush into stressful situations in a bid counter their own nervousness with 'grit' rather than with systematic training and thorough preparation. ...
Article
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This article describes the virtue of bravery in British equestrian culture and suggests that riders’ tactics for bolstering bravery may have negative implications on equine welfare. These observations are based on 14 months of ethnographic research among amateur riders and the professionals who support them (n = 35), utilising participant observation and Dictaphone recordings. Riders suffering from ‘confidence issues’ could be belittled and excluded. Instructors’ approaches towards bolstering bravery involved encouraging riders to ‘get tough’—on both themselves and on their horses. Narrative theory is employed in this article to show that riders could demonstrate their own bravery through describing the horse as defiant. Alternate narrative possibilities existed, including describing the horse as needy patient and the rider as care provider. Riders were critically aware that veterinary diagnoses could be sought or avoided in line with riders’ own dispositions. ‘Diagnoses-seeking’ behaviours could be judged negatively by others and seen as evidence of unresolved fearfulness. In conclusion, the British equestrian cultural orientation towards bravery can be associated with stressful or painful training techniques, delayed or missed diagnoses of physiological pathologies, and poor training outcomes. Programs that aim to help riders to develop confidence without instilling a sense of ‘battle’ with the horse, and without ridiculing the rider, are likely to have positive implications on equine welfare and human safety.
... Investigating human preferences and reasoning behind selections is important as it has been noted that generally, due to a lack of scientific research within canine sport practices, there may be misinformation that could potentially cause welfare concerns. For example, when a trend is set and receives community and media support, much of the remaining community engage despite little understanding behind the motivation (McLean and McGreevy, 2010;Pandey et al., 2016). ...
... Unsurprisingly, 'looks good' was selected as the second common theme which supports the literature that identifies human interests into animal aesthetics (Borgi and Cirulli, 2016;Holloway and Morris, 2014;Wilson, 1984). High leg position was included within the selections due to being a primary factor for dressage horses (McLean and McGreevy, 2010) and a common feature noted within CO dogs as suggested to indicate drive. Competition requirements and tradition were less selected for, however participants frequently noted fashion to be a factor for training high head positions. ...
Article
Competitive obedience (CO) is a canine discipline judged on a dog and handlers ability to undertake obedience exercises at different levels. Currently, there is limited research focusing on competitive obedience. Despite this, regulations regarding heelwork positions have recently been released causing discussion and controversy within the UK CO community. A hyperextended neck position is often apparent during heelwork tests of obedience, yet there is no research stating why this is a common training technique or expectation. This study investigated human preferences for heelwork positions and identified possible reasons for training such positions. Participants (n=251) of an online survey stated their CO experience, whether they trained for a high head position and reasons for training high head positions. Participants were required to rank 12 heelwork positions from 1; most preferred to 12; least preferred, followed by a statement of justification for preference one. Of participants, 70% did not train for high heads and 'focus' was reported the most common theme for training this position. The top three themes for preferences included: natural, good head positioning, and focus. Overall, image ranking was varied and differences in preferences were noted between experience groups. A raised head position was apparent in preference one but was not an extreme position. Study findings demonstrated variation in rankings yet responses mostly mirrored current CO regulations and guidelines; a positive outcome for welfare of CO dogs. Preference results highlighted minimal concerning factors regarding canine health and welfare. These results must be used to further extend CO research; particularly for further creation of an appropriate model for heelwork positioning.
... Modern techniques of asking the horse to be 'on the bit' usually require the horse to change the angle of its neck to find relief from pressure applied by the rider through the bit and reins [13], thereby positioning the nose behind the vertical line [17,30]. There is much discussion in the equine world about riders using high rein tension to obtain a desired head and neck position. ...
... The Rein Tension Device was attached between the bit and the draw reins or Concord Leader, thereby changing the angles used to obtain the desired head and neck position. It must be recognised that rein tension does not equal bit pressure [30]. In further studies, it would be a useful addition to measure the pressure on the poll, also to check whether any of the rein tension is redirected towards the poll when using the Concord Leader. ...
Article
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Background: Debate surrounds the use of high rein tension for obtaining different head and neck positions in the training of sport horses on account of possible welfare issues. Objectives: To compare auxiliary rein tension in two methods for obtaining a standardized head and neck position on a hard and a soft surface; Draw Reins and Concord Leader. Study design: Intervention study. Methods: Left and right rein tensions were measured in 11 base-level trained client-owned sport horses (mean age ± standard deviation: 10 ± 3.2 years) exercised in-hand with, in a random order, conventional draw reins or the newly developed Concord Leader in a standardized head and neck position. Rein tension was measured using a calibrated device operating at 10 Hz during six runs of 15 sec in a straight line for each training method on both a hard and a soft surface. A linear mixed model and grouped logistic regression analysis were applied to compare the two methods (p< 0.05). Results: The odds of a tension of 0 N were lower with draw reins than with the Concord Leader. The rein tension (mean sum of the force applied, in N) of the draw reins was 13.8 times higher than that of the Concord Leader. Main limitations: This study was performed on horses exercised in-hand; however, these auxiliary aids are normally used when lunging. Possible redirection of rein tension towards the poll was not measured. Conclusions: We showed that when using the Concord Leader a similar head and neck position is achieved with a much lower rein tension than with the draw reins and, more importantly, with a much greater likelihood of 0N. It is unnecessary to use high auxiliary rein tension to obtain a standard, flexed head and neck position. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
... The association of overcheck with oral lesions has not been investigated earlier. It has been suggested that head equipment, such as nosebands, tongue-ties, and overchecks, may restrict a horse's movements and expression of discomfort (McLean and McGreevy, 2010b;Casey et al., 2013;McGreevy, 2015). ...
... Society's views on what is ethical is constantly changing (Campbell, 2013;Bergmann, 2019). The social license to operate (SLO) refers to society 'giving' a certain activity or business the 'license to operate' if it thinks that the activity is morally 'acceptable' (McLean and McGreevy, 2010b;Campbell, 2016;Duncan et al., 2018;Heleski et al., 2020). Different ethical frameworks can be used as an analytical tool to identify important aspects of an ethical dilemma (Campbell, 2021). ...
Thesis
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Bit-related oral lesions are a common and painful welfare issue in horses. Even though horses have been ridden and driven with a bit and bridle for 6000 years and bit sores have been described already in the 19th century in the veterinary literature, scientific reports on bit-related lesions and their risk factors in horses remain scarce. The aim of this thesis was to (i) determine the occurrence of oral lesions in the bit area in Finnish trotters and event horses after competitions, (ii) create a scoring system for oral lesions in the bit area and demonstrate different lesion types and locations with photographs, (iii) investigate risk factors for bit-related lesions in trotters and event horses, (iv) further investigate different stakeholders’ attitudes towards bit-related lesions in trotters. The rostral part of the mouth of 469 horses (261 trotters, 208 event horses) was examined systematically after a competition. Trotters were examined in 10 racing events in 2017 and event horses in 8 competition events in 2018–2019. Many horses had multiple lesions, and therefore, a lesion scoring system was created in which points were given to each lesion depending on its size, type (bruise or wound), and depth (superficial or deep). Points for each lesion were summed such that each horse received a total lesion score that reflected the overall lesion status. No acute lesions were found in 42 trotters (16%), and lesion status was mild in 55 trotters (21%), moderate in 113 trotters (43%), and severe in 51 trotters (20%). In event horses, no lesions were found in 99 horses (48%), and lesion status was mild in 45 (22%), moderate in 55 (26%), and severe in 9 horses (4%). The most common lesion location was the inner lip commissure. Lesions were also found in the bars of the mandible in front of the first lower cheek tooth, in the buccal area near the first upper cheek tooth, and in the outer lip commissures. Only a few horses had mild lesions involving the tongue and one horse in the hard palate. Although 109 event horses and 219 trotters had oral lesions in the bit area, none of the event horses and only six trotters showed external mouth bleeding. Additionally, one event horse and 26 trotters had blood inside the mouth or on the bit when it was removed from the mouth. Associations between a horse’s moderate-severe oral lesion status and potential risk factors were analyzed with multivariable logistic regression analysis. The association between bit type and lesion location was examined with Fisher’s exact test. Risk factors for moderate-severe oral lesion status in trotters were the use of a Crescendo bit, a mullen mouth regulator bit, or an unjointed plastic bit (model Happy Mouth) and female sex (mare). In event horses, the risk factors were thin (10–13 mm) and thick (18–22 mm) bits, female sex (mare), and other than pony breed. In both disciplines, unjointed bits were associated with lesions in the bars of the mandible. Single-jointed snaffle bits were the most common bit type in trotters and the least associated with moderate-severe lesions. In event horses, double-jointed 14–17 mm bits were most common. Bit thickness of 14–17 mm was the least associated with moderate-severe lesion status. However, these results may at least partly reflect driveability or rideability issues, and thus, rein tension differences because drivers/riders may change to distinctive bit designs if they have difficulty eliciting an appropriate response with rein cues. In the pilot questionnaire study, imaginary scenarios and photographs of lesions from horses’ mouths were presented to different stakeholders (veterinarians and race veterinary assistants, trainers, and others). They were asked in multiple choice questionnaires whether they allow the horse to start in the race, stipulate a health certificate before the next race, or remove the horse from the race. The association between stakeholder groups and their answers was examined with the Pearson Chi-square test. The results of this study indicated differences in attitudes towards bit-related lesions between stakeholder groups but also within a stakeholder group. This might reflect differences in conflicts of interests, moral values, empathy, or over-exposure to oral lesions. Not removing horses with severe oral lesions from the race may compromise horse welfare and society’s trust in the surveillance system. In this study, oral lesions in the bit area were common after a competition, although only few horses showed external bleeding. Oral examination and an oral lesion scoring system with an assistant recording the findings were suitable for field conditions and horses seemed to tolerate the examination well. Even though changing the bit to the bits least associated with lesions may be beneficial, horses with oral lesions might benefit from training modifications. Given the higher risk observed for mares in this study, mare oral health warrants special attention. Results of this thesis encourage adopting bit area monitoring as a new routine by horse handlers and as a welfare measure by competition organizers in order to minimize pain and negative experiences by early diagnosis and treatment of mouth lesions.
... The use of training aids, such as draw reins, side reins, Market Harborough, chambon or de Gogue, also have the potential to cause discomfort; pain (to the mouth, implicated muscles and any pressure points) or behavioural inhibition and thus risk creating fear and distress [192,197], particularly when used excessively, in inexperienced hands or by trainers without detailed knowledge of equitation science. Many of these training aids instigate changes to the animal's head carriage and neck position and the use of muscles during motion (e.g., in the back or hindquarters); therefore, muscle fatigue and pain can also be implicated [197]. ...
... The use of training aids, such as draw reins, side reins, Market Harborough, chambon or de Gogue, also have the potential to cause discomfort; pain (to the mouth, implicated muscles and any pressure points) or behavioural inhibition and thus risk creating fear and distress [192,197], particularly when used excessively, in inexperienced hands or by trainers without detailed knowledge of equitation science. Many of these training aids instigate changes to the animal's head carriage and neck position and the use of muscles during motion (e.g., in the back or hindquarters); therefore, muscle fatigue and pain can also be implicated [197]. Some training methods do not use restrictive training aids but may use aversive stimuli through intentionally causing pain or unpleasantness to the equids. ...
Article
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Equestrian sports, including racing (e.g., flat, steeple-chasing, harness or donkey derby); show-jumping; cross-country; dressage; polo; polocrosse; endurance; carriage driving; vaulting and hunting; are hugely popular in the UK, and they involve a significant number of people, both as participants and spectators, and tens of thousands of equids. In this paper, we discuss animal welfare as a complex and disputed issue, clarifying what the term means and how it can be measured. We review many aspects of welfare risk to equids used for sport, addressing issues encountered throughout their lives, including housing, feeding, veterinary intervention, shoeing, handling, training, breeding and equipment. This is followed by a unique exploration of the institutions and social processes influencing equine welfare. The institutional components comprise the rules of competition, the equids, attributes of the stakeholders and the space where participants strive to achieve a common purpose. We endeavour to untangle the most significant elements that create barriers or provide opportunities for equine welfare improvement. We expose the challenges faced by a broad range of stakeholders with differing ethics, attitudes and values. Evidently, there are many welfare risks to which equids used in sports continue to be exposed. It is also evident that significant improvements have occurred in recent times, but there remains a barrier to reducing the risks to an acceptable level. We conclude with recommendations regarding a process for change, involvement of stakeholders and management of knowledge to improve equine welfare that involves identifying and prioritising the risk factors and ultimately leading to interventions, further research and/or education.
... A failure of students to correctly identify horses' behavioural cues and to give an appropriate response at an appropriate time may lead to confusion for the horse [23][24][25]. As a result, horses may develop conflict behaviours that may negatively influence their welfare [23,26]. ...
... If unable to correctly identify equine body signals, students are therefore unlikely to provide consistent cues and to apply appropriate signals, which may negatively reflect on their interactions with the horses. Mistimed and/or inconsistent signals can induce subsequent confusion and conflict behaviours and have been reported to increase arousal and reactivity levels in horses [3, 25,26,36]. ...
