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Relationship between behavioural reactions and heart rate in horses during transient social isolation

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Abstract

Six horses were used in an experiment conducted in a tie-stable without boxes. The behaviour of each horse was videotaped and heart rate (HR) was recorded continuously for approx. 104 min during the following test situations: all horses in the stable and no person present; other horses being untied and leaving the stable; the isolated horse alone; and human attempts to calm the isolated horse. The test was conducted twice (on 2 consecutive days). The incidence of bouts of specific movements (turning and pawing) and vocalizations were analysed quantitatively. The HR was significantly higher during the whole time of social isolation, the highest being observed when the other horses were leaving the stable. Human presence evoked a slight increase in HR, probably due to conditioning of horses (expectation of being untied and joining the other horses). The elevated HR was accompanied by increased incidence of specific movements (turning and pawing) and vocalizations. In the majority of test situations the HR was higher when the horses were performing specific movements. The HR decreased on the second day of the test, which might be a result of habituation.

Date 1999
Publication Title Animal Science Papers and Reports - Polish Academy of Sciences, Institute of Genetics and Animal Breeding Jastrzebiec
Volume 17
Issue 3
Pages 101-114
Language English
Author Address Polish Academy of Sciences Institute of Genetics and Animal Breeding, Jastrzebiec, 05-551 Mrokow, Poland.
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Tags
  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animal husbandry
  3. Heart rate
  4. Horses
  5. Isolation
  6. Locomotion
  7. Mammals
  8. Primates
  9. stables
  10. stereotypes