Science & Equine

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Written by Marly Coppens

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Responses of various breeds to initial training period

Behavior, forms of communication and trainability in horse breeds are different. This study compared the emotional response of Thoroughbreds, Purebred Arabian and Angloarabs (intended for racing) to initial sympathetic training methods. The effect of sex was also taken into account. Results revealed different responses in terms of heart rate and the time needed to pass particular training stages.

The sympathetic training technique is a freestyle training method. It contains groundwork, teaching the horse to avoid pressure, move in a long line and getting the horse used to equipment. Training was given by one licensed trainer who was unfamiliar with the horses. For 3 days in a row all horses got one training a day for 30 to 60 minutes. In total 72 horses: 24 Thoroughbreds, 24 Purebred Arabians, and 24 Angloarabs were used. Each breed group consisted of 12 colts and 12 fillies.

The figure below displays the mean training stage time for different horse breeds in following days. The Angloarabs took the longest to complete the training stages and therefor more than half of them could not get mounted in 3 days. Besides that, in terms of heart rate, their response to the training was the highest. The study also found higher heart rates for fillies in Purebred Arabian and Angloarabs than for colts. This may imply that fillies require particularly gentle treatment.

> I. Janczarek et al. / Journal of Equine Veterinary Science 33 (2013) 794-801 All rights reserved to 2013 Elsevier Inc. Click here for the J-EVS summary


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