Article

The importance of social relationships in horses

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Abstract

Feral horses are social animals, which have to rely on survival strategies centered on the formation of cohesive social bonds within their bands. Many problems in the husbandry of social animals such as horses, are due to the fact that the limits of their adaptive abilities are exceeded. Evidence suggests that the fundamental social characteristics of domestic horses have remained relatively unchanged. The social structure, social strategies and social interactions were investigated (3 non-consecutive years, 24 hr per day for several weeks) in long term established groups of domestic horses (mares and geldings of all ages) and a few small introduced groups, kept in (semi)natural environments. The general aim was to investigate the social needs of domestic horses. The social life of domestic horses was characterised by long lasting bonds with preferred partners which were established and maintained by allogrooming, play, proximity and dominance behaviours. Bonding partners were mainly found within the same sex-age group, but adult geldings also bonded with sub-adult mares and geldings. Adult mares were clustered in a group, while the other animals formed a second group. Among the adult mares, subgroups according to reproductive state were formed. Individuals regulated their social network by interfering with interactions between other members of the herd, which in itself is complex. An intervention is a behavioural action of one animal that actively interferes with an ongoing interaction between a dyad with the apparent aim of altering that interaction. This was verified by post-hoc analyses of disturbed and undisturbed interactions. Interventions in allogrooming or play were performed significantly more often when at least one member of the initial dyad was a preferred partner of, or familiar to (within the small introduced bands) the intervener. The stronger the preferred association in allogrooming between the intervener and member(s) of the initial dyad, the higher the probability the intervener would displace one initial member and continue allogrooming with the other. Just five behaviours were extracted which reliably reflected the dominance relations among horses. Aggression with the hind quarters was used both offensively and defensively and therefore not suitable as a reliable parameter. Individual dominance relationships were related to social experience. The implications of these findings for horse husbandry were assessed. It is argued that the execution of affiliative behaviours may be rewarding in itself, and therefore always will be a highly motivated behaviour. It is shown that social positive physical interactions (allogrooming, play) with other horses is an ethological need and therefore indispensable in modern husbandry systems. Ethological needs are so important for the animal that husbandry systems that lack the possibilities to execute such behaviours will cause chronic stress. It is concluded that all horses need physical social contact, and that horses, which lack appropriate social learning experiences during ontogeny, may be hampered in their social functioning later in life. Solutions for problems, including dominance problems, in individual social housing and group housing are presented.

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... By replacing small, standardized individual spaces with a larger common housing space, equine housing facilities can customize a group housing system to incorporate environmental enrichment by spatially differentiating feeding areas, watering stations, rest areas, rolling spots and exercise areas 26 . New groups that include horses of both sexes and of different ages generally have fewer conflicts over social dominance 70 , and long-term cohesive groups should include multiple horses within each age group to allow companionship between horses of similar ages as is seen among freeranging horses 20 . It is particularly important that horses be allowed to form stable, long-term relationships with conspecifics of a similar age 1 . ...
... Horses can also be stabled in pairs (Fig. 3) if care is taken to ensure that they are socially compatible 8,71 . Hyperattachment can sometimes occur between pairs of horses, particularly if they are preferred allogrooming partners 70 , and this can cause separation anxiety when paired horses are temporarily parted 56 . Caretakers can prevent and treat hyperattachment and separation anxiety by desensitizing and counterconditioning horses to tolerate separation. ...
... Group housing systems facilitate social interactions between housed horses, which can include aggression. Aggression is not always obvious, so caretakers must stay alert to notice aggressive behaviors and discern the aggressors and victims within a social group 70 . Common preludes to aggressive behaviors include horses touching nostrils, then squealing and striking out with their forelegs; horses approaching each other with flattened ears; or horses lashing their tails 32 . ...
Article
Horses and ponies are used for experimental research in a variety of fields, but there is little published scientific literature that describes current or evidence-based recommendations for keeping and managing these species for research purposes. Equine species require particular environmental conditions and allowances to accommodate their behavior and physiology. Here the authors review studies and common practices for ambient facility conditions; provision of bedding, food and water; opportunities for exercise and environmental enrichment; allocation of facility spaces and resources; and design and management of different stabling systems for horses and ponies in research. Careful consideration of these factors can help to improve the welfare of equine subjects in research and to ensure high-quality experimental data.
