Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Trailering: Simple Trick Soothes Horses

by Liz Osborn (copyright)

Researchers have uncovered an easy way to calm horses that are nervous about traveling alone in a trailer. Horses and ponies generally feel more comfortable sharing a trailer in the company of another equine. But when only one horse is being transported, researchers have found that the loner can be tricked into feeling less alone.

Scientists at Nottingham Trent University in the United Kingdom confirmed the comforting influence of surrogate companionship in a study of 12 mature horses. The animals were each transported in a horse trailer for half-an-hour under three different conditions. To determine stress levels in the traveling horses, researchers noted behaviours such as pawing, neighing, head-tossing and feeding. Several physical signs of the horses were also monitored.

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