Article
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Horses are used in practical teaching classes in many equine and veterinary science degree programmes to develop and refine the handling and clinical skills of students. In this study, the activities of 24 teaching horses grouped in three herds were investigated over an entire calendar year. Although also used for research and general husbandry, teaching-related activities were the predominant use of the horses. Herd B was used for a greater number of teaching sessions (median = 28, IQR = 27–29.5 per year) than herds M (median = 21, IQR = 20–21 per year) and T (median = 19.5, IQR = 13.75–25.5 per year), which translates to a relatively low workload (one or two weekly sessions during the teaching semester). Sedation was used in dentistry classes (in alignment with national best practice standards) but was rarely required for other teaching activities. Mare reproductive rectal- and medical rectal examination practical classes (specific to 5th-year veterinary teaching and characterised by more restraint (in stocks)) were significantly shorter and had fewer students per horse than the other practical classes. Although the low workload reported suggests an opportunity to increase students’ exposure to horses without compromising the horses’ welfare, further investigation to determine specific stressors to the horses in the teaching environment may be required.
... To cope with stressors, animals may attempt to remove themselves from discomfort, confront the stressors, or adapt to them ( Moberg and Mench,20 0 0 ). If unable to resolve conflicting or unrelenting stimuli, horses may exhibit behavior indicative of a state of conflict or ultimately habituate to the stimuli ( McLean and McGreevy, 2010b ). Mills and Marchant-Forde (2010) describe conflict behavior as "a category of stress-induced behavior changes that arise from conflicting motivations." ...
... That said, numerous behaviors exhibited by the horse under saddle are seldom observed outside the ridden context and should be valued among other potential animal-based indicators of poor welfare ( Randle and Waran, 2017 ). Increased interest in animal welfare has drawn attention to potentially questionable ethics around some aspects of horse use in sport and recreation McGreevy, 2010a , McLean andMcGreevy, 2010b ) and public scrutiny is intensifying with regard to social license to operate within racing ( McGreevy and McManus, 2017 ) and many other sectors of the equine industry. Within this context, many training methods and items of equipment, some of which have justifications based chiefly on tradition, are now being questioned more deeply than ever. ...
Article
Equestrian equipment is often used to maintain control of horses while riding, training or handling them and therefore to optimize human and horse safety. However, equipment that has been incorrectly selected or inappropriately used may result in horses exhibiting conflict-related behavior. Characterising associations between apparatus use and unwelcome horse behavior could benefit both horse welfare and human safety by elucidating the ontogeny of undesirable equine responses and promoting the ethical use of equipment. The current study explored associations between commonly used apparatus and the reported behaviors of the ridden horse, using an online survey that attracted 1101 Australian respondents. Chi-square tests of association revealed thirteen (9.1%) significant relationships between any unwanted behavior and single items of apparatus used during riding. Analysis of combinations of apparatus that impose aversive stimuli (e.g. harsh bits for deceleration, and spurs for acceleration) revealed that 37.19% of combinations of such items were significantly related to unwanted/conflict equine behaviors. Additional analysis demonstrated no significant difference in the unwanted behavior of horses ridden in bitless versus bitted bridles. This study has demonstrated associations between unwanted ridden behaviors and type of apparatus used, particularly when multiple items are used to apply opposing aversive stimuli. Whilst these results do not imply causation, they may be used to better inform equestrians’ choice and ethical use of apparatus.
... At the same time, traditional and contemporary training and management practices regularly compromise horse welfare across each of the Five Domains [5]. Shortfalls in horse welfare, and associated behavioural manifestations, can go unnoticed and lead to poor welfare outcomes for horses and increase hazards for riders, who are often unaware of the horse's emotional state [4,6]. ...
Article
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Owner-reported behavioural observations form an essential part of the veterinarians' diagnosis and treatment plan. The way we train and manage horses affects their behaviour and, in turn, their health and welfare. Current horse training and management practices are largely driven by traditional techniques and longstanding methodologies. These approaches generally lack an evidence base for evaluation purposes. The absence of evidence and evaluation contributes to the persistent use of risky practices and this, in turn, increases risk of potential harms for both horse and rider, and fuels questioning of the equine industry's current social license to operate. Objective evidence is required to make training and management decisions based on demonstrable best practice. Large-scale experimental or intervention studies using horses are generally not practical because of the associated costs and logistics of gaining ethical approval. Small studies generally lack statistical power and are subject to the effects of many forms of bias that demand caution in the interpretation of any observed effects. An alternative to collecting large amounts of empirical data is the use of owner-reported observations via online survey. Horse owners are ideally placed to report on the domestic equine triad of training, management, and behaviour. The current article highlights three sources of potential bias in a systematic review of literature on large-scale online studies of horse owners' observational reports that met the following selection criteria: English-language, published, peer-reviewed articles reporting on studies with over 1000 respondents and open access to the survey instrument. The online surveys were evaluated for three common forms of bias: recall, confirmation, and sampling bias. This review reveals that online surveys are useful for gathering data on the triad of horse training, management, and behaviour. However, current use of online surveys to collect data on equitation science (including horse training, management, and behaviour) could be improved by using a standardised and validated tool. Such a tool would facilitate comparisons among equine and equitation science studies, thus advancing our understanding of the impacts of training and management on horse behaviour. The authors of the current review suggest the use of a standardised behavioural and management assessment tool for horses. Such a tool would help define what constitutes normal behaviour within geographically disparate populations of horses, leading to improvements in rider safety and horse welfare.
... It might be that these horses with only one handler had more opportunities to develop a strong bond with one specific person and therefore generalise their behaviour and show trust with other humans as they already have a strong emotional base in their relationship with their handler. On the other hand, it is known that inappropriately applied training and handling methods can lead to negative emotional experiences for horses (McLean and McGreevy, 2010;McGreevy et al., 2011), and riding sessions may involve musculoskeletal injuries such as back or teeth pain due to badly fitted gear Dyson et al., 2020). Therefore, being handled/ridden by different humans who vary in their abilities to respond appropriately to horse behaviour increases the chances of having negative emotional experiences, especially if some handlers are only involved in riding/training sessions and not in everyday caregiving. ...
Article
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Despite numerous studies emerging on the human-horse relationship, significant gaps exist in the identification of the horse and handler factors that influence the quality of their relationship. Here, we explore key factors affecting human-animal relationships: the number of regular handlers an animal has, their Length of the relationship with the handler, number of owner changes, and the handler familiarity. A total of 76 horses participated in two novel object tasks to determine whether horses react differently to novel situations depending on whether they are handled by a familiar or an unfamiliar person. We observed that having multiple regular handlers negatively affected the horse reluctance toward the novel surfaces (estimate ± SE = 1.90 ± 0.64, Z= 2.98, P = 0.003) and novel object (estimate ± SE = 0.94 ± 0.47, Z= 2.01, P = 0.044). In horses used to be handled by only one person, 75% were non-reluctant toward the surfaces while 68% of the horses handled multiple persons showed reluctant behaviours. Similarly, only 13% of the horses with only one regular handler refused to be touched with a novel object while 26% of the horse with multiple regular handlers refused to be touched with the object. The relationship length between the horse and the familiar handler decreased the horse reluctance toward the novel surfaces (estimate ± SE = -0.27 ± 0.14. Z= -1.93. P = 0.054) and novel object (estimate ± SE = -0.15 ± 0.07, Z= -2.14, P = 0.033). The longer the relationship the less reluctant were the horses. Horses sold more than once were more reluctant to the object (estimate ± SE = -1.09 ± 0.49, Z= -2.20, P = 0.028). Those horses had higher chances to refuse to be touched with the novel object than the horses still owned by their breeder or their first buyer. Finally, older horses (> 18 yo) had higher success at walking on the surface when led by someone familiar (87%) compared to led by someone unfamiliar (15%) (estimate ± SE = 2.55 ± 1.05, t= 2.43, P = 0.016). Our findings suggest that the horse-human relationship may take time to develop as it is shaped by multiple factors involving the horse’s previous and current interactions with humans that affect their everyday life.
... Nosebands may be used in horse-riding for an aesthetic effect (so-called framing of the horse's face) and to keep the horse's mouth closed [1]. By doing so, they may stabilise the bit in a preferred position and prevent the horse attempting to avoid bit pressure by putting the tongue out of the mouth or over the bit [2]. These behaviours are sometimes called evasions because they reduce the rider's control of the horse and even attract penalties in some disciplines, notably dressage. ...
Article
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Restrictive nosebands are used in equestrian sports to hold the bit in place and reduce mouth-opening, a response that can attract penalties in some sports and is thought to reduce the rider's control of the horse. Sustained pressure from such tightly fitted (restrictive) nosebands denies normal behaviour and thus, causes frustration and distress that can jeopardise horse welfare. It also may push the cheek against the molar teeth, compress soft tissues including blood vessels and nerves, and possibly induce chronic changes to underlying bone. This study of mature cavalry horses (n = 144) was designed to explore relationships between visual and palpable damage to structures that underlie the nosebands of horses and any related bony changes in those horses as evidenced by radiography. Working independently of each other, two researchers inspected the horses for visual changes and palpable changes before the horses were radiographed. The radiographs were assessed by a separate pair of veterinary radiologists, again working independently of each other. Among the current population of horses, 37.5% had one or more radiographic changes to the nasal bones according to both radiologists, and 13.8% had one or more radiographic changes to the mandible. For nasal bones, the two radiologists reported bone deposition in 6.9% and 8.3% of the horses and bone thinning in 33.3% and 56.9% of the horses, respectively. By palpation, they found that 82% and 84% of the horses had palpable bone deposition of the nasal bones and 32% and 33.4% had palpable bone thinning. For the mandibles, the radiologists reported increased bone deposition in 18.8% and 32.6% of the horses but no bone thinning. By palpation, the two examiners reported 30.6% and 32.7% of the horses had palpable bone deposition and 10.4% and 11.1% had palpable bone thinning. This is the first report of lesions to the mandible at this site and this article presents the first confirmation of bony lesions at the site typically subjected to pressure from restrictive nosebands. These results suggest that radiographic bone thinning is more apparent in the nasal bones of riding horses than in the mandible and that both palpable and radiographic bone deposition are more likely in the mandible than in the nasal bones. That said, we note that the current study provides no evidence of a causal link between any piece of gear or its putative tightness and the lesions in these anatomical locations. Further studies are needed to identify risk factors for these clusters of lesions. The inadvertent deformation of bones in the horse's head for competitive advantage is difficult to justify on ethical grounds.
... The most common Anatomical reason given for using nosebands was to prevent the horse from moving the tongue over the bit (20.8%, n = 485). The bit is an instrumental part of the bridle that allows the rider to apply pressure to the horse's tongue and diastema to facilitate steering and deceleration [31]. If a horse can move its tongue over the bit, then one of the primary points of contact/pressure from the rider is transferred to the soft tissues covering the mandible. ...
Article
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This article reports on the results of a survey designed to explore the types of nosebands that owners, riders and trainers use in training and competition, their reasons for using nosebands, the design preferences in different disciplines and approaches to noseband tightness and monitoring, as well as the incidence of negative impacts related to noseband usage. Respondents (n = 3040) were asked to specify the type of noseband they were currently using and to rate how effective they were in achieving these stated reasons. Respondents who used nosebands (n = 2332) most commonly used Plain Cavesson (46.6%, n = 1087) and Hanoverian (24.8%, n = 579) nosebands. The reasons provided in the survey for noseband usage were grouped into three broad, mutually exclusive categories: Anatomical; Consequential and Passive. Responses across these categories were fairly evenly distributed overall: Anatomical (29.5%, n = 1501), Consequential (30.6%, n = 1560), Passive (32.9%, n = 1673) and other reasons (7.0%, n = 358). Across all respondents (n = 2332), the most common Anatomical reason given was to prevent the horse's tongue from moving over the bit (20.8%, n = 485), the most common Consequential reason was to improve the appearance of the horse (20.4%, n = 476), with aligning with the rules of the sport (30.2%, n = 705) the most popular Passive Animals 2020, 10, 776 2 of 20 reason. Of the respondents who answered the question of checking noseband tightness (n = 2295), most reported checking noseband tightness at the bridge of the nose (62.1%, n = 1426), some (10.4%, n = 238) reported checking for tightness on the side of the face and others under the chin (21.5%, n = 496). This survey also revealed some of the potential issues associated with noseband use, with 18.6% (n = 434) reporting at least one physical or behavioural complication. The most common complication was hair loss under the noseband (39.9%, n = 173). Crank systems were reported to be used by 28.9% (n = 665) of respondents. This is of concern as these devices can be excessively tightened, minimising jaw and tongue movement and may compromise horse welfare. Indeed, the current data in our study show that these devices are associated with an increased risk of complications being reported. Against the backdrop of potential harm to horse welfare associated with restrictive nosebands, this report may serve as a guide for future regulations and research. It helps improve our understanding of noseband preferences and their use in different disciplines.
... Indeed, several authors underlined the aversive aspect of rein tension (e.g. Christensen et al., 2011), and more generally different kinds of tension-eliciting equipment (Clayton et al., 2011;McLean and McGreevy, 2010;Murphy, 2009) which may lead to "conflict behaviours" such as head tossing or reefing reins (i.e. pulling them strongly from the rider's hands) (e.g. ...