... Il cavallo ha assunto nella società moderna un ruolo importante come animale da sport e da affezione e la sua selezione è stata finalizzata al raggiungimento di scopi quali velocità, capacità di salto, eleganza dei movimenti, ecc… (van Dierendonck, 2006). Ciò ha comportato un'evoluzione dei metodi di stabulazione, in risposta ad esigenze sia di tipo economico che pratico; il risultato di questa evoluzione ha portato al confinamento dei cavalli in spazi ristretti ed all'isolamento dai propri simili per lunghi periodi di tempo. ...
... Le componenti, fisica e psichica, del benessere animale possono essere influenzate da fattori come stabulazione ed interazione con l'uomo (Meehan e Mench, 2007). I moderni metodi di stabulazione sono funzionali ad assicurare ai cavalli la salute fisica, consentono di avere un monitoraggio individuale (van Dierendonck, 2006) e garantiscono quattro delle "Five Freedoms" sviluppate dal Farm Animal Welfare Council (Webster, 1994; www.fawc.org.uk/freedoms.htm): le libertà da. ...
... Sono stati suggeriti tre aspetti principali (van Dierendonck, 2006) che sono alterati rispetto alle condizioni di vita naturali: la socialità (i cavalli in scuderia sono spesso isolati o hanno limitate possibilità di contatto coi propri simili); il comportamento locomotorio (il confinamento in box spesso si protrae per più di 3 /4 della giornata) ed il comportamento alimentare (sia quantitativo, con fasi alimentari limitate a 2-3 volte al giorno, che qualitativo con razioni tendenzialmente povere in fibra). Ed è su questi aspetti che è necessario intervenire, attraverso modifiche strutturali ed organizzative, che favoriscano, in scuderia, la socializzazione fra i cavalli e fra questi e le persone, che creino un ambiente stimolante e che usino sistemi di alimentazione simili ai modelli naturali (van Dierendonck, 2006). È importante sottolineare come la modalità di stabulazione e l'elemento umano non siano fattori separabili qualora si preveda di intervenire per cercare di allineare i sistemi di stabulazione con i bisogni etologici dei cavalli, considerando l'importanza che rivestono le persone per il benessere dei cavalli di cui si prendono cura (Hausberger e Muller, 2002). ...
Article
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The latest research shows that animal welfare might be affected by the possibility of performing a behavioural repertoire which is as natural as possible, as already stated in the fifth of the "Five Freedoms" developed by the Farm Animal Welfare Council. To make up for modern stabling methods, there is a trend to use environmental enrichment programmes that increase the animals' behavioural repertoire and make it as similar as possible to that of animals in the wild. Also for horses, the modern stabling methods cause alterations between the behaviour of stabled animals and that of animals in the natural state, with remarkable differences above all in terms of sociality, eating and motor behaviours. The goal of this paper was to develop an environmental enrichment protocol for the horses of a horse-riding school that allows to change the current social, feeding and locomotor conditions of the stabled animals through structural, stable management and staff training measures. The programme we proposed and implemented was then assessed by comparing the horses that undergone the protocol with a control group that maintained the original structure and management. Such comparison involved behavioural tests and analyses of in-box ethograms, and the results showed that horses tend to align their behaviours to the natural repertoire when they have an opportunity to do so, and that environmental enrichment may also affect behaviours that are important for the perception of the environment, such as attention and exploration of objects and people. This suggests that stabling methods that provide quantitative/qualitative changes in the stabled horses' behavioural repertoire should be developed and implemented, since this aspect might affect their welfare.
... Keeping horses in stable groups and in adequate densities could improve welfare, because it would give them access to social interactions, such as affiliative interactions (e.g. play and allogrooming), which have rewarding properties and are indispensable behaviours [2,9,13]. ...
... Housing stallions in outdoor groups is likely to have two main benefits, if enough space is available. First, it could increase horse welfare by allowing them to fully express their natural behaviours including social interactions and locomotion [1,2,13]. Second, it could potentially reduce labour required for housing cleaning and exercising horses (H. ...
... Unlike individual housing systems, group housing allows horses to fully express their natural behaviours [2,3,9,13]. The main reason that prevents owners to keep horses in groups is the potential risk of physical aggression, or a lack of suitable grazing land. ...
