Stress study paints surprising picture of the lives of horses

by Horse Talk Go to source article »

Proper management of horses by humans may be more respectful of their well-being than life in the wilderness, the findings of research suggest.

Italian researchers based their findings on an analysis of cortisol levels in horse hair, which is considered an indicator of chronic stress levels. Horse hair provides a matrix where cortisol can accumulate over time, forming a stress “archive”.

They found that horses in the wild faced higher ongoing stresses than those living in stables – even those engaged in police work, which is generally considered stressful.

Dr Francesco Cerasoli and his fellow researchers put the increased stress seen in free-living horses down to the risk from predators, the search for food and water, and social dynamics, when compared to those who were stabled and well managed.

The study, reported recently in the journal Animals, was conducted by the Animal Welfare Department of the Experimental Zooprophylactic Institute of Teramo. Continue reading at Horse Talk »


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Official Blog of The Fund for Horses

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