Relationship with horses and humans

Horses and Humans: A Positive Relationship

relationship with horses and humans

Human relationships or interactions with horses have varied throughout history depending on human needs, but it is horses' ability to carry a human individual. PDF | Many living with companion animals hope for “good relationships” based on trust, mutuality, and cooperation. Relationships develop from. Both of these relationships, however, are only examples of how horses benefitted the human race, not of how fulfilling the emotional connection.

These clips were shown to students in Animal Science and Equine Science programs. Students were asked to describe what they observed in each horse and human pair. Common words used to describe the partnerships included cooperation, tension, trust, and attention. These words were identified as themes for which a second group of observers would evaluate the same set of videos.

The second group of observers watched the videos and rated each pair on a scale from one to five on the four themes: The results of these ratings showed that a horse paired with an unfamiliar partner scored lower overall in all four themes than horses paired with a familiar partner.

The human-horse relationship: how much do we know?

For attentiveness, it was noted that a horse paired with an unfamiliar partner spent more time looking around at things separate from the task at hand. For cooperation, it was noted that horses paired with a familiar partner tended to be more willing and relaxed to do as asked.

For example, a horse with an unfamiliar partner was documented to have stopped more often than with a familiar partner.

While these behaviors may not have been highly noticeable by video observers during the performance, a sports analysis program allowed for the clips to be dissected to better find differences that could have otherwise been missed.

Each human participant also watched the videos of their own horse. Some noted that their horse looked around more with an unfamiliar partner showing that they were not as attentive. Also, human participants noted that their familiar horse was not as confident with an unfamiliar partner. They described this by stating that horses spent less time looking at the obstacles and more time looking at the unfamiliar person. This illustrated that the horse was not yet trusting of the partner and thus was not able to relax.

Finally, human participants noted that their horse displayed more resistance with an unfamiliar person; stopping more often or resisting when it was time to lead, leading to more tension on the lead rope.

Collectively, this research illustrates the importance of a positive, established relationship between a horse and their partner by showing that confidence and attention decrease while tension increases when a horse is placed with an unfamiliar person. For more information on this study on the human-horse relationship please read: Horses and Humans in Partnership Hockenhull, J. This will allow you to further develop your relationship.

For example, if your horse is hesitant to lead with you, will not walk up to you willingly, or does not display a calm eye in your presence, it may not trust you. Spending quality time with your horse, such as brushing or massaging them can help to gain their trust. It is also important to use a calm voice and demeanor.

The human-horse relationship: how much do we know?

With regard to cooperation, if your horse is hesitant to do what you ask of it, such as not walking off as instructed, you may need to work on cooperation. The interaction between horses and humans is not without its challenges.

Researchers are taking an increasing interest in the bonds that form between horses and riders. This has no place in trying to ascertain just what is motivating a horse in its relationships with humans. So what is modern-day science telling us about the horse-human relationship?

They identified three central themes of what they called co-being — embodied moments of mutuality and engagement. It is, they say, a kind of anthropo-zoo-genetic practice, where species domesticate each other through being together. Owners came to identify the different personalities, both generally and individually. The relationship was much more complex. Horses, she notes, lead their lives partly with humans, partly with other horses. Horses appeared to learn to relate to people in ways that provide them with good quality of life.

The findings will strike a chord with many owners, who cherish their relationships with horses.

Why horses make the best kind of friends -

But not all relationships will necessarily progress smoothly. Not all relationships are plain sailing. Others researchers have found that horses can buckle under exactly the same kinds of stresses that affect humans: They can lead to frustration and neuroses, behavioral scientists suggest.

Conflicts and tensions can easily arise. Abnormal repetitive behaviors in horses are thought to be a way for animals to cope with an unfavorable stress-inducing environment. So what would seem to be areas of greatest stress?

Why horses make the best kind of friends

An Austrian study confirms that starting a horse under saddle causes stress, which rises markedly during the first time a rider gets on the horse. Schmidt used three-year-old horses at the start of their training.

relationship with horses and humans

Not surprisingly, she found the start of training was a stressful period. Interestingly, when the horse and rider walked or trotted forward, the level of stress decreased somewhat. It could prevent a sport horse reaching its full potential, as well as causing the animal unnecessary anxiety. Schmidt has some reassuring words for trainers and riders concerned about stress levels in training.

relationship with horses and humans

And if you are gentle and careful when you start to train a young horse, it will soon get used to you. Each animal was assessed beforehand for temperament based on fearfulness, group sociability, reactivity to humans, level of locomotor activity, and sensitivity to touch. The study, led by Mathilde Valenchon and published in the open-access journal, PLoS ONE, found that temperament influenced learning performance, but only when the learning or re-learning performances were affected by stress, suggesting that temperament had little influence on learning ability provided lessons occurred in a stress-free environment.

relationship with horses and humans