Article
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Horses are often kept in individual stables, rather than in outdoor groups, despite such housing system fulfilling many of their welfare needs, such as the access to social partners. Keeping domestic stallions in outdoor groups would mimic bachelor bands that are found in the wild. Unfortunately, the high level of aggression that unfamiliar stallions display when they first encounter each other discourages owners from keeping them in groups. However, this level of aggression is likely to be particularly important only during group integration, when the dominance hierarchy is being established, whereas relatively low aggression rates have been observed among stable feral bachelor bands. We investigated the possibility of housing breeding stallions owned by the Swiss National Stud in groups on a large pasture (5 stallions in 2009 and 8 stallions in 2010). We studied the pattern of agonistic, ritual and affiliative interactions after group integration (17-23 days), and the factors influencing these interactions (time after group integration, dominance rank, age or experience of group housing). We found that stallions displayed generally more ritual than agonistic and than affiliative interactions. The frequency of agonistic and ritual interactions decreased quickly within the first three to four days. The frequency of affiliative interactions increased slowly with time before decreasing after 9-14 days. A stable hierarchy could be measured after 2-3 months. The highest-ranking males had less ritual interactions than the lowest-ranking. Males had also less agonistic, ritual and affiliative interactions if they had already been housed in a group the previous year. Therefore, we found that breeding stallions could be housed together on a large pasture, because the frequency of agonistic interactions decreased quickly and remained at a minimal level from the fourth day following group integration. This housing system could potentially increase horse welfare and reduce labour associated with horse management.
... To test whether the encoding of the two emotional dimensions is in accordance with the segregations of information hypothesis 16 , or if they are encoded in the same parameters (trade-off hypothesis 19 ), we investigated vocal correlates of emotional arousal and valence in domestic horses, Equus caballus. Horses are very social animals that, in the wild, live in harems (stallion, females and foals) or in bachelor bands (young or old stallions without a harem) 20 . Vocal expression of emotions should benefit horses by regulating social interactions within groups. ...
... We designed four situations potentially eliciting different levels of emotional arousal and characterized by negative or positive valence, which were likely to trigger whinnies. These situations involved separation (supposedly of negative valence 20 ) and reunion (supposedly of positive valence 32 ) with either all group members (supposedly high emotional arousal) or only one group member (supposedly moderate emotional arousal). In the negative situation ''All-Leave'', all the other horses from the farm (2-4 horses depending on the farms; hereafter ''group members'') were removed, while the subject was kept in its home box or paddock alone. ...
... By contrast, negative emotions are triggered by punishing stimuli that threaten fitness 8 . Horses are highly social animals and separation from conspecifics is thus stressful for them 20,33 . This situation would, in the wild, potentially threaten fitness through greater exposure to predators. ...
Article
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Studying vocal correlates of emotions is important to provide a better understanding of the evolution of emotion expression through cross-species comparisons. Emotions are composed of two main dimensions: emotional arousal (calm versus excited) and valence (negative versus positive). These two dimensions could be encoded in different vocal parameters (segregation of information) or in the same parameters, inducing a trade-off between cues indicating emotional arousal and valence. We investigated these two hypotheses in horses. We placed horses in five situations eliciting several arousal levels and positive as well as negative valence. Physiological and behavioral measures collected during the tests suggested the presence of different underlying emotions. First, using detailed vocal analyses, we discovered that all whinnies contained two fundamental frequencies ("F0" and "G0"), which were not harmonically related, suggesting biphonation. Second, we found that F0 and the energy spectrum encoded arousal, while G0 and whinny duration encoded valence. Our results show that cues to emotional arousal and valence are segregated in different, relatively independent parameters of horse whinnies. Most of the emotion-related changes to vocalizations that we observed are similar to those observed in humans and other species, suggesting that vocal expression of emotions has been conserved throughout evolution.
... We investigated if domestic horses can perceive indicators of emotional valence in whinnies of familiar and non-familiar conspecifics, independently of the context of reception (i.e. using only the acoustic features of whinnies), and if contagion of emotional valence occurs. As a highly social species [35], horses should benefit from acoustic perception of emotions, in order to regulate social interactions within harems (stallion, females and foals) or bachelor bands (young or old stallions without a harem) [35]. Eight call types have been described in this species: whinnies, nickers, squeals, blows, snores, snorts, roars, and groans [36,37]. ...
