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Maurer, Sophie, 2008. Hur påverkas beteende/känslor och fysiologiska faktorer på människa och häst vid interaktion mellan parterna?. SLU, Dept. of Animal Nutrition and Management (until 231231), Uppsala. Uppsala: SLU, Dept. of Animal Nutrition and Management (until 231231)



The aim of these two studies was to investigate the possible physiological, behavioural and emotional changes that appear after human-horse interactions and also to find an explanation to why they occur. One aspect that is discussed is whether the wellbeing of humans can be coupled to interacting with horses and of how the animals respond to the interaction. The first study was performed on 9 horses and their owners, both parts being subjects to registrations during 4 different interaction treatments. The second study was performed on 6 horses with registrations only being performed on the horses during 2 different treatments.

Nine horses underwent 3 different treatments all performed by their owners (H = stroking of the horses forehead, B = brushing and M = stimulation of the withers) in addition to a control round (K). Each treatment lasted for 4 minutes but observations were performed until after 45 minutes from start. Physiological parameters (blood pressure, heart frequency and skin temperature) and behaviour/emotional status were registered on horses and humans before and after 2 and 4 minutes after the active treatment and 15, 25 and 45 minutes after the active treatment started. Blood samples were collected continuously at the same occasions and were analyzed for plasma concentrations of oxytocin and cortisol. Statistical processing of the data were performed using General Linear Models Procedure and FREQ-Procedure in Statistical Analysis System (SAS).

The horse owners felt significantly happier after M and less sad after H compared to before the treatments. B generated the strongest feeling of affinity towards the horse and in that matter B differed significantly from K. Before K the owners felt more tired than before H and M and they also felt less needed than before H and B. All treatments significantly lowered the mean heart frequency of the humans and after 15 minutes H had also lowered their systolic blood pressure. After 25 minutes B had lowered the diastolic pressure of the humans and after 45 minutes their skin temperature had increased. Skin temperature was significantly lower during K than during H after 2 minutes. Before the treatments started the initial skin temperature was lower for B than for H. Cortisol concentrations decreased after 15 and 25 minutes within K.

The horses rested more hind legs, yawned and scraped their front legs more frequently during K than during H, M and B. After 2 minutes the mean heart rate of the horses was higher during B than during H. Within H the mean heart rate had risen after 15 minutes. The horses' systolic blood pressure was lower during H than M after 2 minutes and also lower than B after 25 minutes. H, M and K had all increased the mean skin temperature towards 45 minutes but after 25 minutes the skin temperature during M was lower than during H. Oxytocin concentrations were higher during K after 45 minutes than during B, H and M and the concentration during H was also higher than during M after 45 minutes.

In the second study, the horses had a significantly higher neck position during H than during B. During B the mean heart rate was higher after 25 minutes than during H. Within B the skin temperature was significantly lower after 4 minutes.

In summary, the first study indicates that interactions between horses and humans affect physiological parameters and behaviour/emotions in both the animal and the human. It also proves that different treatments alter physiological parameters differently. The second study fortifies the theory that stroking the horses head can give opposite physiological responds than does brushing, but the theory was only applicable regarding heart rate.


I dessa två studier har två väldigt olika hästgrupper används. I den aktuella studien användes en relativt homogen grupp travhästar, medan den förstnämnda studien innehöll individer vars åldrar och raser och ägare skildes åt kraftigt. Trots gruppernas olikheter och de i vissa fall olika resultaten från studierna, kan hypotesen om att behandlingarna B och H ger olika fysiologiska responser styrkas i alla fall vad gäller hjärtfrekvens.
De sex hästarna i den aktuella studien har sedan ett år tillbaka inte ”pysslats” med dagligen, varför skillnader i reaktioner på behandlingarna mellan de två studierna skulle kunna förklaras av det.

Main title:Hur påverkas beteende/känslor och fysiologiska faktorer på människa och häst vid interaktion mellan parterna?
Authors:Maurer, Sophie
Supervisor:Jansson, Anna
Volume/Sequential designation:261
Year of Publication:2008
Level and depth descriptor:Other
Student's programme affiliation:1010A Agriculture Programme (admitted before July 1, 2007) 270 HEC
Supervising department:(VH) > Dept. of Animal Nutrition and Management (until 231231)
Keywords:hästar, interaktion, beteende, fysiologiska parametrar, känslor
Permanent URL:
Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:?? 7043 ??
Animal husbandry
Deposited On:06 Nov 2017 08:49
Metadata Last Modified:06 Nov 2017 08:49

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