Article
Several previous studies have shown that working conditions (including riding) can induce stress in horses. Riders' actions and postures, when inappropriate, induce stress and conflict behaviours during riding and welfare impairment and negative emotional states outside work. Optimistic biases have been found in leisure horses, which, amongst positive management factors, were ridden with loose reins and low hands. Thus, one can wonder whether horses may positively perceive work or parts of it. Indicators of positive emotions are poorly known yet but we recently found that, out of the working context, a non-vocal acoustic signal, snorts, could reflect mild positive emotions in horses. We hypothesized that snorts could help identifying the working phases and actions appreciated by horses. An overview of snort production in 127 horses spread over 16 riding schools was first conducted to highlight a potential site effect. Results show a great difference in snorts frequency between facilities which may be due to different riding techniques. In order to test this hypothesis, we then focused on 37 horse-rider dyads by scoring horses' postures (neck) and riders' positions (hand, reins) during, but also out of the context of snort production. Results show that snorts were particularly associated with phases when the rider technique, i.e. long and loose reins, allowed more comfort for the horse, especially while walking. Results were more mitigated for higher paces since the association of snorts with signs of comfort was less clear-cut. Snorts could therefore be useful tools for identifying better practices, especially at slower gaits. However, care has to be taken at higher paces.
... Training in equine sports is largely based on experience and intuition and there is a clear need for a more scientific evidence based approach to equestrian training (McLean and McGreevy, 2010). In 2007 an attempt was made to define workload definitions in horses as they were not consistent throughout literature (Rogers et al., 2007). ...
Article
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In human sport science, the acute:chronic workload (ACWR) ratio is used to monitor an athlete’s preparedness for competition and to assess injury risks. The aim of this study was to investigate whether acute and chronic workload calculations for external and internal loads (e.g. high-speed work distance and associated exertional effort) were associated with injury risk in elite eventing horses and to identify workloads performed by horses competing in different competition and at different fitness levels. Training load and injury data were collected from 58 international eventing horses (CCI2*–CCI5* level) over 1–3 years. A total of 94 individual competition seasons were monitored. During this period, heart rate (HR; beat/min) and GPS data were collected of all their conditional training sessions and competitions. External load was determined as the distance (m) covered at high speed (HS¹; velocity between 6.6 and 9.5 m/s), and sprint speed (SS²; velocity>9.5 m/s). Internal load was calculated for HS and SS, using individualized training impulses (TRIMP³;AU). For internal and external workload HS and SS the acute (1-week) and chronic (4-week) workloads were calculated and ACWR⁴ determined. The injury data in relation to ACWR was modelled with a multilevel logistic regression. Akaike’s information criterion was used for model reduction. Sixty-four soft tissue injuries were registered from a total of 2300 training sessions and competitions. External and internal workload at HS and SS were significantly affected by the year and fitness level of horses. Competition level and year significantly affected the distances covered at SS. The ACWR of high-speed distance of the present week (OR; 0.133, 95 % CI; 0.032, 0.484) and the previous week (OR 3.951, 95 % CI; 1.390, 12.498) were significantly associated with injury risk. Competition level and chronic workload had no significant effect on injuries. In agreement with findings in human athletes, acute spikes of workload in eventing horses increased the risk of injury. Evaluation of horses’ workload can be used to design and effectively monitor training programs and can help to improve equine welfare by reducing injury risk.
... In addition, it would be undoubtedly worthwhile to discern population level 'normality' in relation to natural biological variation, subtle asymmetries, irregularities of hooves and the associated animal gait [7]. Particularly, as there are 'numerous questionable practices in current equitation' used to cause forced deviations in equine posture and gait, with the associated horse welfare often a debated matter of opinion rather than an evidence-based assessment [8]. ...
Article
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In a recent editorial ‘Evidence-based farriery – does it exist?’ Weller et al. [1] outlined several key issues that have inhibited the advancement of farriery related research. Specifically, three primary factors were identified: 1) technical challenges inherent to farriery research; 2) lack of required combination of expertise and skill sets; and 3) lack of funding. Although the acquisition of funding remains challenging across almost all scientific disciplines, we now live in an age of advanced communication and digital data capture technologies that have tremendously enhanced our capacity to gather, store, and share information. Notably, the adoption of unobtrusive and continuous welfare monitoring systems within bovine production is rapidly becoming the norm. Accordingly, there has been a substantial development of smart sensory technologies in the form of devices capable of meeting industry requirements. In particular, the development of three-dimensional (3D) and even four-dimensional (4D) data capture technologies for the detection of subclinical lameness and body condition scores, continue to advance. Interestingly, despite highly similar principles of animal gait and biometric assessment, the application of such technologies in equitation science appears to have not yet occurred. For farriers, handheld 3D scanners would likely improve the accuracy of shoe fit, and the speed of shoeing and trimming processes. In essence, the time needed by farriers to visually assess hoof shape, limb conformation, and footfall would be reduced, while allowing them to present an accurate representation of an animal’s biometric data and hoof health to their clients and other equine professionals. Importantly, following scientific assessment, less than optimal farrier practices could be avoided through dissemination of research results. Overall, 3D imaging represents a technological opportunity that can potentially facilitate evidence-based farriery through improved data capture, and act as decision-support tool to farriers. In turn, this may encourage a greater investment of funding in farriery research by equine industry stakeholder or research organisations.
... Understanding how and why problem behaviours develop will advance safety and welfare. Horse owners and riders have an ethical obligation to be aware of how their training affects their horse because equitation largely relies on the appropriate use of pressure during negative reinforcement [7], the application of aversive stimuli (usually pressure applied via the rider's hands and legs) until the horse offers the desired response, at which point the pressure must be removed to reinforce conditioning of the correct response [8]. The use of prolonged or excessive pressure is contraindicated because it leads to habituation (an outcome which horses are especially prone to) and the consequent need for more pressure in future [9]. ...
Article
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The Equine Behaviour Assessment and Research Questionnaire (E-BARQ) was developed to obtain quantitative data on the domestic equine triad: training, management and behaviour. It can be taken repeatedly, thus collecting longitudinal data to enable evaluation of how changes in a horse's training and management are reflected in that horse's behaviour over time and how these changes can impact horse welfare in the longer term. Questionnaire validation and reliability were tested by determining (a) whether an owner's subjective ratings of their horse's problematic behaviours or undesirable temperament traits were reflected in the questionnaire scores obtained for that horse (construct validity), (b) whether two respondents, equally familiar with a particular horse, reported comparable scores for that horse through the questionnaire (inter-rater reliability), and (c) whether the same respondent, scoring the same horse after a known interval of time, recorded similar responses (intra-rater reliability). Construct validity testing of 1923 responses showed significant alignment between owners' reported experience of focal horses' behaviour and those horses' E-BARQ scores, with scores varying from 1.13 to 1.34 for ridden horse behaviour (all p < 0.001) and from 1.06 to 1.43 for non-ridden horse behaviour (all p < 0.001). Inter-rater reliability testing of ten horse-rider pairs revealed that 203 of the 215 question items were significantly aligned (p < 0.001) when tested by two independent raters. Of the remaining 19 items, four had fair Animals 2020, 10, 1982 2 of 14 alignment (ĸ = 0.174-0.316; p = 0.281) and ten items, largely related to whether the horse shows behavioural signs related to anxiety when taken away from home, did not align (ĸ = 0; p = 1). Intra-rater reliability tests showed that the responses significantly aligned on all 215 question items tested (p < 0.001). The results of these tests confirmed the construct validity and reliability of E-BARQ as a standardised behavioural assessment tool for horses.
... In that study, it appeared that riders were correctly using the whip for negative reinforcement to amplify the leg aid [25]. The use of artificial aids, particularly whips, as a means of discipline rather than a reinforcement of forward locomotion can cause problems if used incorrectly [42]. Additionally, the use of both whip taps and a neck pats may result in unclear signaling, which can compromise equine learning [43]. ...
Article
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The diversity of the Canadian equine industry makes determining baseline attitudes and beliefs a challenge. Adult members of the Canadian equine industry (n = 901) participated in an online survey to report demographic information and views on the role of horses and their ability to experience affective states. Questions regarding the welfare state of all horses in the industry, potential ways to address welfare issues, and eight short scenarios were presented. Qualitative analysis, descriptive statistics, and a Chi-squared test for independence examined survey results and potential relationships. Participants strongly believed horses were capable of feeling positive and negative emotions, particularly pain and fear, but rarely were these beliefs reflected in their answers regarding aspects of equine welfare, which may be due to the large bias in these beliefs. Lack of knowledge and financial difficulties were noted as the biggest threats to equine welfare. Overall, there was widespread agreement regarding the presence of welfare issues within the equine industry, but opinions were more divided regarding how to best address them and which horses were most at risk. Understanding these perceptions may be useful to direct educational programs and industry-wide initiatives to address equine welfare through human behaviour change.
... "no!") as well as some negative reinforcement (e.g. during lunging sessions). The verbal signals had never been asociated with food or punishment and may have remained meaningless to the horses ( Heleski et al., 2015;McLean and McGreevy, 2010). Results of the second part revealed that the geldings that had originally been trained with a food reward (PR) required fewer training sessions than the controls to complete the various stages of the young horses' training scheme (Fig. 2). ...
Article
Research in cognitive psychology has repeatedly shown how much cognition and emotions are mutually related to one another. Psychological disorders are associated with cognitive (attention, memory and judgment) biases and chronic pain may affect attention, learning or memory. Laboratory studies have provided useful insights about the processes involved but observations about spontaneous animal models, living in different stress/welfare conditions may help understand further how cognition and welfare are interrelated in the « real world ». Domestic horses constitute such a model as they live in a variety of conditions that impact differently their welfare state. In the present review, we try and provide an overview of the scientific literature on cognition and welfare of domestic horses and their interrelationship. We address how emotions and welfare may affect cognitive processes in horses and impact the way they perceive their environment (including work). We propose new methods for assessing the relationship between welfare and cognition and open up the discussion on the evolution of the brain and the part domestication may have played.
... Nonetheless, an improvement of the level of rein tension while riding could lead to less discomfort and therefore fewer expressions of discomfort. The ability of horses to learn depends, among other things, on their mental state [12,13]. It has been reported that anxiety, for example caused by high pressure on tongue and jaw, results in occurrence of "learning blocks" [12,14]. ...
Article
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Too much rein tension while riding may compromise the welfare of the horse. But who generates the tension on the reins-the horse or the rider? The primary aim of this pilot study was to evaluate the maximum rein tension that horses voluntarily maintain without a rider compared to rein tension with a rider. A secondary aim was to evaluate conflict behaviours in relation to rein tension. Thirteen horses were used, all fitted with customised "Animon" rein tension sensors (25 Hz, up to 600 N range), free-moving with side reins set in dressage competition frame with the noseline on the vertical. Rein tension was measured at the walk, trot, and canter in both directions in a round pen. The same horses were then ridden by their usual riders and completed the same task on a riding ground. Continuous video recordings were obtained to subsequently quantify the occurrence of conflict behaviours. The difference in mean maximum peak of rein tension with and without a rider for each gait was compared using the Wilcoxon Rank Sum test. Without a rider, rein tension was significantly lower (Wilcoxon T = 0, p < 0.01, 7.5 N ± 2.8 N) than with a rider (Wilcoxon T = 0, p < 0.01, 24.0 N ± 12.3 N). Regardless of the different rein tensions in the ridden exercise, all of the horses exhibited approximately the same amount of rein tension in the unridden exercise. The frequency of conflict behaviour was higher with a rider than without (11 ± 14 per minute vs. 2 ± 3 per minute; T = 4, p < 0.01).
... However, the efficacy and the exact mechanism by 42 which the TT may aid in prevention of DDSP remains controversial (Beard et al. 2001;Cornelisse et al. 2001; 3 51 ties were not well tolerated in young Thoroughbred racehorses (12). This implies that the horses must habituate to 52 the aversiveness of the procedure (McGreevy and McLean, 2010). It is not clear how long horses take to habituate 53 to TTs and whether they ever do so completely. ...
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Tongue-ties (TT) are commonly applied to both Standardbred and Thoroughbred racehorses to increase control, by preventing them from getting their tongue over the bit, and as a conservative treatment for equine respiratory conditions, principally dorsal displacement of the soft palate. This study investigated responses to TT application in horses, at rest, using both behavioural (head-tossing, ear position, gaping and lip licking) and physiological (salivary cortisol concentrations, eye surface temperature and heart rate) indices. Twelve Standardbred horses (six of which were naïve to TT) were used in a randomised crossover design. The study comprised 3 phases; Phase 1 (Baseline), Phase 2 (Treatment), and Phase 3 (Recovery). At phase 2, tongue tie application (TTA) was performed using a rubber band that was looped around the tongue and secured to the mandible for 20 minutes. The control treatment (C) incorporated 30 secs of tongue manipulation, at the start of the 20 min, however no TT was applied. Behaviours (head- tossing, ear position, mouth gaping and lip-licking) and heart rate (HR) were recorded for the duration of the study and analysed in ten minute intervals. Salivary samples were taken at the end of each phase for subsequent cortisol assays and infrared thermography images were taken of each eye at 5-minute intervals. Statistical analyses were performed in SPSS using linear mixed effects models and repeated measures general linear models, to determine differences between treatments and within treatments, over time. Compared to control, there was more head-tossing/shaking (p<0.001), gaping (p<0.001) and backwards ear position (p<0.001) and less forward ear position (p<0.001) during TTA, in Phase 2. Horses with previous experience of TT showed more head-tossing (p=0.040) and gaping (p=0.030) than naïve horses. Lip-licking was more frequent after TTA treatment than control, during Phase 3 (p<0.001). Salivary cortisol concentrations increased after TTA (1846.1pg/mL ± 478.3pg/mL vs 1253.6pg/mL ± 491.6pg/mL, p=0.047). Mean HR, and mean right and left eye temperature did not differ significantly between treatments in any phase (all p> 0.05). The findings of this study suggest the application of a tongue-tie causes changes to both behavioural and physiological parameters suggestive of a stress-related response. Further research is needed that will enable racing and sport horse regulatory bodies to make informed decisions about the appropriate use of tongue-ties in horses.