... We investigated if domestic horses can perceive indicators of emotional valence in whinnies of familiar and non-familiar conspecifics, independently of the context of reception (i.e. using only the acoustic features of whinnies), and if contagion of emotional valence occurs. As a highly social species [35], horses should benefit from acoustic perception of emotions, in order to regulate social interactions within harems (stallion, females and foals) or bachelor bands (young or old stallions without a harem) [35]. Eight call types have been described in this species: whinnies, nickers, squeals, blows, snores, snorts, roars, and groans [36,37]. ...
... emotionally negative), while their motivation to reunite with conspecifics is high (i.e. emotionally positive) [35,44]. Separation whinnies were thus assumed to be of negative valence, and reunion whinnies of positive valence [24]. ...
Article
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Background Non-human animals often produce different types of vocalisations in negative and positive contexts (i.e. different valence), similar to humans, in which crying is associated with negative emotions and laughter is associated with positive ones. However, some types of vocalisations (e.g. contact calls, human speech) can be produced in both negative and positive contexts, and changes in valence are only accompanied by slight structural differences. Although such acoustically graded signals associated with opposite valence have been highlighted in some species, it is not known if conspecifics discriminate them, and if contagion of emotional valence occurs as a result. We tested whether domestic horses perceive, and are affected by, the emotional valence of whinnies produced by both familiar and unfamiliar conspecifics. We measured physiological and behavioural reactions to whinnies recorded during emotionally negative (social separation) and positive (social reunion) situations. Results We show that horses perceive acoustic cues to both valence and familiarity present in whinnies. They reacted differently (respiration rate, head movements, height of the head and latency to respond) to separation and reunion whinnies when produced by familiar, but not unfamiliar individuals. They were also more emotionally aroused (shorter inter-pulse intervals and higher locomotion) when hearing unfamiliar compared to familiar whinnies. In addition, the acoustic parameters of separation and reunion whinnies affected the physiology and behaviour of conspecifics in a continuous way. However, we did not find clear evidence for contagion of emotional valence. Conclusions Horses are thus able to perceive changes linked to emotional valence within a given vocalisation type, similar to perception of affective prosody in humans. Whinnies produced in either separation or reunion situations seem to constitute acoustically graded variants with distinct functions, enabling horses to increase their apparent vocal repertoire size. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12983-017-0193-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
... By contrast, negative emotions result from encounters with punishing stimuli that threaten fitness, and they result in avoidance behaviour 2 . Accordingly, we considered anticipation for food and affiliative interactions as positive contexts 5,[42][43][44][45] . By contrast, social separation and agonistic interactions were considered as negative contexts 42,43,46 . ...
... Accordingly, we considered anticipation for food and affiliative interactions as positive contexts 5,[42][43][44][45] . By contrast, social separation and agonistic interactions were considered as negative contexts 42,43,46 . For the two types of interactions (affiliative and agonistic interactions), we analysed the calls produced from the moment one animal was approaching another (or for 10 s before the interaction if the approach took longer) until 10 s after the interaction ended. ...
Article
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Vocal expression of emotions has been suggested to be conserved throughout evolution. However, since vocal indicators of emotions have never been compared between closely related species using similar methods, it remains unclear whether this is the case. Here, we investigated vocal indicators of emotional valence (negative versus positive) in Przewalski’s horses, in order to find out if expression of valence is similar between species and notably among Equidae through a comparison with previous results obtained in domestic horse whinnies. We observed Przewalski’s horses in naturally occurring contexts characterised by positive or negative valence. As emotional arousal (bodily activation) can act as a confounding factor in the search for indicators of valence, we controlled for its effect on vocal parameters using a behavioural indicator (movement). We found that positive and negative situations were associated with specific types of calls. Additionally, the acoustic structure of calls differed according to the valence. There were some similarities but also striking differences in expression of valence between Przewalski’s and domestic horses, suggesting that vocal expression of emotional valence, unlike emotional arousal, could be species specific rather than conserved throughout evolution.
... This trend is not apparent in horse husbandry, which is surprising, given the fact that inappropriate housing conditions, including confinement and lack of social contact have been identified as causes of decreased welfare (Bachmann et al., 2003;Henderson, 2007;Zeitler-Feicht et al., 2002). Depriving horses of social contact with conspecifics during ontogeny may also predispose them to impaired social skills (Van Dierendonck, 2006;Waran et al., 2008) as early social experience, or the absence of it, has been shown to affect later ability to cope with social challenges (e.g. Olsson et al., 1999;Olsson and Westlund, 2007;Shimozuru et al., 2008;Veissier et al., 1994). ...
