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Science Corner

Allergen Chip Now Available for Horses

April 2018

An allergen microchip, developed at the Medical University of Vienna, can be used to identify allergic sensitisation in horses. This is the main finding of an international study recently published in leading journal Allergy.

Przewalski's Horses: New Study Overturns Long-Held Assumptions

April 2018

Research published in Science has overturned a long-held assumption Przewalski's horses, native to the Eurasian steppes, are the last wild horse species on Earth. Instead, phylogenetic analysis shows Przewalski's horses are feral, descended from the earliest-known instance of horse domestication by the Botai people of northern Kazakhstan some 5,500 years ago. Further, the new paper finds modern, domesticated horses didn't descend from the Botai horses - an assumption previously held by many scientists.

E-BARQ: Make Positive Contribution to the Future of Horse Welfare

February 2018

You are invited to participate in the Equine Behaviour Assessment and Research Questionnaire (E-BARQ). E-BARQ is an online survey that will continuously collect data on the training, management and behaviour of horses.

Through Their Eyes: Assessing Our Horses' Quality of Life

February 2018

Take a moment to think about what the term ‘equine welfare’ means to you. Does it describe the animal’s physical condition or does it speak more widely of the animal’s ethology, such as whether it has the opportunity to express natural, species-specific behaviours? Does it mean something deeper still, perhaps delving into the subjective realms of equine happiness, contentment, joy?

Collaboration the Way Forward for Horse Welfare

February 2018

When trying to instigate change for the betterment of horses and their jockeys, to challenge long held beliefs and values, and to introduce new checks and balances to sacred traditions, it is a brave pioneer who dares to peep above the parapet and lead the way.

Equitation Scientists Call for the Development of a Single Descriptive Ethogram

February 2018

Ask a veterinarian, a judge and a farrier to describe a particular horse and you might get three very different answers. Show them a set of behaviours, and ask them to name and characterise them, and you might well believe they were observing different horses altogether. This might be amusing as a party game, but when it comes to discussing behaviour at a scientific level or to comparing one behaviour study with another, it presents a unique set of problems.

Tight Nosebands Associated with Mouth Lesions

November 2017

A comprehensive Danish study on equipment and tack used by horse riders has found a very clear correlation between tight nosebands and mouth lesions. The findings have prompted the Danish Equestrian Federation to announce that, from January 1st 2018, competition stewards will measure noseband tightness using a standardised gauge to ensure a minimum spacing between the nasal bones and the noseband strap - in all disciplines. The new rule will specify there must be room for a certified measurement unit in between the nasal plane of the horse (nasal bones) and the noseband.

When we know better, we do better!

October 2017

Horses today live longer, healthier lives than ever before. We selectively breed horses to jump higher, run raster, move more flamboyantly... But the question many horse lovers would like to know the answer to is this: Are they happy? Are the domesticated lives we provide our horses fulfilling? How do we know what great quality of life means to the horse, and how can we measure it and, of course, could we do better?

Can regular mowing protect from laminitis?

September 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.

Grazers or Browsers? Human Pressure Influenced the Diet of Wild Horses

September 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.


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