Date of Award

2015

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Department

Agriculture

First Advisor

Katherine Koudele

Abstract

The goal of this study was to determine if there was a relationship between horse temperament and incidence of misbehavior due to the stress of being ridden by riders with a wide range of ability during the course of a summer camp session (9 weeks). It was hypothesized that horses with a social or aloof temperament would be able to adjust with more ease, while those with a fearful or challenging temperament would have a higher incidence of misbehavior. Each horse was evaluated for temperament at the beginning of the summer camp season. In the following weeks every rider was evaluated for rider skill level; their skill level, their lengths of trail rides, and incidences of horse misbehavior on those rides were all recorded. The rider skill level was multiplied by the length of the ride in minutes to develop a stress index. A significant relationship (p <.0001) between equine stress levels and the level of misbehavior was shown to vary by temperament with lower incidence of undesirable behavior exhibited by the social and aloof horses.

Subject Area

Horses--Behavior., Horsemen and horsewomen.

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