Article
Group housing of horses is not widely applied in practice despite the welfare advantages of keeping animals socially rather than individually. In particular, concerns have been raised about the possible increased risk of injury and how to introduce a new horse into an established group.This study investigated two hypotheses: (1) pre-exposure of young horses in neighbouring boxes reduces the frequency of aggressive interactions when the same horses are subsequently put together in a paddock compared to horses without this previous box experience, (2) the occurrence of aggressive behaviour, in particular contact aggression in the paddock can be predicted after observing the horses’ social interactions in neighbouring boxes.Danish Warmblood mares (n=20), 2 years old, were kept in two groups of 10 horses. In total, 60 encounters were arranged whereby each horse was confronted pair-wise with six horses from the other group, three according to each treatment: treatment I—box (B) and subsequent paddock meeting (BP), and treatment II—only paddock meeting (P). Horses met in neighbouring boxes for 5min and together in the same paddock for 10min. The frequencies of aggressive and non-aggressive interactions were analysed from video recordings.Total aggression levels between BP and P did not differ, but ‘contact aggression’, i.e. bite, kick, strike, push, tended to be lower in BP compared to P (median BP=1, P=2; p=0.083) and there were less bites in BP than P (median BP=0, P=1; p=0.050). Frequencies of ‘non-aggressive’ interactions, e.g. friendly approach, nasal sniff, were lower in BP than P (median BP=2.5, P=10; p
... Several studies correlate the animal's living conditions with the development of pathologies and behavioral problems such as stereotypies [44]. In particular, social interaction might reduce both the stress of the single subjects and occurrence of stereotyped behaviors [45]. Stereotypies are also related to different orthopedic pathologies during the weaving or colic and dental problems in horses that shows crib-biting [46][47][48]. ...
Article
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Oxidative stress plays an important role in the development of many horse diseases and it has been shown that housing has important implications for the psychophysical well-being of horses. The aim of this study is to determine if there are any differences between the redox status in horses in relation to housing conditions. The four housing conditions analyzed were: single box, without external access and without contact (Cat A), single box with external access and possibility of partial contact (Cat B), group housing with box and large paddock (Cat C), pasture with more than 7 horses and the possibility of green forage for the whole year (Cat D). A group of 117 healthy horses were selected in several private stables in Northern Italy. All subjects treated with any type of drug were excluded. At the end of the enrollment, the 117 selected horses were divided into the four housing categories. Stereotypies were highest in the group of horses in single box, without external access and without contact (Cat A). Oxidative stress was evaluated by testing plasma or serum samples for the following parameters: superoxide anion (WST), nitric oxide (NO), reactive oxygen species (d-ROMs), ferric reducing ability of plasma (FRAP), and the activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD). Simultaneously with the blood sampling, the owners completed a questionnaire with all the management aspects of the horse (signaling, feeding, equestrian activity, vaccinations, foot management etc.). The statistical evaluation was carried out based on the categories previously described, on the presence and absence of stereotypies and on some signaling data obtained from the questionnaire. There were no significant differences in the parameters analyzed between the categories. No significant redox status differences were detected based on the presence or absence of stereotypies. Interestingly, when the age was introduced as selection (<14 and >14 years old) parameter inside the categories, statistical significance was observed for some of the stress markers considered. Finally, independently of the housing conditions, the horses of the most two represented breeds exhibited different values of FRAP. All these aspects are commented in the discussion.
... Their diets range from strictly carnivorous (e.g., cats) to strictly herbivorous (e.g., cattle) and include omnivorous diets (e.g., pigs). They can be highly social, living in family groups within large herds (e.g., horses ;Dierendonck 2005), or facultatively social (cats; Vitale Shreve and Udell 2015). Some species were initially domesticated for their help in hunting (e.g., dogs) and others as livestock (e.g., cows). ...