... Horses have the unique position of being the only animal used in Olympic sports, yet it could be argued that the rules protecting their welfare [5] in such sports are insufficient, inadequately defined, and patchily enforced [4,6]. Even at the elite levels of sport and competition, horses may be subjected to questionable practices, including the use of cervical hyperflexion (also known as Rolkur) [7], restrictive nosebands [8], and the over-application of artificial aids [9] that are proving difficult to justify and that, in many jurisdictions, would bring about prosecution if imposed on other species, such as dogs [10]. ...
Article
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The Equine Behaviour Assessment and Research Questionnaire (E-BARQ) is a questionnaire instrument developed to obtain quantitative data on the domestic equine triad of training, management, and behaviour of horses. The E-BARQ was developed to identify how changes in training and management impact behaviour over time, to define normal behaviour in horses, and to discover how to improve rider safety and horse welfare, leading to ethical equitation. During the development of the E-BARQ, we also investigated how best to motivate stakeholders to engage with this citizen science project. The pilot version of the E-BARQ collected qualitative data on respondents' experience of the questionnaire. The pilot questionnaire was developed with the assistance of an international panel (with professional expertise in horse training, equitation science, veterinary science, equestrian coaching, welfare, animal behaviour, and elite-level riding), and was used to collect data on 1320 horses from approximately 1194 owner/caregiver respondents, with an option for respondents to provide free-text feedback. A Rotated Principal Component Analysis of the 218 behavioural, management, and training questionnaire items extracted a total of 65 rotated components. Thirty-six of the 65 rotated components demonstrated high internal reliability. Of the 218 questionnaire items, 43 items failed to reach the Rotated Principal Component Analysis criteria and were not included in the final version of the E-BARQ. Survey items that failed the Rotated Principal Component Analysis inclusion criteria were discarded if found to have a less than 85% response rate, or a variance of less than 1.3. Of those that survived the Rotated Principal Component Analysis, items were further assigned to horse temperament (17 rotated components), equitation (11 rotated components), and management and equipment (8 rotated components) groups. The feedback from respondents indicated the need for further items to be added to the questionnaire, resulting in a total of 214 items for the final E-BARQ survey. Many of these items were further grouped into question matrices, and the demographic items for horse and handler included, giving a final total of 97 questions on the E-BARQ questionnaire. These results provided content validity, showing that the questionnaire items were an acceptable representation of the entire horse training, management, and behavioural domain for the development of the final E-BARQ questionnaire.
... al., 2014). It is necessary to bear in mind that the implementation of the training techniques may suggest the conflict with the biological urges that are the predictors of survival throughout the evolution, which can lead to the confusion of the horse (McGreevy, & McLean, 2007;McLean, & McGreevy, 2010). Synchronization of the training with the biological base of the horse would significantly contribute to the reduction of the stress level and to the improvement of the wellbeing of the horse. ...
Article
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Persimmon is beloved fruit of warmer southern European areas. It is edible when it softens and astringency is naturally removed but many consumers want to eat hard fruits with astringency removed artificially. Astringency from the hard fruits can be removed by several methods of which exposure to extreme concentrations of CO2 (>90%) seem to be the most user friendly. In this study, we investigated the effect of extreme CO2 concentrations on astringency removal, taste, soluble solids and fruit flesh firmness. Our results show astringency removal can be sufficiently initiated by 24-hour exposure to extreme CO2 concentrations and process is finished within the next three days. Lower CO2 concentrations (70%) need some longer exposure but may have benefit in taste. We observed temporal decrease of soluble solids in the CO2 exposed persimmon fruits probably due to fixation of the astringent soluble tannins. Following changes in fruits flesh firmness during and after exposure to extreme CO2 concentrations reveal a temporal increase in exposed fruits followed by a slower softening process.
... The role of pain in horse sports is part of the growing debate about what constitutes ethical equitation [7,47]. In a flight animal, such as the horse, being unable to resolve aversive cutaneous stimulation causes distress. ...
Article
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The current project aims to build on knowledge of the nociceptive capability of equine skin to detect superficial acute pain, particularly in comparison to human skin. Post-mortem samples of gluteal skin were taken from men (n = 5) and women (n = 5), thoroughbreds and thoroughbred types (mares, n = 11; geldings, n = 9). Only sections that contained epidermis and dermis through to the hypodermis were analysed. Epidermal depth, dermal depth and epidermal nerve counts were conducted by a veterinary pathologist. The results revealed no significant difference between the epidermal nerve counts of humans and horses (t = 0.051, p = 0.960). There were no significant differences between epidermal thickness of humans (26.8 µm) and horses (31.6 µm) for reference (left side) samples (t = 0.117, p = 0.908). The human dermis was significantly thinner than the horse dermis (t = −2.946, p = 0.007). Epidermal samples were thicker on the right than on the left, but only significantly so for horses (t = 2.291, p = 0.023), not for humans (t = 0.694, p = 0.489). The thicker collagenous dermis of horse skin may afford some resilience versus external mechanical trauma, though as this is below the pain-detecting nerve endings, it is not considered protective from external 2 of 15 cutaneous pain. The superficial pain-sensitive epidermal layer of horse skin is as richly innervated and is of equivalent thickness as human skin, demonstrating that humans and horses have the equivalent basic anatomic structures to detect cutaneous pain. This finding challenges assumptions about the physical capacity of horses to feel pain particularly in comparison to humans, and presents physical evidence to inform the discussion and debate regarding the ethics of whipping horses.
... Differentiation between alteration in behavior which is directly the result of pain (Girodroux et al., 2009;Meehan et al., 2009;Zimmerman et al., 2011;Dyson and Murray, 2012;Dyson, 2012;Parkes et al., 2013;Dyson, 2014Dyson, , 2016Plowright and Dyson, 2015;Barstow and Dyson, 2015;Dyson and Rasotto, 2016) and because of other behavior (Warren-Smith et al., 2007;Christoffersen et al., 2007;Visser et al., 2009;McLean and McGreevy, 2010;Hall et al., 2013;Górecka-Bruzda et al., 2015) in ridden horses can be challenging. Lack of recognition of pain may result in stronger or punitive training cues (aids) being applied, potentially to the detriment of equine welfare. ...
Article
Differentiation between alteration in behavior which is the result of pain and that reflecting other behavior is potentially challenging in ridden horses. A ridden horse ethogram has been developed, tested, and combined with a pain score. Nonlame horses generally had lower pain scores than lame horses, although there was a small overlap. To determine if the ethogram could be used to differentiate lame horses before and after diagnostic analgesia had substantially improved lameness, and to verify its use in comparison of nonlame and lame horses, a retrospective study was done. Video recordings of 10 lame horses were reviewed by a trained assessor before and after diagnostic analgesia resolved the baseline lameness and improved any gait abnormalities seen in canter. The ridden horse ethogram was applied to each horse under each circumstance that it was ridden. Occurrence (yes/no) for each of 24 behaviors was recorded. Data were combined with that of an additional 13 nonlame horses and 24 lame horses. After abolition of lameness, the total sum score of behaviors (P < 0.01), sum of facial (P < 0.05), sum of body (P < 0.05), and sum of gait (P < 0.05) scores were all significantly reduced. Fifteen behavioral markers occurred significantly more often in lame horses (P values 0.00–0.05), and an additional 4 markers were only seen in lame horses. For pooled data, all sum markers were significantly higher in lame horses compared with nonlame horses or after resolution of lameness (P < 0.05). The length of the video recordings was not standardized among horses, nor before and after diagnostic analgesia. It was not possible to hide the presence of lameness which could have biased the assessor. Application of the ridden horse ethogram was able to differentiate between lame horses before and after diagnostic analgesia and nonlame and lame horses, although there was some overlap.
... The head should remain in a steady position, as a rule slightly in front of the vertical, with a supple poll as the highest point of the neck, and no resistance should be offered to the Athlete' (FEI Dressage Rules 2016). The position should be maintained without strong permanent pressure (McLean and McGreevy 2010). The horse should flex, extend and rotate the thoracolumbar vertebral column (Table 1) without any tension (spasm) of the epaxial muscles (Johnston et al. 2002Clayton 2004Clayton , 2012Wennerstrand et al. 2004;van Weeren 2007van Weeren , 2013van Weeren et al. 2010). ...
Article
Traditionally and when using objective gait analysis, horses with and without lameness are most frequently assessed trotting in straight lines in hand. Valuable information can be gained from assessment on the lunge and ridden in walk, trot and canter. No studies have quantified lameness during all aforementioned conditions and gaits at once, despite the rapid recent development in equine gait analysis methods. Objective methodologies, previously confined to gait laboratories, are currently being expanded to field technologies using accelerometers and inertial measurement units (IMUs). This publication aims to describe normal gait and the spectrum of pain‐related gait abnormalities and other musculoskeletal adaptations to pain that can be observed in walk, trot and canter during in hand and ridden assessment in straight lines and on a circle on hard and soft surfaces. In addition, it aims to describe briefly how IMUs have been used and areas for further research in the light of what we know from subjective lameness examinations and what is possible with IMUs.
... This may lead the horse to demonstrate increased resistance to the action of the bit, with some horses moving the head into 'above the bit' positions. Alternatively, uncomfortable bit pressure, combined with nasal pressure and poll pressure via the bridle, may be confusing for the horse or painful, resulting in the horse moving the head behind the vertical to release pressure (McLean and McGreevy 2010;Kienapfel et al. 2014). The effect of rider technique and tack on these behaviours needs further investigation in view of the interaction seen between head position, gait scores and rider skill scores (Fig 5). ...
Article
The Ridden Horse Pain Ethogram (RHpE) was developed to facilitate identification of musculoskeletal pain. To determine the influence of rider skill on ridden horse performance and behaviour, the latter using the RHpE. It was hypothesised that gait quality at trot and canter would improve with a more skilled rider compared with a less skilled rider, but the RHpE scores would be similar. Repeated measures investigation. Forty horses, in regular work and presumed by their riders to be nonlame, were ridden by their normal rider (N) and a skilled professional rider (P), performing a dressage‐type test over 8.5 min. Twenty horses were ridden first by rider P, and 20 were ridden first by rider N. The presence of lameness or gait abnormalities in canter was recorded. Standardised video recordings were acquired. All videos were anonymised and presented in random order to the assessors. Rider skill and horse gait quality were graded (Fédération Equestre Internationale scale, 1–10), and the RHpE was applied to each horse using the video recordings. Rider P had a higher median skill score (6/10) compared with the N riders (4.5/10) (P<0.001). There was a correlation between rider skill scores and gait quality scores (P<0.001). The presence of lameness or gait abnormalities in canter, when ridden by riders N and P, varied among horses. The median RHpE score for all horses was 9/24 (range 3–14). There was no difference in mean or median RHpE scores between the N riders and rider P. There was some variance in the frequency of occurrence of specific behaviours between the N riders and rider P. The identity of rider P could not be concealed. There was no direct relationship between rider skill level and the RHpE score, but riders did alter the manifestations of some behaviours.
... Horse welfare in competitive equestrian sports is under increasing scrutiny (1,2), with attention being directed among others to bit-related lesions, which affect horse welfare by potentially causing anxiety, fear, and pain (3). Oral tissues have a strong somatosensory innervation (4,5). ...
Article
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Bit-related oral lesions are common and may impair horse welfare. The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of oral lesions and their risk factors in a sample of Finnish event horses. The rostral part of the oral cavity (the bit area) of 208 event horses (127 warmbloods, 52 coldbloods, and 29 ponies) was examined in a voluntary inspection after the last competition phase, i.e., the crosscountry test. Acute lesions were observed in 52% (109/208) of the horses. The lesion status was graded as no acute lesions for 48% (99/208), mild for 22% (45/208), moderate for 26% (55/208) and severe for 4% (9/208) of the horses. The inner lip commissure was the most common lesion location observed in 39% (81/208) of the horses. A multivariable logistic regression model with data of 174 horses was applied to risk factor analysis. Horses wearing thin (10-13 mm) (OR 3.5, CI 1.4-8.7) or thick (18-22 mm) (OR 3.4, CI 1.4-8.0) bits had a higher risk of moderate/severe lesion status than horses wearing middle-sized (14-17 mm) bits (P = 0.003). Breed was associated with moderate/severe lesion status (P = 0.02). The risk was higher for warmbloods (reference group) and coldbloods (OR 2.0, CI 0.88-4.7) compared with ponies (OR 0.2, CI 0.04-0.87). Mares were at higher risk of moderate/severe lesion status (OR 2.2, CI 1.1-4.5) than geldings (reference group) (P = 0.03). Bar lesions were more common in horses with unjointed bits (40%, 8/20) than with basic double-jointed (10%, 5/52), formed double-jointed (8%, 6/78) or single-jointed bits (5%, 2/40) (Fisher's exact test, P = 0.002). The results of this study suggest that thin and thick bits and mare sex should be considered risk factors for mouth lesions. In addition, in this sample ponies had smaller risk for lesions than other horse breeds. We encourage adopting bit area monitoring as a new routine by horse handlers and as a welfare measure by competition organizers for randomly drawn horses.
