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Björk, N. (2008). Is it possible to measure the welfare of the ridden horse? Bachelor's thesis, , .
Abstract: Since the time of domestication, humans have trained horses for the purpose of serving man. Different training methods have been developed throughout the centuries; some were developed with consideration for the horse's welfare, while others disregarded welfare to a great extent. Most present day training is based upon making the horse perform a desired behaviour through dominance and subordination. Although cooperative training techniques have gained popularity, everyday training lacks the application of learning theory or neglects the horse's learning capacities and their species' specific behaviour. Thus, the horse's welfare may be jeopardised.
The aim with this review is to consider methods that allow an objective assessment of the welfare of horses undergoing training. The review gives a brief insight into the history of horse training and handling. It proceeds with an overview of the horse"s learning abilities which is argued to be of paramount importance for effective training. The review then describes a few selected training techniques that are used today, based on negative and positive reinforcement, and discusses parameters from which it could be possible to assess the welfare of the ridden horse. The work concludes with suggestion for future