Article
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In the past 20 years, research focusing on interspecific sociocognitive abilities of animals toward humans has been growing, allowing a better understanding of the interactions between humans and animals. This review focuses on five sociocognitive abilities of domestic mammals in relation to humans as follows: discriminating and recognizing individual humans; perceiving human emotions; interpreting our attentional states and goals; using referential communication (perceiving human signals or sending signals to humans); and engaging in social learning with humans (e.g., local enhancement, demonstration and social referencing). We focused on different species of domestic mammals for which literature on the subject is available, namely, cats, cattle, dogs, ferrets, goats, horses, pigs, and sheep. The results show that some species have remarkable abilities to recognize us or to detect and interpret the emotions or signals sent by humans. For example, sheep and horses can recognize the face of their keeper in photographs, dogs can react to our smells of fear, and pigs can follow our pointing gestures. Nevertheless, the studies are unequally distributed across species: there are many studies in animals that live closely with humans, such as dogs, but little is known about livestock animals, such as cattle and pigs. However, on the basis of existing data, no obvious links have emerged between the cognitive abilities of animals toward humans and their ecological characteristics or the history and reasons for their domestication. This review encourages continuing and expanding this type of research to more abilities and species.
... Issues, such as road collisions involving sulkies and subsequent horse injuries and deaths, are cited in the media as animal welfare concerns although there is no empirical data to corroborate these reports. These views are often based on the negative stereotyping of Travellers, with these views extending to that of Traveller/Gypsy horse owners [75]. Consequently, there is a need for future research into this cultural activity from a Traveller's perspective, thus allowing Travellers the opportunity to discuss sulky racing in the context of these criticisms rather than having to conform to the values and expectations of the settled community [21]. ...
Article
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Traveller horses are often perceived to be exposed to poor welfare due to Travellers’ traditional way of horsemanship. However, few studies have investigated Traveller horse welfare. Hence, the present study aims to explore Traveller horse owners’ attitudes to horse care and welfare. Semi-structured interviews and discussion groups examined 14 Irish Traveller horse owners’ attitudes and approach to horse ownership. Additionally, a body condition scoring (BCS) instrument was assessed for its accuracy and ease of use when applied by Traveller horse owners. Additionally, the BCS system was used to assess 18 horses. Results show that Travellers have a good understanding of horses’ natural behaviours and environment, which is reflected in their management practices. However, barriers to improved welfare are land availability, since landowners are often reluctant to lease to Travellers, and the impoundment of horses as a consequence of fly grazing, under the Control of Horses Act 1996 (Ireland). Furthermore, Travellers regarded the BCS as a useful tool, but would require training to apply the scoring successfully. The results suggest that attitudes and management practices are favourable, but Travellers have limited means to overcome barriers. Therefore, it is necessary to increase capacity building and assist with the acquisition of land.
... Además, también se han observado sociedades multinivel (manadas) en poblaciones de caballos silvestres. En tales manadas las unidades de cría (las bandas familiares) y las bandas de solteros están organizadas como bandas sociales discretas, mientras que la manada como un todo muestra interacción social así como huida coordinada de los peligros ambientales súbitos (Van Dierendonck, 2006: 14, traducción propia; ver también la página 29 del mismo trabajo). ...
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En 1833, cuando tuvo lugar la ocupación militar de Malvinas por parte de Gran Bretaña, las islas se hallaban muy distantes de cualquiera de las bases de aprovisionamiento de los invasores, aun de aquellas más cercanas. Por lo tanto, no solo los protagonistas inmediatos de la ocupación y quienes serían enviados más tarde para asegurar el control futuro del archipiélago, sino también las tripulaciones de su misma u otra bandera que se acercaran a procurarse suministros y efectuar reparaciones en las naves, debieron encontrar sustento en el medio local. El principal recurso con capacidad para satisfacer las necesidades de subsistencia fue la carne de los vacunos ―muchos de ellos cimarrones― que poblaban en libertad ciertos sectores de Isla Soledad, conjuntamente con caballos salvajes. Sin embargo, las particulares características de los animales, que distan mucho de la imagen que hoy tenemos de un bovino criado para consumo humano o de un yeguarizo manso, exigían una experiencia de manejo especí-fica y el dominio de un equipo tecnológico de los que sus demandantes extran-jeros carecían y que intentaron suplir con otros métodos conocidos por ellos y resultados insatisfactorios. Se vieron entonces en la necesidad de continuar recurriendo a una fuer-za de trabajo especializada que poblaba las islas desde momentos previos a la intrusión, es decir, los criollos e indígenas sobre todo provenientes de las pampas del Río de la Plata, de la Patagonia continental y del litoral mesopotámico, llamados gauchos en Malvinas. Eran ellos quienes se encontraban en mejores condiciones de llevar a cabo las operaciones complejas que asegu-raran la captura y el tratamiento posterior de los animales. De este modo, durante las primeras décadas de ocupación, la subsistencia —y por ende, la permanencia— de los británicos en el archipiélago dependió en buena medida de esas personas, que constituían la expresión vigente de una población históricamente radicada en Malvinas desde bastante antes de 1833, y de los ferales que las habitaban introducidos por franceses, españoles y criollos. El tratamiento de estos temas constituye el contenido principal de nuestra obra.
