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All about the horse

The horse is a large mammal from the equine family. Herbivorous prey, the horse, unlike the cow, does not ruminate. Its particularly fragile digestive system even prevents it from vomiting.

The size of horses is measured from the ground to the withers, the part of the body located at the junction between the neck and the back. Some ponies are no more than 50cm tall, while others races can reach 2 m.

Depending on its size but also its bones and muscles, the horse weighs on average 500 kilos, but some can go up to more than a ton.

Its mane and tail are made up of hairs called hair. The dress characterizes its color. It is defined according to a very precise naming grid, developed taking into account the correspondences with the expression of the genome. More information

Equine ethology delivers knowledge on the nature of the horse, its 5 senses, its social organization, its daily life, its modes of communication and its way of life in the domestic state

Equine ethology and ethological riding

Equine ethology is concerned with describing and understanding the behavior of the horse. Researchers are implementing observation protocols to generate knowledge about the nature of the horse. It is important to distinguish the scientific discipline from ethological riding, which consists in applying educational principles which take into account the nature of the horse. The training paths for working in one of the two fields are completely different.

To become an ethologist, you have to follow a university course (more info), while mastering ethological riding techniques is made possible by practical training. These skills are a real asset for many horse trades: rider, riding teacher, groom, veterinarian ... The ethological approach increases safety when handling the horse, develops complicity with the animal, increases performance in respect for the horse. More information on ethological riding training.

History of equine ethology

Equine ethology began in the 1960s and 1970s with the study of the behavior of horses in their natural state: Mustangs in the United States or Przewalski's horses living in semi-freedom in reserves. From 1995, research began to focus on horses living in domestic conditions: in the stable, in the meadow… It was then a question of studying animals educated by humans for any practice whatsoever. Two ways emerge to apprehend this new problem, which constitutes the study of the horse, in a domestic setting. Either the scientists proceed as in natural conditions, by positioning themselves as simple observers. Either, they cause situations, through research protocols that are similar to tests, often inherited from experimental psychology.