... Horse welfare in competitive equestrian sports is under increasing scrutiny (1,2), with attention being directed among others to bit-related lesions, which affect horse welfare by potentially causing anxiety, fear, and pain (3). Oral tissues have a strong somatosensory innervation (4,5). ...
Article
Full-text available
Bit-related oral lesions are common and may impair horse welfare. The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of oral lesions and their risk factors in a sample of Finnish event horses. The rostral part of the oral cavity (the bit area) of 208 event horses (127 warmbloods, 52 coldbloods, and 29 ponies) was examined in a voluntary inspection after the last competition phase, i.e., the cross-country test. Acute lesions were observed in 52% (109/208) of the horses. The lesion status was graded as no acute lesions for 48% (99/208), mild for 22% (45/208), moderate for 26% (55/208) and severe for 4% (9/208) of the horses. The inner lip commissure was the most common lesion location observed in 39% (81/208) of the horses. A multivariable logistic regression model with data of 174 horses was applied to risk factor analysis. Horses wearing thin (10–13 mm) (OR 3.5, CI 1.4–8.7) or thick (18–22 mm) (OR 3.4, CI 1.4–8.0) bits had a higher risk of moderate/severe lesion status than horses wearing middle-sized (14–17 mm) bits (P = 0.003). Breed was associated with moderate/severe lesion status (P = 0.02). The risk was higher for warmbloods (reference group) and coldbloods (OR 2.0, CI 0.88–4.7) compared with ponies (OR 0.2, CI 0.04–0.87). Mares were at higher risk of moderate/severe lesion status (OR 2.2, CI 1.1–4.5) than geldings (reference group) (P = 0.03). Bar lesions were more common in horses with unjointed bits (40%, 8/20) than with basic double-jointed (10%, 5/52), formed double-jointed (8%, 6/78) or single-jointed bits (5%, 2/40) (Fisher's exact test, P = 0.002). The results of this study suggest that thin and thick bits and mare sex should be considered risk factors for mouth lesions. In addition, in this sample ponies had smaller risk for lesions than other horse breeds. We encourage adopting bit area monitoring as a new routine by horse handlers and as a welfare measure by competition organizers for randomly drawn horses.
... al., 2014). It is necessary to bear in mind that the implementation of the training techniques may suggest the conflict with the biological urges that are the predictors of survival throughout the evolution, which can lead to the confusion of the horse (McGreevy, & McLean, 2007;McLean, & McGreevy, 2010). Synchronization of the training with the biological base of the horse would significantly contribute to the reduction of the stress level and to the improvement of the wellbeing of the horse. ...
Conference Paper
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The research aims to obtain the results of the impact of an application of microbial fertilizers in combination with mineral fertilizers on the health and chemical composition of tomatoes. The study was conducted in 2013 and 2014 on the basic experimental plots in two variants (1. inorganic fertilizer and chemical crop protection + microbial fertilizer Slavol, 2. inorganic fertilizer and chemical crop protection-control). In the year 2013, there was no significant presence of diseases and pests, except for the occurrence of Tetranychus urticae. In early June 2014, the symptoms of Phytophthora infestans appeared only in the control variant. In both years of the study, the average total soluble solids, total acidity, and content of N, Mg, K, Cu were higher in the variant with applied microbial fertilizer. Content of nitrates, lycopene, P, Fe and Zn varied depending on the year and treatment. The application of microbial fertilizer has contributed to better health, and the contents of some tomato fruit quality parameters were increased. Key words: tomato, Slavol, diseases, pests, quality
... They found that negative reinforcement was effective in improving some, but not all, behaviors needed for EAS, while punishment was not; the findings that are in line with training studies outside of therapy practices [9,[40][41][42]. Previous research has also indicated that positive reinforcement training has a positive effect on equine welfare and the human-horse bond [37,[43][44][45][46][47][48]; however, the use of positive reinforcement training in therapeutic practice and its effect on equine welfare and therapy performance has not yet been examined. The results of the current study may suggest that differences between sites exist, and a lack of power may be responsible for no significant findings; however, strong trends were found in some tests. ...
Article
While human benefits of animal-assisted therapy programs have been documented, relatively little research has been conducted on behavioral factors that predict a successful equine-assisted services (EAS) horse. This study compares the behavior of experienced and non-experienced EAS horses as well as horses selected for future EAS work in a series of sociability and temperament tests. No significant differences were found between experienced and non-experienced horses in the sociability measures or for most of the temperament tests; however, significant differences were found between groups in the brushing test, with non-experienced horses showing more affiliative behaviors towards the familiar handler and unfamiliar persons. No significant differences were found between selected and non-selected horses in the temperament tests. However, non-selected horses were found to show significantly more affiliative behaviors towards a familiar person during a sociability test compared with selected horses. These findings suggest that the social behavior and temperament of EAS horses may not be significantly different from other available horses not selected for EAS work. Instead, these decisions may primarily reflect subjective impressions of fit. Interestingly, on measures where significant differences were identified, the horses not actively engaged in or selected for therapy were the ones that showed greater affiliative responses to familiar and unfamiliar humans. Reasons for why this may be, as well as future directions in EAS selection, are discussed.
... There are, however, knowledge gaps regarding the correct application of the learning principles among riders and horse trainers (Warren-Smith and McGreevy, 2008;Brown and Connor, 2017), e.g. the importance of the timing of the release of pressure and of always starting with a light signal (McLean and Christensen, 2017). Relentless pressure or unpredictable pressure signals can cause stress and discomfort for the horse (McLean and McGreevy, 2010) and therefore further education of equestrians in the principles of operant and classical conditioning is needed (Telatin et al., 2016). Moreover, it has been found that training horses through negative reinforcement can lead to a negative perception of humans (Sankey et al., 2010) and stress related behaviors (Hendriksen et al., 2011;Freymond et al., 2014). ...
Article
Rein tension signals are, in essence, pressures applied on the horse’s mouth or nose, via the bit/noseband, by a rider or trainer. These pressures may feel uncomfortable or even painful to the horse and therefore it is important to reduce rein tension magnitude to a minimum. The aim of this study was to investigate the magnitude of a rein tension signal for backing up, using negative reinforcement. We wanted to assess how much the magnitude of rein tension could be reduced over eight trials and if the learning process would differ depending on headstall (bridle/halter). Twenty Warmblood horses were trained to step back from a rein tension signal with the handler standing next to the horse, holding the hands above the horse’s withers. As soon as the horses stepped back, rein tension was released. The horses were either trained with a bridle first (first treatment, eight trials) and then with a halter (second treatment, eight trials), or vice versa in a cross-over design. All horses wore a rein tension meter and behavior was recorded from video. The sum of left and right maximum rein tension from onset of the rein tension signal to onset of backing (signaling rein tension) was determined for each trial. Mixed linear and logistic regression models were used for the data analysis. In both treatments, signaling rein tension was significantly lower in trial 7–8 than the first trial (p < 0.02). Likewise, signaling rein tension was significantly lower (p < 0.01), and the horses responded significantly faster, (p < 0.001) in the second treatment compared to the first, regardless of headstall. The maximum rein tension was reduced from 35 N to 17 N for bridle (sum of left and right rein) and from 25 N to 15 N for halter in the first eight trials. Rein tension was then further reduced to 10 N for both bridle and halter over the eight additional trials in the second treatment, i.e. to approximately 5 N in each rein. There was no significant difference in learning performance depending on headstall, but the bitted bridle was associated with significantly more head/neck/mouth behaviors. These results suggest that it is possible to reduce maximum rein tension by half in just eight trials. The findings demonstrate how quickly the horse can be taught to respond to progressively lower magnitudes of rein tension through the correct application of negative reinforcement, suggesting possibilities for substantial improvement of equine welfare during training.
... One essential aim of the driver and grooms is therefore to decrease the number of interactions between horses. This factor is the responsibility of the driver and groom to remain consistent in their demands, by punishing interactions right after they occur, and/or rewarding the absence of interactions, according to learning theory [20]. However, despite their training, interactions between horses may still happen. ...
Article
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In order to improve the housing conditions of stallions in individual boxes, we tested a so-called "social box" allowing increased physical contact between neighbouring horses. This study investigated whether housing stallions in social boxes changes the number of social interactions during carriage driving. We hypothesised that the stay in social boxes would decrease the number of unwanted social interactions between stallions when driven in pairs. Eight Franches-Montagnes breeding stallions were observed when driven in pairs with a "neutral" stallion housed in a so-called "conventional box," strongly limiting physical contact. They were driven on a standardised route over the course of four days before, during, and after being housed in social boxes. The type and frequency of behaviours of the pairs and the interventions of the groom and the driver during the test drives were assessed live and using video recordings. Results from linear mixed-effect models show that unwanted social interactions decreased during and after the stallions were housed in the social box (p < 0.001). Stallions' interactions also decreased over the four days (p < 0.01), suggesting a habituation to the test conditions by learning not to interact, or by subtly settling dominance. The social box tended to decrease unwanted social behaviours of stallions driven in pairs and could therefore be used as an environmental enrichment for horses.
... Based in learning theory from psychology, ES research reconciles horse behavior and ethology with the human demands of modern horse-keeping, training, competition and performance ( McGreevy and Murphy, 2009). The aims of ES are to improve horse welfare while re-evaluating practices that are longstanding and/or taken for granted ( Boot and McGreevy, 2015;McLean and McGreevy, 2010). For example, ES researchers have examined contemporary natural horsemanship practitioners as well as the classical text of Xenophon ( Boot and McGreevy, 2013;Goodwin et al., 2009). ...
Article
One of the aims of equitation science (ES) is to improve horse welfare through a scientific approach. However, little is known about how equestrians perceive ES. To determine what equestrians think about ES, we analysed the ‘everyday talk’ of equestrians participating in an online forum thread debating ES. Using qualitative data analysis techniques, we inferred four beliefs about science that prevented the uptake of ES (science discounts ‘feel’, science is over-rated, science is a gimmick, science is reductionist), and one that supported its aims (science is useful and progressive). These beliefs are discussed with respect to the dual systems of rational and intuitive information processing present among any given population, as well as the triune dimensions of decision-making germane to horse welfare issues (ethical, moral and aesthetic). To avoid unintentionally creating resistance from those who are sceptical about science or ES, we recommend a sensitive welfare-centred research extension and communication strategy that is tailored for audiences and end-users beyond the academic production and consumption of ES.
... This factor may have affected horses' memories of human actions either positively or negatively 29 . There are a number of other potential factors that could have some influence on horse behaviour, such as different training methods and equipment used 18 , fear or novelty of the environment or target 19,23 or curiosity/motivation 22 , housing conditions 1,27 , and more. To date, the most frequently mentioned categorisation of animal responses to a challenging situation are reactive, proactive (farm animals 30 ; horses 4,31 ) or intermediate (farm animals 32 ). ...
Article
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We tested 35 Lipizzan horses older than 5 years, ridden and healthy in three behavioural tests (handling, fear-reaction, and target training test). Physiological (heart rate and heart rate variability) and anatomical measurements (120 head and body distances and angles) were collected to validate parameters that reliably inform on handling/cooperation, fear/exploration and trainability in horses. Utilizing a standard clustering methodology on the behavioural data, we identified four general types of responses and categorised an individual as intermediate, low fearful, horses with low cooperation or low trainability. We additionally analysed the head morphology following Tellington-Jones and Taylor recommendations and correlated the measurements with data from a horse personality questionnaire. Although allocation to a particular personality group was not associated with these two methods, these groups differed in six anatomical characteristics of head and body. Regardless of the group, our results indicated that shorter horses (<75.9 cm) with a wider muzzle (>10.5 cm) are trustworthy, less fearful and easier to handle and train. We also demonstrated that horses with stronger legs and a wider base of the head have a lower heart rate when exposed to the second trial of the handling test.
... Van Weeren agrees, stating that "there is no evidence of its harmfulness when used judiciously" (2013, p. 3). These defences are outweighed by criticism (McLean and McGreevy 2010). At the very least, negative consequences are highly unlikely, as "some veterinarians see the endangering of the health of extensively bended vertebra joints, the hindering of the movements, breathing and perception, just as well detractions from the well being, reaching to pain and suffering" (Meyer 2010, p. 3). ...
