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Author (up) Becker-Birck, M.; Schmidt, A.; Wulf, M.; Aurich, J.; von der Wense, A.; Möstl, E.; Berz, R.; Aurich, C.
Title Cortisol release, heart rate and heart rate variability, and superficial body temperature, in horses lunged either with hyperflexion of the neck or with an extended head and neck position Type Journal Article
Year 2013 Publication Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition Abbreviated Journal
Volume 97 Issue 2 Pages 322-330
Keywords animal welfare; equitation; stress; training
Abstract Bringing the head and neck of ridden horses into a position of hyperflexion is widely used in equestrian sports. In our study, the hypothesis was tested that hyperflexion is an acute stressor for horses. Salivary cortisol concentrations, heart rate, heart rate variability (HRV) and superficial body temperature were determined in horses (n = 16) lunged on two subsequent days. The head and neck of the horse was fixed with side reins in a position allowing forward extension on day A and fixed in hyperflexion on day B. The order of treatments alternated between horses. In response to lunging, cortisol concentration increased (day A from 0.73 ± 0.06 to 1.41 ± 0.13 ng/ml, p < 0.001; day B from 0.68 ± 0.07 to 1.38 ± 0.13 ng/ml, p < 0.001) but did not differ between days A and B. Beat-to-beat (RR) interval decreased in response to lunging on both days. HRV variables standard deviation of RR interval (SDRR) and RMSSD (root mean square of successive RR differences) decreased (p < 0.001) but did not differ between days. In the cranial region of the neck, the difference between maximum and minimum temperature was increased in hyperflexion (p < 0.01). In conclusion, physiological parameters do not indicate an acute stress response to hyperflexion of the head alone in horses lunged at moderate speed and not touched with the whip. However, if hyperflexion is combined with active intervention of a rider, a stressful experience for the horse cannot be excluded.
Corporate Author Thesis
Publisher Blackwell Publishing Ltd Place of Publication Editor
Language Summary Language Original Title
Series Editor Series Title Abbreviated Series Title
Series Volume Series Issue Edition
ISSN 1439-0396 ISBN Medium
Area Expedition Conference
Notes Approved no
Call Number Equine Behaviour @ team @ Serial 6182
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