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Author (up) Kuhne, F.; Struwe, R.; Balzer, H.U. pdf  openurl
  Title A new, non-invasive method to assess specific strain in horses Type Conference Article
  Year 2008 Publication IESM 2008 Abbreviated Journal  
  Volume Issue Pages  
  Abstract Horses" reactions to normal environmental and training situations play an important

role the human-horse relationship. These demands on horses can either lead some

individuals to withdrawal, immobility or aggressive defence. However, the reaction to

such situations varies greatly among horses, which is reflected in individual

differences in sympathetic, parasympathetic and muscular reactivity. The observable

behavioural responses of the horses seem to be qualitatively related to the internal

state of physiological arousal. In future it should be possible to identify behavioural

signs which really do reflect internal states of the autonomic nervous system to

provide general advice concerning human handling and training in view of reducing

stress in horses.

For these purposes, we have determined responses of the vegetative nervous

system based on variation in skin potential, skin resistance and electromyogram

using non-invasive real-time measurements. All these parameters can be measured

by a SMARD-Watch-System (System of non-invasive Measurement and Analysis

for Regulatory Diagnostics), which can be externally attached to the horses using a


The physiological data will assess using a time series analysis. Thereby the changes

in the regulatory processes in each of the three physiological systems can be

determined in detail. Based on this analysis characteristic behaviour patterns will be

analysed by the variability of the regulatory processes. According to temporary shifts

in regulatory processes, stable and unstable regulation states will be determined.

Depending on the proportions of unstable regulation processes during and after

external threat, four types of regulation can be defined: the Control, Cope,

Compensate and Non-cope- type. Defined time-windows, for example a ten minutes

lasting pre- and post-test phase and a ten or twenty minutes lasting time-window for

the execution of the specific stimulus have to be chosen to decide these regulation


These four regulation types and the preferred individual behaviour strategies have to

be compared to evaluate the relative frequency of occurrence of a behaviour strategy

depending on responses of the vegetative nervous system. In view of validating

behavioural indicators of emotional reactivity, the aim of this new method is to

characterize individual differences in the behavioural and physiological responses of

horses to normal environmental and training stimuli.

Evidence is provided by human and animal data that the non-invasive real-time

measurement of the vegetative nervous system based on variation in skin potential,

skin resistance etc. is a promising approach for evaluating stress and emotional

states in vertebrates. It will be explained that the chronobiological evaluation of

physiological parameters has the potential to contribute much to our understanding

and assessment of the underlying physiological processes of stress responses in

  Address Division of Animal Welfare and Ethology, Justus-Liebig-University of Giessen, Germany  
  Corporate Author Kuhne, F. Thesis  
  Publisher Place of Publication Editor  
  Language Summary Language Original Title  
  Series Editor Series Title Abbreviated Series Title  
  Series Volume Series Issue Edition  
  ISSN ISBN Medium  
  Area Expedition Conference IESM 2008  
  Notes Talk 15 min IESM 2008 Approved yes  
  Call Number Equine Behaviour @ team @ Serial 4465  
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