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Birgestrand Jönsson, Amanda, 2023. Girthiness – can actions in connection with saddling influence the horse’s reactions?. Second cycle, A2E. Uppsala: SLU, Dept. of Animal Environment and Health (until 231231)



Girthiness and girth-aversion is range behaviors in horses during saddling, seemingly connected with aversion or discomfort in the situation. Girthiness may also involve over aggression towards the human performing the saddling. Girthiness does not have a widely accepted or known definition, and the underlying causes of the behaviors are not fully determined. Furthermore, prevalence and magnitude are unknown and the knowledge to reduce possible problems is lacking. The reason for girthiness has a variety of theories. People who own horses with this behavior seem to develop strategies to customize their way of saddling up to make it safer for themselves and/or more pleasant for the horse. The aim of this study was to investigate a potential way to make saddling less aversive for the horses. If successful in the short term, this method might even help stop the behavior in the long run. Food is used successfully in different types of horse trainings why it was chosen in this study. Ten horses were observed during saddling under two different conditions: with and without hay. In addition to behavioural observations the horses were tested for pressure sensitivity on three different body parts by using an algometer. The results show that when horses were given hay they showed less aversive behaviors, less mouth related behaviors and less hoof movement. Hence, in the short-term hay is a potentially successful way of alleviating girthiness. However the long term effects need to be studied further.

Main title:Girthiness – can actions in connection with saddling influence the horse’s reactions?
Authors:Birgestrand Jönsson, Amanda
Supervisor:Yngvesson, Jenny and Lundberg, Anna and Bergh, Anna
Examiner:Vilain Rörvang, Maria
Volume/Sequential designation:UNSPECIFIED
Year of Publication:2023
Level and depth descriptor:Second cycle, A2E
Student's programme affiliation:None
Supervising department:(VH) > Dept. of Animal Environment and Health (until 231231)
Keywords:girthiness, girth-aversion, saddling, algometer, mechanical nociceptive threshold
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Deposited On:08 Sep 2023 06:11
Metadata Last Modified:09 Sep 2023 01:03

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