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Science Corner

08/14/2017

With Spring upon us in the Southern Hemisphere, many horse owners caring for sugar-sensitive horses will be frantically trying to adopt different management strategies to reduce the intake of sugary pastures to avoid weight gain and/or laminitis. The approaches used probably involve restricting and/or managing their horses’ access to grazing either strip grazing, fitting grazing muzzles and often, by locking horses out of pasture completely or during parts of the day.

08/02/2017

The Przewalski’s horse (Equus ferus przewalskii) - the only remaining wild horse within the equid family - is one of only a handful of species worldwide that went extinct in the wild, was saved by captive breeding and has been successfully returned to the wild.

05/05/2017

Nomad Scythian herders roamed vast areas spanning the Central Asian steppes during the Iron Age, approximately from the 9th to the 1st Century BCE (Before Common Era). These livestock pastoralists, who lived on wagons covered by tents, left their mark in the history of warfare for their exceptional equestrian skills. They were among the first to master mounted riding and to make use of composite bows while riding.

03/17/2017

During difficult veterinary procedures, like scoping and other invasive treatments, it is often necessary to physically restrain the horse for its own and the vet staff’s safety. But, do lip and ear twitches actually sedate the horse or do they restrain through pain? And does their use carry any negative consequences? In a recent study, Benjamin Flaköll and his team of researchers set themselves the task to find out by examining 12 geldings that hadn’t experienced twitching previously, and after examining the data, they warn that ear twitching should be actively discouraged.

02/14/2017

A new study has demonstrated when horses face unsolvable problems, they use visual and tactile signals to get human attention and ask for help. The study also suggests horses alter their communicative behaviour based on humans' knowledge of the situation. Research Fellow Monamie Ringhofer and Associate Professor Shinya Yamamoto from the Kobe University Graduate School of Intercultural Studies have led this study in horse behaviour and communication, with the findings published in the online version of Animal Cognition on 24 November, 2016.

01/11/2017

Human preferences for horse coat colours have changed greatly over time and across cultures. Spotted and diluted horses were more frequent from the beginning of domestication until the end of the Roman Empire, whereas solid colours (bay, black and chestnut) were predominant in the Middle Ages. These are the findings of an international research team under the direction of the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW).  

01/11/2017

Increasing research into conditions such as obesity, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, laminitis, colic, stomach ulcers, rhabdomyolysis, feed hygiene, as well as behavioural abnormalities, have often pointed towards one common important factor in their prevention and management: the correct feeding of forage.  This has led a number of top experts in equine nutrition and health in Europe to work together and review the large body of updated and new knowledge, which has come to light in the past 15 years. 

01/11/2017

Increasing research into conditions such as obesity, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, laminitis, colic, stomach ulcers, rhabdomyolysis, feed hygiene as well as behavioural abnormalities have often pointed towards one common important factor in their prevention and management: the correct feeding of forage. 

11/10/2016

For the first time, a research team from the University of Pisa has measured the synchronisation of heart beats that occurs during horse-human interactions using smart textiles.   Ethologists and engineers from the University of Pisa, Italy, teamed up to measure heartbeat synchronisation induced by the emotional stimulation that occurs during horse-human interactions. They did this by aligning and comparing the respective heart rate variability (the time interval between heartbeats) via a wearable ‘smart fabric’ system.   

10/17/2016

Founder of MB Equine Services, Mariette van den Berg, travelled in June to Europe to attend two very special equine science conferences - the European Workshop on Equine Nutrition (EWEN) and the International Society for Equitation Science (ISES) Conference.  

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