Is Your Horse Happy?
Most of us with any horse savvy feel that we have a solid sense of when our horses are happy, and that we don’t need a whole lot of scientific mumbo-jumbo 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. Fortunately, there are objective measures that can provide greater insight into our horses’ psychological well-being. Here, I will explore why our own understanding of a horses’ happiness is prone to error, and how we might do a better job of ensuring that our horses really are the “happy.” WHY IT IS HARD TO IDENTIFY A “HAPPY” HORSE 1. The problem of stoicism Although most of us believe that if our horses are stressed…
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