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Persson, Myriam, 2016. Påverkar hästens kön och människans val av disciplin, vilka träningsmetoder som används?. First cycle, G2E. Uppsala: SLU, Dept. of Animal Environment and Health



The focus in this study was to investigate how humans train and communicate with their horses.
The dynamic between horse and human has changed from a dominance-and-submission relationship to a more give-and-take one. As a prey animal, the horse has evolved to communicate visual with each other to increase their chances of survival. This could explain their ability to interpret subtle signals such as eye movement and the human body language. However, research has indicated that the ability to read human signals is a skill that needs to be trained and nothing the horses are born with.
Horses that are to be ridden and trained need to learn how to respond quickly to some human signals, while learning to not react to others as well as possible stimuli in their environment. The training methods available today are based on four cornerstones: positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, positive punishment and negative punishment. The dominating training method in horse training is negative reinforcement, and it is based on the principle to add an aversive stimuli that causing discomfort or pain in the animals. When the horses show the requested behaviour the aversive stimuli disappear. Positive reinforcement is common in other animal training and is, based on reinforcing the requested behaviour with something positive for the horse (e.g. candy or touch).
Stallions are very susceptible to their bodies’ hormonal influences and for fear of injuries they are usually kept individually also at the pasture. Despite that mares can be similarly affected by the hormones during heat making them difficult to handle periodically, both mares and geldings are often kept in groups at pasture.
The purpose of this study was to investigate whether the gender of the horse and the discipline applied affects the way people train them. The material of the study is based on a questionnaire sent out to 40 different horse related groups on the social media Facebook. A total of 603 people responded to the survey. The results indicate that the training methods vary between both gender and discipline although there are some similarities. The voice is used a lot, regardless of gender and discipline, to make the horse obey commands, to praise and to correct it. For correcting the horse, many different techniques were used, which may imply that humans have realized that positive punishing the horse is not the most suitable method. As the stallions were underrepresented in this study, it was not possible to draw any reliable conclusions how they were handled. In the discussion, the different ways to communicate with one’s horse is analysed by using current literature. However, more research is required in this area in order to obtain more specific results on the training in the various disciplines.

Main title:Påverkar hästens kön och människans val av disciplin, vilka träningsmetoder som används?
Authors:Persson, Myriam
Supervisor:Lundberg, Anna
Examiner:Lundin, Lisa
Series:Studentarbete / Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet, Institutionen för husdjurens miljö och hälsa
Volume/Sequential designation:673
Year of Publication:2016
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
Keywords:horse, Equus caballus, träningsmetoder, kön, disciplin
Permanent URL:
Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:Animal husbandry
Deposited On:11 Oct 2016 12:29
Metadata Last Modified:11 Oct 2016 12:29

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