The counterpart to domestication
Domestication brings comfort and safety to horses – for example, they no longer have to find their own food – but it has negative consequences. Life with humans has indeed a considerable impact..
The nutritional needs of domestic horses, which are fed a very rich diet, are met very quickly. They spend much of their day in “forced rest”. The lack of fiber in their diets (grass, hay, etc.) is also detrimental to horses, whose digestive systems are designed to be permanently active.
Related risks: Gastric ulcers, colic, too much energy, obesity, thinness…
Individual boxes are currently the most widespread form of accommodation for horses. Although it protects the horse from bad weather and insects and provides clean and comfortable bedding, it also deprives the horse of social contact, which is essential to its well-being.
Related risks: Apathy, aggressiveness towards humans or peers…
In natural conditions, horses cover around ten kilometers per day, essentially at walking speed. In contrast, when a rider takes a horse out, the outing is generally short, intense and based on a much faster pace: trot, canter and gallop.
Related risks: Horses letting off steam during work sessions, limping, backache
Stereotypies can be described as repetitive movements with no visible aim or function; they help horses deal with their domesticated lives.. It is strongly recommended not to prevent them from “ticking” and it is preferable to seek out the cause.
A few examples: cribbing, windsucking, stall walking, tongue play, weaving …
Cribbing is one of the most common equine stereotypies. The horse grabs onto a support with its incisors and contracts its neck, producing a hoarse noise.
Texts by Déborah Bardou and Hélène Roche, ethologists – Photos Hélène Roche – Alain Laurioux – La Cense