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Stachurska, A., Janczarek, I., Wilk, I., & Kedzierski, W. (2015). Does Music Influence Emotional State in Race Horses? Journal of Equine Veterinary Science, 35(8), 650–656.
Abstract: The aim of the study was to determine the effect of music featured in the barn, on the emotional state of race horses. Seventy 3-year-old Purebred Arabian horses in their first race season were divided into experimental group (EXP) of 40 horses and control group (CNT) of 30 horses and placed in separate barns. The EXP was subject to specifically composed music featured in the barn for 5 hours in the afternoon during the whole study. The emotional state in the horses was assessed at rest, saddling, and warm-up walk under rider. Measurements were taken six times, every 30 to 35 days, starting from the beginning of featuring the music. The horse's emotional state was assessed by cardiac activity variables. The music effect on the emotional state was also considered with regard to the horse's performance estimated by race records. The cardiac activity variables were compared with repeated measures design, whereas race records were analyzed with analysis of variance generalized linear model. The music positively affected the emotional state in race horses. The influence was noticeable already after the first month of featuring the music and increased in the second and third months. Despite the fact that later the variables began to return to initial levels, a positive effect of the music on prizes won by the horses in the EXP compared to the CNT was found (P < .05). The results suggest that the music may be featured in the barn, preferably for 2 to 3 months as a means of improving the welfare of race horses.
Janczarek, I., Stachurska, A., Kedzierski, W., Wisniewska, A., Ryzak, M., & Koziol, A. (2020). The intensity of physiological and behavioral responses of horses to predator vocalizations. BMC Veterinary Research, 16(1), 431.
Abstract: Predatory attacks on horses can become a problem in some parts of the world, particularly when considering the recovering gray wolf populations. The issue studied was whether horses transformed by humans and placed in stable-pasture environments had retained their natural abilities to respond to predation risk. The objective of the study was to determine the changes in cardiac activity, cortisol concentrations, and behavior of horses in response to the vocalizations of two predators: the gray wolf (Canis lupus), which the horses of the breed studied had coevolved with but not been exposed to recently, and Arabian leopard (Panthera pardus nimr), from which the horses had been mostly isolated. In addition, we hypothesized that a higher proportion of Thoroughbred (TB) horse ancestry in the pedigree would result in higher emotional excitability in response to predator vocalizations. Nineteen horses were divided into groups of 75%, 50% and 25% TB ancestry. The auditory test conducted in a paddock comprised a 10-min prestimulus period, a 5-min stimulus period when one of the predators was heard, and a 10-min poststimulus period without any experimental stimuli.
Kedzierski, W., Wilk, I., & Janczarek, I. (2014). Physiological response to the first saddling and first mounting of horses: comparison of two sympathetic training methods. Animal Science Papers and Reports, 32(3), 219–228.
Abstract: There is not much research done on the influence of sympathetic training on the emotional reaction
of horses. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the emotional response and the stress level
in horses to two sympathetic training methods: (1) with the use of the “round pen technique” (RP),
and (2) in which the RP was not applied (SH). Twenty two half-bred Anglo-Arab horses (2.5
years ±3 months of age) were subject to an initial training. Eleven horses were randomly included
to the RP method and the other 11 horses for the SH method. Heart rate (HR) and saliva cortisol
concentration were measured as indicators of horse emotional arousal and stress level, respectively.
The HR values were analysed: at rest, during the habituation period, just after the first saddling
and tightening of the girth, during the first time a human leaned over the horse’s back, and during
the mounting of the horse. Saliva samples were taken before and 15 min after each training session
studied. After saddling, the HR occurred significantly higher when the RP technique was used. The
significant increase in saliva cortisol concentration was observed only after the first mounting of
the horse. Generally, the use of the RP technique did not involve more important physiological
reactions in the trained horses than did the SH method.