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The Happy Athlete Part 2

By working a 60-hour week, you manage to keep your horse at a high-end full training facility. You ensure that he has the best of care, top-quality feed, individual turnout in an all-weather paddock, and house him in a beautiful 12x12 securely enclosed stall. He wears a kazillion dollar blanket with multiple interchangeable layers. He is ridden six days a week in a systematic program, and sees his farrier, veterinarian, and massage therapist on a regular basis. What more could you possibly do to make him happy? As I discussed in last month’s article, our subjective assessments of our horses’ well-being are flawed. Horses’ subtle or non-existent behavioural cues of suffering, desensitization to the cues that do exist, and our sophisticated cognitive strategies for moral disengagement all contribute to human error when assessing equine well-being. If we really do aspire to develop the “happy equine athlete” then we need to…

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