Horse Welfare and Wastage

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Understanding horse welfare and wastage begins with looking at the science of their behaviour including the history of horse evolution. Demystifying behaviour allows us to achieve more with our horses and reduce horse wastage, oftentimes a result of insufficient understanding. Behaviour is a result of genetics, selective breeding, environment & care, development, and training, and is heavily influenced by the amount and type of stabling, as well as the use and handling of the horses.

What do you know about horse care, welfare and wastage? This quiz has only 10 random questions to give you an idea about your own knowledge. Taking the quiz is meant to help you assess what you already know, to help you expand your understanding and to help you identify whether further education would be a good plan to become more comfortable with your horse and your mutual relationship. This quiz is NOT meant to pass judgement on anyone! If we do not ask questions of others and ourselves, then we risk safety, welfare and mental well-being for the horse. Take the quiz and challenge yourself. And don't forget, enjoy it!

Created by: Wendy Eagle

  1. A horse's welfare is not in question as long as it has food and water.
  2. It is better to keep horses inside during the dark hours of the winter months.
  3. Lack of response by a horse is in fact:
  4. Patting a horse is an often used as praise by humans. This is not an innate understanding for horses and can indeed be confused for punishment or ill-applied when riding simultaneously with pulling back on the reins to halt the horse, for example after the horse has just cleared a job and the rider is pleased. What would be better praise to consistently use whether on the ground or riding?
  5. What is the Flehmen's response?
  6. Bands can be thought of as "family units" and herds can be made up of many bands. It is normal to have one stallion in a band, true or false.
  7. The concept of "alpha" is often discussed when referring to horse behaviours and to SOME training techniques. Does the idea of "alpha" reflect innate horse behaviour accurately?
  8. Often an overlooked component of horse behaviour, submission, is the basis of herd dynamics.
  9. Horse's eyes have evolved to focus on distance. Close objects and fine detail are therefore lost to a degree. Horses have a reflective coating on the back of the eye that bounces back light that might otherwise be lost, so that it can be absorbed by the rods in the eye. It is this coating (called a tapetum lucidum) that reflects the shine that you see when a horse is caught in light at night. Although no official studies are known, it is believed that horses can see to some degree in dim light, but without details. In daylight, these rods are not working. Consider a trailer - when a horse is asked to enter an enclosed trailer, it is quite possible that what they can see is nothing more than a black cave-like space that from the horse's perspective may contain any number of frightening things. As handlers, we need to consider what the trailer might look like to the horse when we are trying to persuade it to enter. What else from the horses perspective/welfare must we consider when asking a horse to load?

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