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The Happy Athlete Part 1

Part 1: Identifying equine psychological well-being Most of us like to think that we recognize when our horses are ‘happy,’ but research suggests that we may not be quite that skilled at discerning equine well-being. Your horse greets you with a welcoming whinny. Snugged in his stall, cozied up in his puffy blanket, safe from the elements, free from potential bullying stablemates, and blooming with optimum physical health, this is a happy horse! Or is it? Most of us with any horse savvy feel that we have a solid sense of when our horses are happy, and that we do not need scientific scrutiny to tell us so. However, research suggests that we may not be as skilled at discerning equine well-being as we think. Subtle or non-existent behavioural cues, human desensitization to equine suffering, and ignorance about what well-being looks like all compromise our ability to identify equine happiness.…

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