Research Article

Horse behavior pattern at holiday time subject to its utilization form and morphological type

Angelika Cieśla, Michał Pluta, Paulina Maj

Laboratory of Horse Breeding and Animal Assisted Therapy, West Pomeranian University of Technology, Szczecin, Doktora Judyma 14, 71-466 Szczecin, Poland

Departament of Horse Breeding and Use, University of Life Science in Lublin, Akademicka 13, 20-950 Lublin, Poland

Abstract. The objective of the study was the assessment of the effect of a utilization form of noble horses, ponies and primitive horses managed under the same environmental conditions on their behavior at various riding-related activities during holiday time. A behavior pattern of 4 noble sport horses, 6 noble horses used for recreation and 9 primitive horses and ponies for recreational riding was analyzed. All the horses were housed in the same riding centre. The observations were carried out three times, i.e. at the holiday start, mid-holiday and after it. A scale from 1 point (refusal/undesirable negative behavior) to 5 points (most appropriate behavior, no objections) assessed horse behavior towards an approaching a stranger, cleaning activities, leg grooming, bridling, saddling and working under the saddle. A level of sport horse workload at the holiday season did not differ from that at other seasons (1–2 hrs daily on average). These horses had their permanent riders. The horses used for recreation worked more intensely during the holiday time (4 hrs on average)and carried riders of different skills levels. The behavior of noble sport horses did not show any changes at the holiday season. Whereas the behavior of the horses used for recreational riding was found to be significantly worse as against that of the sport horses during the holiday season. Most problems were observed at leg grooming-related activities in both, noble and primitive horses as well as in the pony group. As for the primitive horses and ponies, cleaning and working under the saddle induced marked worsening of the behavior as compared to the noble horses. Interestingly, the behavior worsened to the same extent in both horse groups at saddling activities. In order to prevent and limit development of undesirable behavioral events in horses, especially those for recreational riding, it is essential to provide constant control and didactic assistance of instructors and other professionals at the horse saddling or grooming activities. Notably, their regular effort should be targeted towards improvement of negative  behavioral responses of ridden horses that occur at the holiday season.

Keywords: horse behavior, riding utility, noble horses, primitive, ponies


This Article

Received: 28 Jul 2017

Accepted: 1 Dec 2017

Published online: 14 Dec 2017

Accesses: 892

How to cite

Cieśla, A., Pluta, M., Maj, P., (2017). Horse behavior pattern at holiday time subject to its utilization form and morphological type. Acta Sci. Pol. Zootechnica, 16(4), 5–10. DOI: 10.21005/asp.2017.16.4.01.