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Schiefer, Maria, 2014. Hästen – en medgörlig kompanjon eller en överexploaterad resurs?. First cycle, G2E. Skara: SLU, Dept. of Animal Environment and Health (until 231231)



The horse was domesticated about 6000 years ago. Since then humans have used the horse for different purposes, such as work force and in sports. Horses are social, group living animals that spend around 16-17 hours a day on grazing. Horses are often kept stabled in single boxes with a limited feeding time. The forage usually contains grain-based concentrates and roughage. The most common training method used on horses is negative reinforcement and the horse is being controlled with a bridle and the legs and feet of the rider. In sports like racing, dressage, and harness racing, different equipment is used on the horse to enhance compliance, control or to increase speed.

The aim of this review article was to investigate, from an ethological point of view, how horses used for work or in sports are restricted, and what consequences may arise.

The result indicate that social preferences are extremely important to horses, and that there are several benefits of group housing, including better behavior towards the trainer and improved learning ability. Deprivation of social interaction can lead to aggressiveness, apathy and stereotypic behavior. Stabled horses in single boxes that have a limited feeding time and are fed with a large amount of grain-concentrate, are at risk of developing ulcers and stereotypic behaviors. Training a horse with contradictive signals or in a coercive manner can lead to the development of learned helplessness. Sport horses show a high prevalence of lameness and musculoskeletal disorders and a great amount of working horses have back- and leg problems and show signs of depression.

Horses should be kept in groups, fed with roughage and held at pastures as default. If humans took greater consideration for the ethology of the horse, the welfare of working- and sport horses would most likely increase.

Main title:Hästen – en medgörlig kompanjon eller en överexploaterad resurs?
Authors:Schiefer, Maria
Supervisor:Lundberg, Anna
Examiner:Hirsch, Elin
Series:Studentarbete / Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet, Institutionen för husdjurens miljö och hälsa
Volume/Sequential designation:584
Year of Publication:2014
Level and depth descriptor:First cycle, G2E
Student's programme affiliation:VK002 Ethology and Animal Welfare - Bachelor's Programme 180 HEC
Supervising department:(VH) > Dept. of Animal Environment and Health (until 231231)
Keywords:häst, välfärd, välfärd häst, hästhållning, hästsport, arbetshäst
Permanent URL:
Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:Animal husbandry
Deposited On:28 Oct 2014 11:47
Metadata Last Modified:28 Oct 2014 11:47

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