... In addition, van Dierendonck and Spruijt (2012) reviewed evidence that horses that are deprived from social contact with other horses can suffer chronic stress and engage in abnormal behaviours such as stereotypies. For example, van Dierendonck (2006) observed that horses housed in a social-contact-at-adistance system conspicuously anticipated opportunities for direct physical contact with other horses and showed stress reactions when social contact was no longer allowed. Consistent with these findings, Visser et al. (2008) observed that stress-related behaviours and stereotypies were displayed more frequently in individually housed horses than in horses kept in pairs. ...
Article
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For many years, studies on horse social behaviour focused mainly on social organization, dominance and aggression. There are comparatively fewer studies on affiliative relationships among horses, despite their impact on the stability of social groups, reproductive success and welfare. We believe that it is important to gain a more complete understanding of this dimension of horse social behaviour and to identify areas of research which need to be addressed in more detail.This review summarizes the existing body of scientific knowledge on affiliative relationships among horses. Studies were conducted on a large variety of horse populations and environmental conditions, from feral to domestic horses under different management conditions. Moreover, studies conducted to date used different methodologies for data collection and analysis which make meaningful comparisons of their results more difficult. We present their main findings concerning the importance of affiliative relationships for horses and the individual and social factors associated with these relationships. Furthermore, we discuss the implications of these findings for management of domestic horses and propose avenues for future studies. We hope this review stimulates further research in this area and may contribute scientific knowledge to improve husbandry practices and horse welfare.
... Tie stalls highly restrain normal locomotory and social behaviour and should be avoided unless the horses spend most of the day outside the stall. The partitions in single boxes can be made as open as possible in order to guar-antee a sufficient level of social contact (van Dierendonck, 2006). The risk of equine injury is substantial in group housing of horses. ...
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The largest proportion of the world’s horses are still used for work in agriculture and traction, however in the western countries they are increasingly kept for recreational and social purposes, breeding, sport and competition. It is often assumed that horses enjoys better farming conditions than other species, yet they have specific needs which should be fulfilled in order to have a proper welfare. This paper will review the main welfare issues of horses and the following aspects will be considered: nutrition, housing and management, clinical problems, behaviour problems, training and riding, transportation, measuring welfare. Horses are social animals that live in groups in close contact with conspecifics. They spend most of their waking hours moving at walk, grazing and eating grass. Some of the constraints imposed on horses during the last centuries conflict to their naturally evolved behaviour. Effective and humane handling of horses positively affects many important aspects like the safety of man, the performance level and the welfare of horses. It is an essential condition for keeping horses that handlers, riders, trainers, farriers and veterinarians have proper knowledge of the behaviour of the horse in order to fulfil their natural needs and guarantee their welfare.
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Ongerief bij rundvee, varkens, pluimvee, nertsen en paarden in Nederland is geïnventariseerd en vergeleken met een vergelijkbare analyse in 2007. In het algemeen is het ongerief verminderd, maar in geringe mate ten opzichte van het totaal aan ongerief. De rapportage is gebaseerd op gegevens t/m 2010.
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The interest of the following study is to define the bond between human and horse within the Pazyryk community, a culture from the middle Iron Age that was developed in the Altai region (south of Siberia). The aim of this paper is to approach to the person-animal relationship based on the archaeological information from the funerary context, the kurgans. On this matter, four are the elements of archaeological nature that have been consider: the buried horses; their equipment and dresses and the horse representations on objects and tattoos. At the same time, it is wanted to understand the horse as a subject, who can influence in people’s life, and not only as a passive object. All in all, the present work tries to put some light to the question how may the horse have been seen and which roles might it have played within the Pazyryk community.
