Effects of repeated regrouping on horse behaviour and injuries

Publication year: 2011
Source: Applied Animal Behaviour Science, In Press, Corrected Proof, Available online 14 June 2011

Janne Winther, Christensen , Eva, Søndergaard , Karen, Thodberg , Ulrich, Halekoh

Domestic horses are faced with social challenges throughout their lives due to limitations in social contact, space restrictions and frequent changes in social companionship. This is in contrast to natural conditions where horses live in relatively stable harem bands. Currently, little is known about how repeated regrouping affect horse behaviour and welfare, and it is unknown whether horses may adapt to regrouping. In this study, we aimed to investigate the effects of an unstable group structure, caused by weekly regroupings, on behaviour and frequency of injuries in young horses. Forty-five horses were included in the study and were randomly assigned…