Buddy Up: Stressed Horses Respond Better With A Friend

Horses that are stressed or scared are better able to cope when they have another horse nearby. Whether they know the horse or not is of little consequence; the presence of another horse can reduce the first horse’s reaction to what is scaring him and can calm him down after the scare, reports The Horse.

Dr. Claire Ricci-Bonot led a study that paired 32 riding school horses with a companion horse they did or did not know.

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Half the companion horses were taught to not react to an opening umbrella or a striped gymnastics ball being placed near their hooves. The test horses, either with or without a companion they may have been familiar with, were then exposed to the objects.

The research team measured the test horses’ heart rates and reactions, discovering that the horses reacted more calmly to the ball when they had a companion with them, whether they knew the other horse or not.

Their fearful reaction to the umbrella was the same with and without a companion, but the test horse’s heart rate decreased more rapidly when paired with a companion than when alone. This discovery suggests that a companion has a post-reaction calming effect.

Read more at The Horse.

The post Buddy Up: Stressed Horses Respond Better With A Friend appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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