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Author (up) Fenner, K.; Freire, R.; McLean, A.; McGreevy, P. url  doi
  Title Behavioral, demographic and management influences on equine responses to negative reinforcement Type Journal Article
  Year 2018 Publication Journal of Veterinary Behavior Abbreviated Journal  
  Volume Issue Pages  
  Keywords Learning; horse management; training; temperament; negative reinforcement  
  Abstract Understanding the factors that influence horse learning is critical to ensure horse welfare and rider safety. In this study, data were obtained from horses (n=96) training to step backwards through a corridor in response to bit pressure. Following training, learning ability was determined by the latency to step backwards through the corridor when handled on the left and right reins. Additionally, horse owners were questioned about each horse's management, training, behavior and signalment (such as horse breed, age and sex). Factors from these four broad domains were examined using a multiple logistic regression (MLR) model, following an Information Theoretic approach, for associations between horses' behavioral attributes and their ability to learn the task. The MLR also included estimates of the rider's ability and experience as well as owner's perceptions of their horse's trainability and temperament. Results revealed several variables including explanatory variables that correlated significantly with rate of learning. Horses were faster at backing, a behavioral trait, when handled on the right (t = 3.65, df = 94, P < 0.001) than the left side. Thoroughbred horses were slower at completing the tests than other breeds of horses when handled on the left side (LM, F1,48=4.5, P=0.04) and right side (LM, F1,45=6.0, P=0.02). Those in regular work, a training factor, did not learn faster than their unworked counterparts on the right rein but completed the task faster on the left rein (F1,44=5.47, P=0.02). This may reflect differences in laterality and habituation effects. In contrast, more anxious horses were faster at completing the test when handled from the right (Spearman, r=-0.22, P=0.04). It is possible that these horses have an increased arousal level when interacting with handlers, resulting in more engagement with the lesson, accounting for the improved performance results. The findings of this study will help clarify how horse behavior, training and management may influence learning and how their application may optimize learning outcomes. Future equine behavior assessment and research questionnaires should include items that assess these qualities.  
  Corporate Author Thesis  
  Publisher Place of Publication Editor  
  Language Summary Language Original Title  
  Series Editor Series Title Abbreviated Series Title  
  Series Volume Series Issue Edition  
  ISSN 1558-7878 ISBN Medium  
  Area Expedition Conference  
  Notes Approved no  
  Call Number Equine Behaviour @ team @ Serial 6400  
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