The HABRI Foundation is calling for research proposals to investigate the health outcomes of pet ownership and/or animal-assisted activity or therapy, both for the people and the animals involved. To learn more, visit close

You are here: Home / Journal Articles / The effects of a high-starch or high-fibre diet on equine reactivity and handling behaviour / About

The effects of a high-starch or high-fibre diet on equine reactivity and handling behaviour

By L. Bulmer, S. McBride, K. Williams, J. A. Murray

View Link (HTM)

Licensed under

Category Journal Articles

Increasing performance work in the horse is often associated with a reduction in the forage ration and an increase in concentrates, usually in the form of high-starch cereal grains. This type of diet has been associated with stereotypic behaviours and health problems. High-starch diets are also associated with a high glycaemic response, which has been hypothesised to cause increased reactivity in horses. The aim of this project, therefore, was to evaluate responses of horses to novel stimuli and handling tests when fed a high-starch or a high-fibre diet. A cross-over design study incorporating 2*28 day periods was used to evaluate heart rates and behavioural responses during novel stimuli and handling tests when horses were fed a high-starch or a high-fibre diet. All measures were taken over five equally spaced sample points for each period. Data were initially assessed using factor analysis (Varimax rotation, SPSS) in order to produce combined traits of behavioural and heart rate measurements. A Generalised Linear Mixed Model (Genstat edition 15) was used to analyse the effects of diet on mean data (over the five samples) for each factor as well as for all individual variables. In the handling test, factor 3 (heart rate reactivity) showed a significant relationship to diet ( F1,3=27.77, p

Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 165
Pages 95-102
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
Language English
Author Address Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, Easter Bush Campus, Midlothian EH25 9RG,
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animal nutrition
  3. Animals
  4. Cereals
  5. Concentrates
  6. Diets
  7. Effect
  8. Feeds
  9. Fodder
  10. Foraging
  11. Handling
  12. Health
  13. Heart
  14. Heart rate
  15. Horses
  16. Illnesses
  17. Mammals
  18. Nutrition
  19. peer-reviewed
  20. starch
  21. traits
  22. ungulates
  23. vertebrates
  1. peer-reviewed