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.: Home > Animal Science Papers and Reports > 2015 > Volume 33 Number 4 > Aleksandra Górecka-Bruzda1 *, Ewa Jastrzębska2 , Ewa Gajewska2 , Anna Muszyńska2 , Barbara Pieniążek2

Results of behavioural tests of horses are predictive of perceived safety in riders

Aleksandra Górecka-Bruzda1 *, Ewa Jastrzębska2 , Ewa Gajewska2 , Anna Muszyńska2 , Barbara Pieniążek2
Institute of Genetics and Animal Breeding, Polish Academy of Sciences, Jastrzębiec, Postępu 36A, 05-552 Magdalenka, Poland 2 Department of University of Warmia and Mazury, Oczapowskiego 5, 10-719 Olsztyn, Poland
Abstract :

Behavioural problems and shyness are prevalent horse-related causes of accidents in equitation. The aim of the present study was to examine whether tests developed to measure the intensity of reaction to social separation and to novelty and suddenness can predict how riders perceive their safety when handling and riding a horse. Thirteen leisure horses were subjected to the battery of three fear tests, separation test and a test ride. The horses that were more fearful toward a novel surface were perceived to be less secure when handling. The horses showing fear in the startling object test were also perceived as less secure in both handling and riding. Unexpectedly, in the separation test, the more time the horse had remained a standing position, the more insecure when saddling, mounting, walking and trotting was scored. Similarly, a relaxed body posture with the head in a low position was predictive to a low security score by riders. It may be supposed that the horses that are comfortable when isolated are self-reliant and independent in comparison to other horses, but probably also in other situations, which might make them difficult to be managed by humans. Behavioural tests could be predictive not only for equine personality traits, but also may be applied in the assessment of rider’s perceived safety. Thus, they may serve as tools to differentiate horses in terms of their suitability for leisure riders. 

Keywords :
reactivity tests / separation tests / safety / equitation / horse / rider

Date Deposited : 06 Jan 2016 10:15

Last Modified : 06 Jan 2016 10:15

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Volume 33, Number 4, October 2015 , ISSN 109-117

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