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Riassunto Le ricerche degli ultimi anni indicano come il benessere animale potrebbe essere influenzato dalla possibilità di poter ese-guire un repertorio comportamentale più naturale possibile, come già indicato dalla quinta delle "Five Freedoms", sviluppate dal Farm Animal Welfare Council. La tendenza, per sopperire ai moderni sistemi di stabulazione, è di intervenire con pro-grammi di arricchimento ambientale che permettano di aumentare il repertorio comportamentale degli animali per renderlo più simile a quello dei soggetti in libertà. Anche per i cavalli gli attuali sistemi di stabulazione determinano un'alterazione dei com-portamenti osservati in scuderia rispetto a quelli in natura, con differenze notevoli per quanto riguarda soprattutto il compor-tamento sociale, alimentare e locomotorio. Lo scopo del presente lavoro è stato studiare un protocollo di arricchimento am-bientale per i cavalli di una scuola di equitazione, attraverso interventi strutturali, di gestione della scuderia e di formazione del personale, per modificare le condizioni sociale, alimentare e locomotoria dei soggetti. L'intervento proposto ed attuato, è sta-to successivamente valutato comparando i cavalli sottoposti al protocollo con un gruppo di controllo che ha mantenuto la struttura e la gestione originali. La comparazione è stata eseguita mediante test comportamentali ed analisi dell'etogramma in box. I risultati hanno mostrato come i cavalli tendono ad allineare i propri comportamenti con il repertorio naturale quando è concessa loro l'opportunità di farlo e come l'arricchimento ambientale sembra influire anche su comportamenti importanti per la percezione degli stimoli ambientali, come l'attenzione e l'esplorazione di oggetti e persone. Ciò sta ad indicare la necessità di studiare ed attuare metodi di stabulazione che consentano una variazione quali/quantitativa del repertorio comportamenta-le dei cavalli in scuderia, in quanto tale aspetto potrebbe influenzare il loro benessere. Summary The latest research shows that animal welfare might be affected by the possibility of performing a behavioural repertoire which is as natural as possible, as already stated in the fifth of the "Five Freedoms" developed by the Farm Animal Welfare Council. To make up for modern stabling methods, there is a trend to use environmental enrichment programmes that in-crease the animals' behavioural repertoire and make it as similar as possible to that of animals in the wild. Also for horses, the modern stabling methods cause alterations between the behaviour of stabled animals and that of animals in the natural state, with remarkable differences above all in terms of sociality, eating and motor behaviours. The goal of this paper was to develop an environmental enrichment protocol for the horses of a horse-riding school that allows to change the current so-cial, feeding and locomotor conditions of the stabled animals through structural, stable management and staff training mea-sures. The programme we proposed and implemented was then assessed by comparing the horses that undergone the pro-tocol with a control group that maintained the original structure and management. Such comparison involved behavioural te-sts and analyses of in-box ethograms, and the results showed that horses tend to align their behaviours to the natural reper-toire when they have an opportunity to do so, and that environmental enrichment may also affect behaviours that are impor-tant for the perception of the environment, such as attention and exploration of objects and people. This suggests that sta-bling methods that provide quantitative/qualitative changes in the stabled horses' behavioural repertoire should be developed and implemented, since this aspect might affect their welfare.
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The objective of this study was to investigate the ability of horses (Equus caballus) to detour around symmetric and asymmetric obstacles. Ten female Italian saddle horses were each used in three detour tasks. In the first task, the ability to detour around a symmetrical obstacle was evaluated; in the second and third tasks subjects were required to perform a detour around an asymmetrical obstacle with two different degrees of asymmetry. The direction chosen to move around the obstacle and time required to make the detour were recorded. The results suggest that horses have the spatial abilities required to perform detour tasks with both symmetric and asymmetric obstacles. The strategy used to perform the task varied between subjects. For five horses, lateralized behaviour was observed when detouring the obstacle; this was consistently in one direction (three on the left and two on the right). For these horses, no evidence of spatial learning or reasoning was found. The other five horses did not solve this task in a lateralized manner, and a trend towards decreasing lateralization was observed as asymmetry, and hence task difficulty, increased. These non-lateralized horses may have higher spatial reasoning abilities. KeywordsDetour behaviour– Equus caballus –Horses–Lateralization–Spatial reasoning
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