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Are results of Crib Opening Test connected with efficacy of training horses in a round-pen?

By I. Wilk, W. Kedzierski, A. Stachurska, I. Janczarek

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Training the horse is based on human-horse relationship, which requires that the horse shows active, conscious behaviour as well as an ability to learn. It was hypothesized that the horse's learning skill to open the crib is correlated with the effectiveness of training. The aim of the study was to find out whether there is a relationship between the time needed for a naive horse to open the crib and to accomplish first saddling and mounting. 120 horses were examined: 40 Thoroughbreds (TB), 40 Purebred Arabians (PA), and 40 halfbred Angloarabians (AA). There were 20 colts and 20 fillies in each breed group. The times needed by the horse to open the crib (Crib Opening Test) were assumed as a measure of an aspect of learning skill. The effectiveness of the initial training of the horse was evaluated by the times needed to first saddling and mounting the naive horse (Saddling Test and Mounting Test) as well as by heart rate (HR) and heart rate variability (HRV) in Saddling Test and Mounting Test. Horse behaviour during the tests was assessed. It took the TB horses significantly longer to open the crib than it took the AA horses (306 s vs 191 s, respectively). Numerous statistically significant correlations were found between the results of Crib Opening Test and the results of Saddling Test performed by the TB fillies and AA horses: positive with HR, and negative with some HRV parameters. Correlations between the results of Crib Opening Test and Mounting Test were negative with HR and positive with beat-to-beat time (RR) for the PA and AA fillies. It seems that the horses which quickly succeed in Crib Opening Test are calm during the first phase of the initial training until saddling, but they do not willingly accept mounting. However, the relationship between the time of opening the crib and response to the training should be analysed separately in particular horse breeds and sexes.

Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 166
Pages 89-97
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
DOI 10.1016/j.applanim.2015.02.003
Language English
Author Address Department of Horse Breeding and Use, University of Life Sciences in Lublin, Akademicka 13 str, 20-950 Lublin,
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Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animals
  3. Dog Breeds
  4. Efficacy
  5. Heart
  6. Heart rate
  7. Horses
  8. Mammals
  9. peer-reviewed
  10. training
  11. ungulates
  12. vertebrates
  1. peer-reviewed