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Science Corner

Working with Horses Reduces Stress Hormone in Children

June 2014

New research from Washington State University reveals how youth who work with horses experience a substantial reduction in stress.

How are horses managed in different countries?

June 2014

Do horse owners in Sweden stable their horses more often than owners in New Zealand? What do owners in France and Holland feed their horses?  Do riders in England use the same bits and saddles as riders in Australia? Do owners in the United States or Spain use the internet the most to find out about horse care?   Are Italian horses more likely to wear shoes or go barefoot?

Horse manure a threat to national parks

April 2014

Led by Associate Professor Catherine Pickering from Griffith University, an Australian research team has investigated the threat horse riding poses to the ecology of national parks, in particular the spread of seed germination through horse manure. 

What Insect is That?

March 2014

The buzz of a single fly, mosquito or midgee around our ears is enough to have us swatting the air or running for some sort of insect repellent. However, the constant annoyance of insects around our horses can cause them to lose their appetite which, in turn, can make them lose weight, start itching on the nearest tree or railing, or have them running through a fence to get away.

Myth Busters

March 2014

Charles Sturt University students have reviewed the latest research to find evidence that supports or busts some of the common questions amongst horse owners, to help you do the best for your horse. Myth 1: Does honey promote wound healing in horses? (True) By Sinead Moran

We Owe it to Our Horses

March 2014

Which type of reward is more effective in horse training - carrots or comfort? How long does it take to condition a horse to the clicker? Why are spooky horses more curious? And, why do we own horses in the first place?    The answers to these questions and many more inspired scientists to study, measure and present evidence-based findings at the 2013 International Equitation Science Conference in Delaware, USA. Read more in this last report by Lisa Ashton, Director of EquiSci.   Good research raises more questions  

Single Gene Mutation Responsible for Pacing

March 2014

Researchers at Uppsala University, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and their international collaborators discovered a mutation in a single gene in horses that is critical for the ability to perform ambling gaits, like pacing. Experiments on this gene in mice have led to fundamental new knowledge about the neural circuits that control leg movements. This explains why some horse breeds are able to move their legs only in diagonal pairs, while others, like Standardbreds, Icelandic horses and Paso Fino horses, can also perform lateral gaits.

Horse gaits controlled by genetic mutation

March 2014

New research in Animal Genetics has revealed that a horse's gait is influenced by a genetic mutation spread by humans across the world. The team behind this new insight, led by Dr Leif Andersson from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, explored the distribution of a mutation in the DMRT3 gene. The DMRT3 gene, known as the 'gait keeper', is central to the utility of horses to humans, as it controls a range of gaits, including the pace.

New equine species discovered in Ethiopia

March 2014

Two teams of researchers have announced their discovery of a new species of fossil horse from 4.4 million-year-old fossil-rich deposits in Ethiopia. Scott Simpson, professor of anatomy at Case Western Reserve University and co-author of the research, says the finding of this "horse fills a gap in the evolutionary history of horses".

Earlier and more reliable detection for horses with PPID

February 2014

New guidelines developed by the Equine Endocrinology Group (EEG) will assist with early and reliable detection of Cushings in horses. Cushings disease, or Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction (PPID) affects the pituitary gland and is associated with elevated levels of hormones in the blood. A condition more common in older horses, those with PPID have a wide range of clinical signs depending on the stage of the disease, from loss of energy and excessive hair growth to muscle wasting.

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