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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
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. Communication
  8. Horses
  9. Humans
  10. Mammals
  11. Men
  12. odors
  13. pheromones
  14. physiology
  15. Physiology and biochemistry
  16. Primates
  17. Sport animals
  18. steroids
  19. training of animals
  20. ungulates
  21. vertebrates
  22. Zoology