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Androstenone induces horses to be more compliant with human-horse interactions

By Yeonju Choi, MinJung Yoon

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Olfactory signals play an essential role in communication in animals. Pheromones are volatile or nonvolatile chemicals that trigger social responses among animals. Therefore, pheromone treatment could, in theory, be used to modify horse behavior to improve human-horse relationships. Androstenone (5alpha-androst-16-en-3-one) is a steroidal pheromone found in the saliva of boars and elicits responses across species. However, its role in horse behaviors is not elucidated. This study investigated the effect of androstenone on horse behavior. Trainability (lowering head and moving hindfeet) and calmness tests (standing still with or without a stimulator) were performed with or without applying androstenone diluted with jojoba oil. Treatment with 10 mug/mL of androstenone applied 30 minute before the tests significantly decreased the time for the horses to lower their head compared with the control. The results of the calmness tests had no significant differences compared with the control group. In the pressure mediation test for trainability assessment, a group of horses treated with 10 mug/mL of androstenone moved their hind feet in a significantly shorter time (P < 0.05) than the control group. As a result, androstenone appears to induce horses to be more accepting of general management and training.

Publication Title Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research
Volume 48
Pages 36-40
DOI 10.1016/j.jveb.2021.10.007
Language English
Notes 6ElsevierNew York, USA
Author Address Department of Animal Science and Biotechnology, Kyungpook National University, Sangju, Korea Republic.mjyoonemail@gmail.com
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animal physiology
  3. Animals
  4. Anthrozoology
  5. Behavioral research
  6. Biochemistry
  7. Biology
  8. Communication
  9. Horses
  10. Humans
  11. Mammals
  12. Men
  13. odors
  14. oils
  15. pheromones
  16. physiology
  17. Physiology and biochemistry
  18. Primates
  19. Sport animals
  20. steroids
  21. training of animals
  22. ungulates
  23. vertebrates
  24. Zoology