Chapter
Competitive dressage is multidimensional. As a sport, dressage horses and riders are expected to perform and gain a competitive edge. As an art, dressage is subject to specific aesthetic evaluation. The best combinations are the ones who run the fastest or jump the highest They are the ones who are assessed as being right, good and beautiful. In competitive dressage, these qualities are considered to result from a particular balance of power expressed in a discourse of submission and control that excludes subservience or coercion. This “disciplinary aesthetic” of dressage can be considered an example of the techniques of discipline that Foucault describes in his account of postcorporeal power regimes. As such, the aesthetics of power in dressage raise important ethical questions. The most heated debates in dressage today center on two particular disciplinary techniques; hyperflexion of the horse’s neck (rollkur) and (more recently) restrictive nosebands. Drawing from research on bullfighting, the dressage rulebook and considerations from an academic equestrian, I demonstrate how these debates are not just ethical, they have attendant aesthetic dimensions. I conclude that sustainable dressage relies on the alignment of its athletic, aesthetic and ethical dimensions.
Article
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Horse handlers often encounter problem behaviour resulting from a lack of stimulus control. Handlers are often only 15% of the weight of horses, which evolved strong flight responses. Therefore, many riders and handlers resort to the use of “aids” to maintain control of their animals. However, there are increasing concerns about the efficacy and welfare implication of such devices, particularly when applied to sensitive facial structures. One such device is a Dually® headcollar which aims to increase compliance. Despite its popularity, little is known about the effects of this aid on behaviour or stress. The aim of the current study was to determine whether the use of a Dually headcollar improves compliance during handling and, if so, whether this might be achieved with concomitant increases in stress or discomfort. Subjects completed two novel handling tests, one wearing a Dually with a line attached to the pressure mechanism and one attached to the standard ring as a Control. Crossing time and proactive behaviour were recorded as indicators of compliance. Core temperature and the discrepancy between eye temperatures were measured using IRT before and after testing as an indicator of stress. The Horse Grimace Scale (HGS) was used to measure discomfort caused by each configuration of the device. The Dually did not result in more compliant behaviour, compared to the Control (p = 0.935; p = 0.538). However, the Dually configuration did result in a significantly higher HGS scores (p = 0.034). This may indicate that there is an impact on animal welfare by using this device that is not justified by improved behaviour. However, IRT readings of core temperature (p = 0.186) and discrepancy between the eyes (p = 0.972) did not indicate the Dually increased stress in subjects. Taken together, this suggests the Dually is ineffective in naïve horses but causes increased discomfort.
Article
Horse sale advertisements are expected to present horses at their best to entice buyers. In such adverts, the prevalence of severe bits, restrictive nosebands, spurs and whips merits scrutiny because such devices reflect need for strong physical cues and their prevalence may serve as an indicator of training approaches. To examine the occurrence of various types of tack (equestrian gear) 6,580 horse sale advertisements from Australia and North America were inspected for horse demographics, discipline, level, price, any tack and equipment apparent on the horse, rider age and whether the rider was wearing spurs or carrying a whip. Chi-squared analysis and a GLIMMIX procedure determined differences between countries, main factors and their relevant interactions (with significance at a p-value <0.05). The most commonly advertised horse was a bay performance gelding of stock breed working at basic level and priced under $5000. Most horses were depicted in a snaffle bit, dressage saddle and without extra equipment. Thoroughbreds, warmbloods and performance horses at advanced levels were more likely to be wearing more severe bits, restrictive nosebands, head control equipment and ridden with whips and spurs. Examining trends in the range and type of equipment being used on horses can provide insight to the uptake of ethical approaches to ridden horse welfare.
Chapter
Domestic horses are equid members of the class Mammalia, order Perissodactyla, and family Equidae. Horses are obligate herbivores, with nutritional requirements as listed in a table. Adequate space is necessary for exercise, exploration, flight, sharing resources, play, and rolling. Company is essential for all horses, including stallions. Company provides opportunities for mutual grooming and play and allows horses to stand head‐to‐tail to remove flies. Unhandled horses may respond to humans as they would to predators, whereas handled horses' responses depend on their previous interactions with humans. Horses can suffer from several diseases as listed in another table. The best method of euthanasia of horses is usually sedation followed by either cranial shooting or the injection of an overdose of pentobarbitone into the jugular vein. Behavioural signs of distress can include increased locomotory activity, vigilance behaviours, neighing, snorting, pawing, nibbling walls and buckets, defaecation, rearing, kicking stable walls or doors, and high‐stepping 'prancing'.
Article
Spurs are traditionally worn by riders to enable more precise stimuli or ‘leg aids’ to be applied, prompting for changes in locomotion, activity, or direction of the horse. Equestrian competitions have seen eliminations and horse welfare concerns raised because of the presence of blood on the horse related to spur use. The aims of this study were to describe spur use across equestrian disciplines and identify reported risk factors that are associated with an increased frequency of skin abrasion. An online survey was administered via social media platforms, industry connections, and national online media sources. It included questions on rider demographics, spur design, injury rates, and perception of current competition regulations. Inclusion criteria required that participants were aged at least 18 years, a horse owner/loaner/sharer, and resided in the United Kingdom. Eight hundred fifty-eight participants responded, resulting in 628 complete responses for further analysis, 597 from females (95%) and 31 from males (5%). The majority were aged between 18 and 29 years (47%), with 41 participants (7%) reporting their age at 58 years or older. Nineteen types of equestrian activities were reported and categorized into Federation Equestrian Internationale (FEI) competitive disciplines, non-FEI competitive disciplines, and recreational disciplines. Descriptive statistics, odds ratios, and chi-squared tests were used (IBM SPSS v24.0) with an alpha value set at P < 0.05 (confidence interval 95%) unless otherwise stated. 47% of all participants used spurs. Relationships were found between spur use and gender and duration of years riding. Males were 2.88 times more likely to use spurs than females (P = 0.005). Riders within competitive non-FEI disciplines were 1.53 times more likely to use spurs than recreational riders and 1.48 times more likely to use spurs than those competing in FEI disciplines. Longer spur shanks (>32 mm) significantly increased the risk of skin abrasions or hair loss related to spur use (P < 0.0001). Rotating spur designs were 1.5 times more likely to be associated with injury compared with fixed shank designs. Future research should consider motivational factors for equipment selection and how it then affects the horse. This information may aid policy makers to formulate ethical guidelines for equestrian sport but also extends to inform riders of all levels how their choice of day-to-day equipment can affect equine welfare.
Article
The aim of this observational study was to describe the characteristics of circuits performed by horses used in carriage tourism in a tropical city and discuss their implications as a challenge for animal welfare. The tourism circuit of 33 Criollo horses (400 ± 50 kg) was followed by using the GPS from August 31 to December 2nd, 2018, in the rainfall summer season. The environmental temperature, humidity, and accumulated rainfall were obtained from a local meteorological station. The distance and number of trips, the number of people transported, and the time taken for working and resting activities were also registered to report descriptive statistics. A total of 69 trips were observed with a mean distance of 5 ± 0.5 km traveled in 47 ± 16 minutes, the number of trips performed by the horses being as maximum as six per day, and a continuous pulling activity of 4 hours and 42 minutes. The horses rested one day after two consecutive working days; resting within the same day lasted from one to 8 hours. The trips respected the carts’ capacity of 6 people including the driver (∼700 kg); mean daily temperature and relative humidity were 35.25 ± 1.54°C and 43.40 ± 6.58, respectively. No feed or water was offered during the carriage work. Considering that load-pulling capacity of light horses in low-friction surfaces can easily reach 2000 kg, carriage activity observed in the present study demand an under-maximum effort for horses. In addition, the length and intensity of workload does not imply a challenge for horse welfare. Nevertheless, watering practices could be improved and microweather conditions in warmer months should be monitored.
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A proposition addressed here is that, although bitted horses are viewed by many equestrians as being largely free of bit-related mouth pain, it seems likely that most behavioural signs of such pain are simply not recognised. Background information is provided on the following: the major features of pain generation and experience; cerebrocortical involvement in the conscious experience of pain by mammals; the numerous other subjective experiences mammals can have; adjunct physiological responses to pain; some general feature of behavioural responses to pain; and the neural bases of sensations generated within the mouth. Mouth pain in horses is then discussed. The areas considered exclude dental disease, but they include the stimulation of pain receptors by bits in the interdental space, the tongue, the commissures of the mouth, and the buccal mucosa. Compression, laceration, inflammation, impeded tissue blood flow, and tissue stretching are evaluated as noxious stimuli. The high pain sensitivity of the interdental space is described, as are likely increases in pain sensitivity due to repeated bit contact with bruises, cuts, tears, and/or ulcers wherever they are located in the mouth. Behavioural indices of mouth pain are then identified by contrasting the behaviours of horses when wearing bitted bridles, when changed from bitted to bit-free bridles, and when free-roaming unbitted in the wild. Observed indicative behaviours involve mouth movements, head-neck position, and facial expression (“pain face”), as well as characteristic body movements and gait. The welfare impacts of bit-related pain include the noxiousness of the pain itself as well as likely anxiety when anticipating the pain and fear whilst experiencing it, especially if the pain is severe. In addition, particular mouth behaviours impede airflow within the air passages of the upper respiratory system, effects that, in their turn, adversely affect the air passages in the lungs. Here, they increase airflow resistance and decrease alveolar gas exchange, giving rise to suffocating experiences of breathlessness. In addition, breathlessness is a likely consequence of the low jowl angles commonly maintained during dressage. If severe, as with pain, the prospect of breathlessness is likely to give rise to anxiety and the direct experience of breathlessness to fear. The related components of welfare compromise therefore likely involve pain, breathlessness, anxiety, and fear. Finally, a 12-point strategy is proposed to give greater impetus to a wider adoption of bit-free bridles in order to avoid bit-induced mouth pain.
Article
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The use of training aids within equine training programmes is well established with professional, amateur and recreational riders, and horse owners. However, the claims of training aid manufacturers that the aids promote equine muscle development, gait characteristics, proprioception and the horse's biomechanics have not been evaluated scientifically. Evidence of the impact of training aids on equine behaviour and welfare is also limited. As a result, there is a limited amount of resources available to horse owners, trainers and veterinary professionals wishing to take an evidence-informed approach to the use of training aids. This review considers factors that operators should evaluate when using training aids and explores the evidence base available to help support an ethical approach to equine training and rehabilitation.
Article
This article focuses on interspecies communication between rider and jumper horse (show jumpers), as well as its effect on equine sport performance, on the basis of individual differences of riding style and skill. Its primary goal was to discover the consequences of the possible differences in horse performance due to the number of riders who have changed over the course of the horse performing career. Unfortunately, the data used do not allow to determine whether the change of rider also meant a change in the social environment with all contexts (moving the horse to other stable, among other horses, and the use of other training methods). Nevertheless, the change of rider represents a number of individual deviations in the rider's effect on the horse. Riders communicate in the same language, but each rider has a different “handwriting.” The secondary goal of this study is to identify the age at which a competitive jumping horse reaches its maximum competitive performance. A total of 3,097 horse competitive result histories were used in the study, covering participation in 277,198 jumping competitions. The database was divided into three groups as per the competitive success of horses. The data were collected by the Czech Association of Horse Breeders Warmblood on the basis of all horse starts in horse jumping competitions during the years 1997-2009. Within these groups, horses were compared depending on whether they were ridden by one to two riders, three to four riders, and five or more riders over the course of their careers. The results show that among most horse groups their peak performance, represented by the highest level of competition difficulty, was reached in their tenth year of age. In all groups of horses, divided as per their competitive success rates, the best performance was achieved by those with a maximum of two riders over the course of their career. The results clearly speak in favor of both the social stability of horses and performance success of those horses affected by a less frequent change of the rider. It could be stated in accordance with achieved sports results that fewer riders over the course of a horse's career are for jumping horse’s better variant.
Article
Bucking behaviour in horses is potentially dangerous to riders. There is limited information about how bucking behaviour should be investigated by veterinarians. The objectives of this article are to define bucking behaviour, to review the literature relating to bucking and allied behaviours in horses and describe personal observations and to describe an approach to clinical investigation and management strategies. A literature review from 2000 to 2020 was performed via search engines and additional free searches. A buck is an upward leap, usually in addition to forward propulsion, when either both hindlimbs or all four limbs are off the ground with the thoracolumbosacral region raised. Bucking often occurs as a series of such leaps and different manifestations include ‘pronking’, ‘bronking’ and ‘fly bucking’. Causes include excitement, exuberance, defensive behaviour associated with fear, learned behaviour through negative reinforcement or a reaction to musculoskeletal pain. Specific causes of pain include an ill‐fitting saddle or girth, thoracolumbar pain, girth region pain, sternal or rib injury, neuropathic pain, sacroiliac joint region pain, referred pain and primary hindlimb lameness. Any of these may be compounded by a rider who is fearful, poorly balanced or crooked. Determination of the underlying cause requires a comprehensive clinical assessment, including assessment of saddle fit for horse and rider and suitability of the horse–rider combination. In some horses, identification of a primary source of pain allows targeted treatment and resolution of pain, but careful retraining is crucial. An understanding of learning behaviour is required for successful rehabilitation. It was concluded that identification of the cause of bucking may enable treatment of primary pain which, when combined with retraining, results in management of bucking behaviour. However, in a minority of horses, dangerous bucking behaviour cannot be reliably resolved, requiring retirement or euthanasia of the horse.
