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Horses’ responses to variation in human approach

By Lynda Birke, Jo Hockenhull, Emma Creighton, Lisa Pinno, Jenny Mee, Daniel Mills

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The behaviour of humans around horses is thought to have a substantial impact on how people are perceived in subsequent interactions and many horse trainers give detailed advice on how handlers should behave when initially approaching a loose horse. Here we report on three studies designed to explore the effect of different human approach styles on the behaviour of naïve and experienced horses. In the first study, the change in flight distance (distance at which horses started to avoid an approaching human) of twelve semi-feral Dartmoor ponies, undergoing training to allow handling, was assessed. Over the 10 handling sessions median flight distance decreased significantly (p

Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 134
Issue 1
Pages 56-63
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
DOI 10.1016/j.applanim.2011.06.002
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. approach
  2. Flight
  3. Horsemanship
  4. Horses
  5. Humans
  6. Posture