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2013 | 31 | 3 |
Tytuł artykułu

How “natural” training methods can affect equine mental state? A critical approach - a review

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Among equestrians the “natural” training methods of horses are gaining widespread popularity due to their spectacular efficiency. Underlying philosophy of trainers - founders of different “natural horsemanship training” (NHT) schools, along with other not well documented statements includes argumentation of solely welfare- and human-friendly effects of NHT in the horse. The aim of this review was to screen scientific papers related to NHT to answer the question whether „natural” training methods may actually exert only positive effects upon equine mental state and human-horse relationship. It appears that NHT trainers may reduce stress and emotional tension and improve learning processes as they appropriately apply learning stimuli. Basing on revised literature it can be concluded that training is successful provided that [i] the strength of the aversive stimulus meets sensitivity of an individual horse, [ii] the aversive stimulus is terminated at a right moment to avoid the impression of punishment, and [iii] the animal is given enough time to assess its situation and make an independent decision in the form of adequate behavioural reaction.Neglecting any of these conditions may lead to substantial emotional problems, hyperactivity, or excessive fear in the horse-human relationship, regardless of the training method.However, we admit that the most successful NHT trainers reduce aversive stimulation to the minimum and that horses learn quicker with fear or stress reactions, apparently decreasing along with training process. Anyway, NHT should be acknowledged for absolutely positive role in pointing out the importance of proper stimulation in the schooling and welfare of horses.
Opis fizyczny
  • Department of Biological Bases of Animal Production, University of Life Sciences in Lublin, Akademicka 13, 20-950 Lublin, Poland
  • Department of Animal Behaviour, Faculty of Psychology, University of Warsaw, Stawki 5/7, 00-183 Warsaw, Poland
  • Department of Biological Bases of Animal Production, University of Life Sciences in Lublin, Akademicka 13, 20-950 Lublin, Poland
  • Department of Biological Bases of Animal Production, University of Life Sciences in Lublin, Akademicka 13, 20-950 Lublin, Poland
  • Polish Academy of Sciences Institute of Genetics and Animal Breeding, Jastrzębiec, 05-552 Magdalenka, Poland
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