Article
Ensuring horse welfare is a central aim in equestrian activities. Training is an important context for welfare, as horses form long-lasting representations of people and actions at a young age. However, only a few studies have addressed horses’ emotional responses during early training with humans. In this study, we followed N = 19 young horses, including naïve yearlings and more experienced two- to three-year-olds, through five foundation training sessions over nine months. Our goal was to combine physiological and behavioral measures to assess emotional responses to early foundation training. Specifically, we measured salivary oxytocin (sOXT) in N = 100 samples and salivary cortisol (sCORT) in N = 96 samples before and after training sessions. We also recoded behavioral responses during training. Changes in sOXT during training predicted individual variation in behavioral responses: Horses who showed more affiliative human-directed behaviors during training had increases in sOXT, while horses who showed more behavioral indicators of discomfort during training had decreases in sOXT. Salivary cortisol was not related to individual behavioral responses, but experienced horses had lower sCORT concentrations both before and after training, and all horses showed decreases in sCORT and in behaviors indicative of fear or discomfort as training progressed. In addition, sCORT increased during longer training sessions, consistent with the established role of cortisol in responding to physical stressors. We conclude that individual variation in positive or negative behavioral responses to foundation training corresponds with acute changes in sOXT concentrations in young horses, suggesting that sOXT may be useful as a non-invasive indicator of emotional responses in young horses.
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Correct assessment of stress in horses is important for both horse welfare and handler safety during necessary aversive procedures. Handlers depend on behaviour when judging how well an individual is tolerating stressful procedures such as loading or veterinary intervention. However, evidence suggests that behaviour may not accurately reflect affective states in horses. This may be explained by individual differences in coping styles, which have tentatively been identified in horses. The current study assessed whether behaviour during two novel handling procedures was associated with physiological indicators of stress. Core temperature, discrepancy in eye temperature and heart rate variability (HRV) were compared with compliance and proactivity shown by horses during two novel handling tests (n = 46). Test A required subjects to cross a large blue tarpaulin on the ground. Test B required subjects to walk through plastic streamers suspended overhead. Physiological indicators of stress did not correlate with time taken to complete the handling tests. This indicates some subjects crossed an object they found aversive. Crossing time may be influenced more by stimulus-control than the level of aversion experienced. The level of proactivity shown was not associated with HRV, HR, core temperature or the discrepancy in temperature between eyes. This suggests that proactive horses, which appear more stressed, show similar stress responses to more reactive individuals. These findings support previous research indicating that behaviour commonly used within the equestrian industry may not provide reliable indicators of a horse's ability to tolerate a stressful procedure. The influence of training and the extent to which a horse is under stimulus-control may overshadow inherent emotional responses, with implications for handler safety and horse welfare.
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Throughout history animals have been used to assist humans in work and play or simply to satisfy our curiosity. Several paintings from Ancient Egypt demonstrate that we have been charming, cajoling and exploiting animals for many thousands of years. One example depicts men hand-feeding hyenas that are shown lying on their backs, a feature that strongly suggests that they were tame. There is evidence from the same source that gazelles, ibex and oryx were equally relaxed in human company. In view of the enormous investment of time required for the gentling of non-domesticated species, it is fascinating to speculate about the jobs these animals performed in Ancient Egypt. Some of the uses to which animals have been put in the past may seem unacceptable by modern ethical standards. For example, the Romans tied songbirds to bushes in their gardens and even used animals to torture and execute their enemies. Animals have long been used to keep vermin such as rats away from human households or grain stores and to act as guards warning of possible intruders. Across different cultures such guards have included geese, guinea fowl and pigs, as well as dogs. Large species such as horses, donkeys and cattle have for many millennia been used as sources of power. In its crudest form this means traction, as in pulling ploughs, sleds or carts. Later, animals were also used to provide power for primitive machines designed, for example, for milling grain or for raising water from deep wells. Similarly, dogs were forced to run in large wall-mounted wheels to turn roasting-spits. None of the forms of work mentioned so far required large changes in the animals’ behaviour. In contrast to these relatively simple uses of animals, in the domains of hunting and herding humans since pre-history have sought to increase their efficiency by investing considerable time in training animals. Training means changing the frequency with which animals show certain behaviours. Unwelcome behaviours become less likely, while desirable ones become more likely. Ancient Egyptians even tamed cheetahs for hunting and the work that these big cats performed may have been seen as the most sophisticated and effective hunting tool then available. However, this is a very unusual example. More generally, hunting and herding were the domains in which the dog truly came to the fore as the most trainable of all species. The role of animals in warfare and in the relative success of different human cultures is often under-estimated. The cultures that have prevailed from ancient origins are those that most fully exploited a variety of animals in combat, especially horses. Chief among the peoples that owed their success to the horse were the Mongol hordes. These excellent equestrians used their horses as sources of milk and meat when they were not exploiting their fleetness of foot for lightning raids on unmounted victims. The training of horses to perform specific behaviours useful in warfare eventually gave rise to the emergence of military riding academies. The haute-ecole dressage movements that the Lippizaner stallions of Vienna now perform in their displays were first developed some four hundred years ago to vanquish enemies in face-to-face combat. Training and riding skills contributed to the success of armies and the survival of individuals. Horses are not the only species to have been conscripted into human conflicts. Dogs and pigeons were used to carry messages during the trench warfare of the World War I. In World War II the Russians used carefully selected dogs as anti-tank operatives, while the U.S. Navy trained dolphins to place explosive devices on the hulls of ships. The same war prompted research into the deployment of pigeons to guide what was intended as the world's first smart missile. Three pigeons were strapped into position and trained to peck a spot on recognition of approximations to their target, this peck being transmitted to the guidance system of a missile that was actually never used. This long tradition of involving animals in human conflict still continues. Dolphins were used to search for mines in the second Gulf War and dogs are used to detect landmines and are trained to search buildings for terrorists with tiny cameras strapped to their foreheads. Explosive detection is becoming ever more sophisticated these days with techniques that concentrate volatile substances from a single site and seal them in small air-tight capsules so that these can be sent to the dog for his opinion. Although the behaviour of intensively trained animals can fascinate us, the animals with which most of us have frequent contact are those that have come into our homes as companions. We may be using animals less in the workplace, but we are not necessarily spending less time with them. Even highly domesticated companion animals need to be trained, although the level of dedication and expertise needed is far below that required to train a Lippizaner stallion or mine-detecting dolphin to perform at a high level. Over the very long history of training animals, a variety of expert traditions have developed. The language used to describe them is just as varied. For example, the way a shepherd describes how to train his dog is very different from the accounts of how they train their animals that might be given by a falconer or by an elephant trainer. The ways in which these different animals are trained also appears to differ enormously and in turn seems quite different from the advice given in a booklet on ‘How to train your pet’. However, the basic idea behind Carrots and Sticks is that these differences are superficial ones and that the same general principles apply to any kind of animal training. We reached this conclusion by different routes. One of us (PMcG) trained as a veterinarian and specialized in animal behaviour, with a particular interest in and love of dogs and horses. The other (RAB) trained as a research psychologist, with a particular interest in comparative psychology and learning theory. This book is a result of our collaboration in trying to make clear what we believe these general principles to be. One set of principles has to do with behaviour that is largely determined by what kind of animal it is. We refer to this as instinctive behaviour. Although this is an old fashioned and ambiguous term, nevertheless it is better than any other label for denoting behaviour more strongly determined by an animal’s genes – its nature - than by its experience – its nurture. Chapter One discusses those aspects of instinctive behaviour that are important from the perspective of an animal trainer, and also the way that instinctive behavior changes as a result of experience; hence the title Instincts and their modification. One of the core principles of training is that based on positive reward; the ‘carrot’. The properties of such learning have been extensively studied by psychologists using various kinds of conditioning methods. This research had led to the principles of importance to animal training that are described in Chapter Two. A related set of principles, described in Chapter Three, have been derived from conditioning studies that have employed aversive events – ‘sticks’ – to find out how punishment works (and sometimes doesn’t work) and how avoidance behaviour is learned. Many attempts at training fail because the trainer assumes that animals have very human-like ways of perceiving and thinking about the world. The limitations of this assumption and the realities of animal intelligence are the main topics in Chapter Four. You are invited to approach the two parts of the book in different ways. The first part can be read in the conventional way from beginning to end, while the second part has a quite different format. It contains a range of case histories to illustrate how the basic principles have been put into practice by trainers. The cases are intended for browsing in no particular order. Since the overall goal of this book is to take the mystery out of training, in the case studies we have unpicked the various processes by which the animals acquired their sometimes amazing behaviours. The accounts of their training are offered as illustrations of training practices. They are not intended as models for readers to emulate. The performances you see represent the end-points of a long process of behavioural modification that may have begun when the animals were very young. Having considered various approaches, you will be better able to decide for yourself whether it is right or wrong that animals are used in these ways. Are certain behaviours undignified? How can animal welfare be ensured when animals are required to work for a living? Should zoos require their animals to perform? Can this enrich their lives? It is possible that your informed response to these questions may then be at odds, say, with your views on riding horses. Regardless of these dilemmas, the information in this book should add to your fascination with the non-human animals with whom we share the world. The main theme of this book is that, despite huge diversity in the aims of different kinds of training and in the way that trainers explain their methods, all successful training depends largely on the principles we discuss in the four chapters of Part One.
Article
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Fluoroscopy was used to visualize the position and movements of different types of bits within the horse's oral cavity. The jointed eggbutt snaffle normally lay between the tongue and palate with the joint hanging down toward the incisor teeth. By arching and elevating the tongue the horse was able to raise the mouthpiece between the cheekteeth. The jointed mouthpiece was suspended in a more horizontal position when keepers were used with a cheek snaffle to fix the position of the bit rings relative to the cheekpieces of the bridle. In addition, the mobility of the bit within the oral cavity was reduced by using keepers. Similarly less intra-oral movement was observed in bits with an unjointed mouthpiece. The Dr. Bristol bit, which has two joints connected by an angled plate, could be attached to the bridle in two ways so that the plate lay either parallel to the tongue and palate or perpendicular to them. This would be expected to have a marked effect on the severity of action of the bit. The high tongue port of the Hannoverian pelham pressed against the palate when the reins were used, causing considerable discomfort.
Article
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Routinely performed painful procedures are of increasing interest and, in 2001 (Royal Order, May 17), Belgium prohibited docking in several vertebrates including horses. In 2004, opponents to this decision submitted a Bill (Doc51 0969/001) to Parliament, intending to obtain derogation for Belgian draught horses, which were traditionally docked. The Animal Welfare Council of Belgium, an official body advising the Minister of Public Health, was asked to evaluate this complex question, including biological, ethical and socio-economic aspects, on the basis of the available peer-reviewed studies. In this context, this study reviews legal aspects (overview of the European legislation), zootechnic aspects (uses of the Belgian draught horse) and biological aspects (pain potentially related to docking; horses' welfare linked to insect harassment and hygiene, communication and reproduction) of tail docking in draught horses. We conclude that (1) there is no benefit for horses in tail docking, including Belgian draught horses, (2) potential advantages of docking are essentially in favour of humans and these advantages could be scrupulously re-evaluated, taking into account practices of other countries. Therefore, there is no need to dock any horse other than for veterinary reasons.
Conference Paper
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In traditional random testing, samples are taken from the set of all possible values for the input types. However, for many programs testing effectiveness can be improved by focusing on a relevant subdomain defined implicitly by the program behavior. This paper presents an algorithm for identifying and randomly selecting inputs from implicitly defined subdomains. The algorithm dynamically constructs and refines a model of the input domain and is biased toward sparsely covered regions in order to accelerate boundary identification and uniform coverage. This method has several desirable qualities: (1) it requires no knowledge of the source code of the software being tested, (2) inputs are selected from an approximately uniform distribution across the subdomain, and (3) algorithmic running time overhead is negligible. We present the requirements for a solution and our algorithm. We also evaluate our solution for both an artificial model and a real-world aircraft collision-avoidance program.
Article
Humans and animals react with distinct emotional coping strategies to pain of different durations or different tissue origins. Active coping strategies (fight or flight) are evoked if pain is cutaneous and of short duration (i.e., escapable). In contrast, acute pain of deep origin (muscle, joint, viscera) or any persistent pain evokes usually a passive emotional coping reaction (conservation-withdrawal). Distinct longitudinal neuronal columns within the periaqueductal gray (PAG) mediate active versus passive emotional coping. Anatomical tracing studies reveal that each PAG column receives a distinct set of ascending (spinal cord, medulla) and descending (prefrontal cortical, hypothalamus) afferents. Functional studies, using immediate early gene expression as a marker of neuronal activation indicate further that each PAG neuronal column is activated in a manner which reflects (1) the tissue origin and or duration of pain; (2) the escapability of the stimulus; and (3) the emotional coping reaction engaged.
