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How domestication has affected the behaviour and welfare of the horse

Horses have been man's close companions from time immemorial and are perhaps the most important animals when it come to shaping our society, the most important aspect is that they continue to do so (Hall, 2005; Levine, 2005). Horses have been under domestication for a very long time. The prolonged period of domestication has drastically reduced the wild populations of the horses, the only one left are the wild counterparts of domestic horses called the feral horses and the newly introduced Przewalski's horse. The chronic periods of domestication has resulted in profound changes in the behavior of horses which has resulted in a change in natural selection. In spite of all these factors horses seem to adapt very well with their changing environment and seem to have adhered to most part of their normal natural biological characteristics (Levine, 2005). Although, the subject of horse behavior and management is very important, research in these areas still remains in isolated fragments as the different topics are extensively researched by strong yet small and scattered groups all over the world. This is in contrast to research in other disciplines other than horses where there are numerous closely associated groups in a small locality. This article aims at exploring the normal and abnormal behavioral characteristics of domesticated horses and the welfare issues pertaining to them.

Domesticated Horse Behaviour is Different


Horses have a very complex nature of behaviour which has resulted from years of domestication and bonding with man. Although these animals appear very hardy and strong from the outside they need proper care, husbandry techniques, veterinary attention and support more than any other domestic animal. In addition to this time budget should be correctly controlled so as to provide the horse with as much freedom as possible but with adequate protection. The complex behavior of horses shows them as emotional and loving animals which require the care and need as much as humans do and this will result in better gains for the owner.

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