Friday, December 05, 2014

Foals Follow Dams' Leads When Dealing With Scary Objects - Full Article

By Christa Lesté-Lasserre, MA
Nov 1, 2014

The old adage "mother knows best" doesn't just apply to humans--it appears to apply to horses as well: Danish researchers recently observed that foals that watched their mothers calmly handle scary objects ended up being less fearful themselves.

“It does appear possible to reduce foal fearfulness through the mare,” said Janne Winther Christensen, PhD. She presented her study results at the 2014 International Society for Equitation Science conference, held Aug. 6-9 in Bredsten, Denmark.

Christensen investigated 22 pairs of mares and foals to observe how the mares might transfer habituation to the foals. Habituation refers to a horse’s ability to “get used” to a frightening object so that he no longer reacts fearfully...

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