Article
Behavioural effects of the use of a shock collar during guard dog training of German shepherd dogs were studied. Direct reactions of 32 dogs to 107 shocks showed reactions (lowering of body posture, high pitched yelps, barks and squeals, avoidance, redirection aggression, tongue flicking) that suggest stress or fear and pain. Most of these immediate reactions lasted only a fraction of a second. The behaviour of 16 dogs that had received shocks in the recent past (S-dogs) was compared with the behaviour of 15 control dogs that had received similar training but never had received shocks (C-dogs) in order to investigate possible effects of a longer duration. Only training sessions were used in which no shocks were delivered and the behaviour of the dogs (position of body, tail and ears, and stress-, pain- and aggression-related behaviours) was recorded in a way that enabled comparison between the groups. During free walking on the training grounds S-dogs showed a lower ear posture and more stress-related behaviours than C-dogs. During obedience training and during manwork (i.e. excercises with a would-be criminal) the same differences were found. Even a comparison between the behaviour of C-dogs with that of S-dogs during free walking and obedience exercises in a park showed similar differences. Differences between the two groups of dogs existed in spite of the fact that C-dogs also were trained in a fairly harsh way. A comparison between the behaviour during free walking with that during obedience exercises and manwork, showed that during training more stress signals were shown and ear positions were lower. The conclusions, therefore are, that being trained is stressful, that receiving shocks is a painful experience to dogs, and that the S-dogs evidently have learned that the presence of their owner (or his commands) announces reception of shocks, even outside of the normal training context. This suggests that the welfare of these shocked dogs is at stake, at least in the presence of their owner.
Article
Olympic dressage involves “an intimate unity between a human and a non-human” and is scored by a subjective judging process, under the auspices of the Fédération Equestre Internationale whose Code of Conduct declares the welfare of the horse as paramount. Dressage is of particular interest to equitation scientists and equine ethologists because it embodies the full range of the stimulus-response contingencies that operate in all of the Olympic disciplines. In Fédération Equestre Internationale dressage competition, collective marks are awarded across four domains immediately after each performance. Collective marks are designed to summarize the performance of horse and rider and must reflect the qualities of the entire performance. They are derived from the observation of the judges of the separate test movements. The 4 collective marks include: (1) paces; (2) impulsion; (3) submission; and (4) the rider's position and seat; correctness and effect of the aids (rider signals). The definition of submission in this context makes reference to lightness and other qualities that align with optimal ridden horse welfare. We assessed the characteristics of these marks in horses competing in the 2008 Olympic Games Grand Prix (GP; n=46) and Grand Prix Special (GPS; n=25) dressage competitions. We also examined the effect of judge location and used Pearson correlation coefficients to explore relationships between collective marks and test-movement scores. All 4 collective marks correlated with each other significantly (P
Article
By definition, ethology is primarily the scientific study of animal behavior, especially as it occurs in a natural environment; applied ethology being the study of animal behavior in the human domain. The terms equine ethology and ethological training are becoming commonplace in the equestrian domain, yet they seem to be used with a conspicuous lack of clarity and with no mention of learning theory. Most of what we do to train horses runs counter to their innate preferences. This article summarizes the ethological challenges encountered by working horses and considers the merits and limitations of ethological solutions. It also questions the use of terms such as “alpha” and “leader” and examines aspects of learning theory, equine cognition, and ethology as applied to horse training and clinical behavior modification. We propose 7 training principles that optimally account for the horse’s ethological and learning abilities and maintain maximal responsivity in the trained horse. These principles can be summarized as: (1) use learning theory appropriately; (2) train easy-to-discriminate signals; (3) train and subsequently elicit responses singularly; (4) train only one response per signal; (5) train all responses to be initiated and subsequently completed within a consistent structure; (6) train persistence of current operantly conditioned responses; and (7) avoid and disassociate flight responses. Adherence to these principles and incorporating them into all horse training methodologies should accelerate training success, reduce behavioral wastage of horses, and improve safety for both humans and horses.
Article
To explore the range of tensions used in reins to elicit specific movements from a range of horses, 22 horses of mixed age, sex, breed and training history were long-reined and ridden through a standard course. The reins contained embedded load cells so that tensions used to elicit specific movements could be measured and logged. These movements were categorised into ‘left turn’, ‘right turn’, ‘going straight’ and ‘halt’ and were separated for left and right rein tensions. The data were analysed using two-sample non-parametric Kolmogorov–Smirnoff tests and the differences between categories of horse and equipment were analysed with one-way analysis of variance. The tensions recorded in the reins were greater for long-reining than riding (median 5.76, Q25 3.9, Q75 13.3N and median 5.29, Q25 9.3, Q75 2.9N, respectively, P=0.025), irrespective of whether the horses were ridden with a halter or a bridle or whether the test was completed at a walk or a trot. The tensions did not differ between the left and right reins (P>0.05) when the horses were being driven or ridden in a straight line, providing evidence that an ‘even contact’ was maintained. The rein tension required for going straight was less than for any other responses, showing that a lighter contact on the reins can be maintained between the application of specific stimuli. The rein tension required to elicit the halt response was greater than for any other response (P0.05). Clearly, a range of rein tensions is required for horses to elicit specific responses. In the interests of horse welfare and avoidance of habituation, those involved in equitation need to become aware of the tensions used in training horses and seek to keep them to a minimum. When rein tension can be measured objectively, this process can be easily implemented and monitored.
Article
By definition, punishment makes a response less likely in the future. Because horses are largely trained by negative reinforcement, they are susceptible to inadvertent punishment. Delays in the release of pressure can make desirable responses less likely and thus punish them. This study examines the correct use of negative reinforcement and identifies a continuum between poorly timed negative reinforcement and punishment. It explores some of the problems of non-contingent punishment and the prospect of learned helplessness and experimental neurosis. It concludes by introducing the concept of ethical equitation.
Article
The objective of the present study was to determine the effect of head and neck position on upper airway flow mechanics in exercising horses. Five Standardbred horses (452 ± 16.5 kg bwt; 4.7 ± 0.9 years [mean ± s.e.]) were exercised at 75% (Period A) and at 100% of maximal heart rate (Period B) with head and neck unrestrained, extended, or flexed. Airflow was measured using a facemask mounted pneumotachograph, while tracheal pressure during inhalation and exhalation (PUI and PUE) was measured using a nasotracheal catheter. With head and neck unrestrained, PUI, PUE, inspiratory and expiratory impedance (ZI, ZE), respiratory frequency (f) and indices describing the tidal breathing flow-volume loops (TBFVLs) were similar to those previously reported. There were no significant changes in the extended position, except that expiratory time (Te) and ratio of peak expiratory flow and peak inspiratory flow (PEF/PIF) were significantly increased in Periods A and B, respectively. In contrast, in the flexed position, ZI was significantly increased in Period B. Also, inspiratory flow at 50% of tidal volume (IF50) was significantly decreased, and PEF/PIF and EF50/IF50 were significantly increased. At period A, PUI was increased and Te was prolonged. We conclude that during strenuous exercise head and neck extension has little effect on upper airway flow mechanics, but that head and neck flexion causes upper airway obstruction.
Article
Many saddle horses are slaughtered at a young age which could be indicative of a welfare problem. Bad riding is probably an underestimated source of poor welfare. Widespread knowledge of ‘academic’ riding should be encouraged and should be beneficial to all horses, at all schooling levels, for all purposes. In particular, 18th century principles tend to be forgotten and in this article the authors illustrate some differences to modern dressage. Various suggestions are made in order to improve welfare.
Article
Discusses the resistance to extinction of avoidance responding, and describes a treatment for hastening extinction. The treatment, known as response prevention (flooding), consists of thwarting the avoidance response while forcing the S to remain in the situation which it fears. Behavior therapy analogues to response prevention are reviewed, and the various factors which determine the efficacy of response prevention with animals are described. Pharmacological and behavioral techniques for enhancing the effectiveness of response prevention are noted. 3 theories (2-process theory, competing response theory, and a relaxation analysis), which attempt to explain why and how response prevention works, are discussed, and it is concluded that no 1 theory provides an adequate account of all the results obtained. (49 ref.)
Article
SUMMARY Twenty four normal, confined mares were unable to lower their heads for 24 or 48 h. In 21 mares this resulted in increases in the proportion of neutrophils and/or numbers of bacteria in transtracheal aspirates. In eight mares the changes in tracheal washes were accompanied by clinical evidence of mild respiratory disease. In three additional cases respiratory signs were accompanied by systemic illness. These changes reversed once the mares were able to lower their heads. Haematological changes (absolute neutrophilia and/or hyperfibrinogenaemia) were mild and occurred more commonly in horses restrained for 48 h. The results suggest that keeping the heads of healthy horses raised leads to an increased bacterial burden in their tracheobronchial secretions. These changes appeared to be related to head posture effects and not simply confinement in stocks. These findings give further weight to the theory that postural drainage may facilitate clearance of bacteria from the tracheobronchial tree. The possible relevance of such findings to post-transportation pneumonia in horses is discussed.
Article
Magnification of cervical radiographs prevents accurate interpretation of vertebral canal absolute minimum sagittal diameter (MSD) values and application of the established MSD values for diagnosis of cervical stenotic myelopathy (CSM). Variability in MSD determination in human beings, owing to radiographic magnification, is minimized by assessing a ratio of the vertebral canal diameter to the sagittal width of the vertebral body. This relative measurement technique improves the accuracy of diagnosis of cervical spinal stenosis in human beings. The MSD of the vertebral canal was determined in 50 horses with CSM and 50 control horses, using a radiopaque marker method for correction of magnification. In addition, a ratio of the absolute MSD to the sagittal width of the vertebral body and a ratio of the absolute MSD to the length of the vertebral body were determined in 100 CSM-affected and 100 control horses. Response operating characteristic curve analysis of each method determined that the sagittal ratio method of canal diameter assessment provided the most accurate interpretation of cervical radiographs for diagnosis of CSM, with sensitivity and specificity of > or = 89% at each vertebral site. The accuracy of the ratio method, without consideration of bony malformation, supports the importance, and perhaps prerequisite, of generalized vertebral canal stenosis in the pathogenesis of CSM. Subjective evaluation of bony malformations from cervical radiographs of 100 CSM-affected horses and 100 control horses indicated that CSM-affected horses have more severe bony malformation than do control horses. However, moderate to marked degenerative joint disease of the articular processes was frequently observed in control horses.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
Article
The results of an experimental study of the motivational consequences of short-term prevention of crib-biting are reported here. Eight test horses wore a cribbing collar for 24 h. This was effective in preventing crib-biting in 6 subjects. Using analysis of co-variance that accounted for baseline differences in crib-biting rate, test horses showed significantly more crib-biting than control horses on the first day after prevention (P < 0.05). There was also a highly significant increase in the crib-biting rate of test horses on the first day after prevention in comparison with their baseline rate (P < 0.01). This defines the increase as a post inhibitory rebound. An increase in the novelty of the cribbing bar and an increase in feeding motivation during the period of prevention are rejected as explanations of the rebound in this study. Instead, it is suggested that the rebound reflected a rise in internal motivation to crib-bite during the period of prevention. Behaviours that exhibit this pattern of motivation are generally considered functional; and it has been argued that their prevention may compromise welfare.
Article
Here we provide confirmation that the 'ramp retina' of the horse, once thought to result in head rotating visual behaviour, does not exist. We found a 9% variation in axial length of the eye between the streak region and the dorsal periphery. However, the difference was in the opposite direction to that proposed for the 'ramp retina'. Furthermore, acuity in the narrow, intense visual streak in the inferior retina is 16.5 cycles per degree compared with 2.7 cycles per degree in the periphery. Therefore, it is improbable that the horse rotates its head to focus onto the peripheral retina. Rather, the horse rotates the nose up high to observe distant objects because binocular overlap is oriented down the nose, with a blind area directly in front of the forehead.
Article
Overshadowing is a process known in behavioral science that occurs when two stimuli of different strengths are applied simultaneously to a nonhuman animal. Typically, the stronger stimulus overshadows the weaker one, resulting in attenuation of the weaker stimulus. This phenomenon explains ways in which the decreased responsiveness and consequent conflict behaviors (and possibly learned helplessness and wastage) in some performance horses can result from the application of two concurrent aversive stimuli. Despite some adverse consequences in the context of ridden horses, overshadowing can have serendipitous benefits because it offers an efficient method of desensitization for certain stimuli that are sometimes highly aversive: the saddle/girth pressure, clippers, aerosols, and needles. Desensitization with concurrent overshadowing appears to be comparatively rapid, particularly with highly aversive stimuli, possibly because attentional mechanisms are diverted to the more salient stimulus. It is important to note that, following the overshadowing procedure, the effects appear to be retained when assessed on subsequent days. Using 4 examples, this article presents a preliminary exploration of the beneficial use of a poorly understood, underutilized--yet promising--phenomenon that warrants further investigation.
An innovative approach to equitation foundation training (backing the horse) within an automated horse walker may reduce conflict behavior in the horse
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Academic horse training: equitation science in practice
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Report of the FEI Veterinary and Dressage Committee's Workshop. The use of over-bending ('Rollkur') in FEI competition, FEI Veterinary Committee meeting at the Olympic Museum
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Rose, R.J., Hodgson, D.R., 1993. Manual of equine practice. W.B. Saunders, Edinburgh, UK.
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A preliminary study on the relation between subjectively assessing dressage performances and objective welfare parameters
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Available at: http://www.sustainabledressage.com/tack/ gadgets
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Henriquet, M., 2004. Henriquet on Dressage. Translated by Hilda Nelson. J.A. Allen and Co Ltd, London, UK.
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The effect of different head and neck positions on the thoracolumbar kinematics in the unridden horse
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