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Towards solutions
There are many good suggestions to educate horse owners and young riders in taking care of the horse's welfare. However, Helle Knudsen believes the solution lies in being curious and asking questions. 

It should be interesting to acquire new knowledge and skills and change our behavior. Traditions in the professional world are strong, but education helps inform and develop thinking. “It drives behavior change, but it must be supported and normalized," says Knudsen.

Tamzin Furtado believes that we need to look at our horses and question what we do. We often feel that we have made a reasonable effort and gone to great lengths to make everything perfect, but does the horse feel good in it too? 

We need to view the horse in front of us. We must distinguish between what we are doing and the outcome for the horse. Instead of settling for all our efforts, we must look at how the horse is doing in the world we offer him.

We need to understand why we need to change, why it matters, and how to make any changes,” says Dr. Furtado. She believes that equestrians should question themselves and speak to each other about their needs. “Regardless of our efforts, we should ask if we are doing well and ensure that the horse benefits from what we do to him.” 

Dr. Hausberger believes that scientific research on horses’ health and welfare must be communicated to the horse owners through the right networks, like the internet and magazines. In addition, it is of utmost importance that we share new knowledge with those who work with horses daily, she says.

“We need to identify and encourage innovative solutions. It may initially surprise horse owners, some may regard it with contempt, but in the end, when we repeatedly encounter examples of the things that work well for the horse, we take this new behavior to ourselves. When the measures that work well are made visible, and we often see good practice highlighted, it facilitates the learning of new habits,” she says. 

Instead of just providing information, we should promote visible examples. It would leave less room for subjective personal interpretation and thus make way for a positive approach to improve equine welfare with humans.

Need to understand why
Horse owners need to understand why there is a need for change, what it means to them, and how to practically make the changes, states Tamzin Furtado. She would like us to speak more about the horses' needs and become better at questioning our approach to the horses.

Together with the British Show Horse Association, Dr. Furtado created a project that worked positively with the owners' perception of obesity. She visited several shows around the country, and in addition to the performance score given by the judge, she performed a body condition score on every horse present. The aim was to educate owners and young people positively about equine welfare. 

In addition, Dr. Furtado spoke to owners about their horses and promoting healthy weight loss. On top of the traditional evaluation given by the judges, there was a possibility to earn an extra award, and the top three horses with the best body condition received the price of a golden rosette. The project functioned as a positive and fun way to make judges and horse owners aware of a good body condition.

Elite riders as role models
Helle Knudsen approves of positive role models: elite riders and influencers have a great reach on social media, and they are role models for change. It has a far-reaching effect when these skilled riders, besides showing their talent in riding and everything they have achieved, also talk about the benefits of acquiring knowledge from professionals and qualified sources, says Helle Knudsen.

According to her, these riders are often members of social media sites whose target audience is receptive to their role models. The influencers show young riders that education can be empowering and enlightening. 

“There is a need to make it acceptable and trendy to gain new knowledge,” says Knudsen.

 "It is not a failure to seek learning, and it should be a strength to learn more.”  

Of course, one should not know everything, but she thinks it should not be a weakness to ask others for advice.

Misinterpreting signals
Dr. Hausberger agrees that misunderstanding the language signs and the calming signals of the horse can be a problem because horses and humans do not share the same umwelt.  

"We may know that the horse needs feed all day, but we are not aware of how the horse feels on an empty stomach because we do not share the same perception," says Dr. Hausberger. She says that feeding can lead to health problems like obesity, colic, laminitis and gastric ulceration. Feeding can also lead to stereotypical behavior if the horse gets frustrated without food for hours.

"In professional stables like racehorses or sports horses, especially among the male owners, there is a belief that if the horses do not receive enough concentrate, they may not be good performers," says Dr. Hausberger. According to her studies, evidence shows that a horse can perform well even if the welfare state is not optimal, and the fact that horses perform is not equivalent to the horse thriving. 

A positive approach to welfare
Obesity is a welfare problem among domestic horses, but some owners are unaware that their horse weighs too much, and it can be a challenge to get the horse to shed those extra kilos, says Tamzin Furtado. So instead of just telling horse owners what to do, Dr. Furtado has designed a more positive approach to the problem. To help owners develop a welfare strategy that suits their unique situation, she has created an extensive guide with a catalog of ideas on how the horses could lose weight. 

“Rather than telling people what to do, the idea was to empower horse owners to set up a welfare strategy that aligns with their horse's daily practice. The thought is for the horse owner to be creative and use the many different solutions in the catalog to learn new ways of fighting obesity," says Tamzin Furtado.

According to Dr. Furtado, the guide has been well received, and owners have been very creative in finding solutions to their horse’s weight loss.

Strong traditions 
Traditions in the equestrian world are old and resilient, says Dr. Hausberger. Looking at the horse as a sentient being is generally not a part of the teaching practice amongst professional owners, be it veterinarians, riding school teachers, or owners of equestrian facilities. Instead, Dr. Hausberger has encountered professionals bound to their traditions and the usual way of working with horses. They have been working with horses for many years, and they know what it takes for the horse to be well. They do not see the need for bridging the gap.

Private owners are keen on receiving new information about horses, but according to Dr. Hausberger, peer pressure influences horse welfare. If owners do not follow the traditional routines of the yard culture in a stable, they are at risk of being socially excluded from the peer group.

Overexposure to compromised welfare
As a part of a study, Dr. Hausberger has observed how we recognize the welfare of horses. The study comprised a group of horses kept in their stalls. A questionnaire asked the caretakers to describe which horses showed stereotypic behavior. The study involved 20 different riding centers and 700 horses. The researchers found that up to 70 % of the horses showed signs of stereotypic behavior in the stalls, but the caretakers only observed 5% of the same horses showing undesirable behavior. 

“In the stables where almost all horses showed abnormal behavior, the caretakers rarely observed horses without stereotypical behavior. It led them to become insensitive to the signals of the horses, believing that this was the norm for all equines,” Dr. Hausberger says. As a result, the small signals became overshadowed by overexposure to negative welfare. 

“It is worrying that those who handle the horses daily misjudge their well-being, as this underestimation of bad-being signals can lead to inappropriate treatment or management, with possibly severe consequences for the welfare of the horses,” states Martine Hausberger.

Giving human attributes to the horse
Riders want to do all the best for their horse, but misjudged goodness can cause the owners to buy things that horses don't need. Advertising can make horse owners overprotect their horses in the best meaning. A new and colorful saddle pad, activity toys for the stable, or a unique mix of concentrates, all of which feels nice for the owner to buy, but according to Dr. Furtado, the horse would be better off if the owner invested the savings in quality education and good training. Dr. Furtado believes that it can be a problem when some owners give their horses human attributes, leading to the overprotection of their horses.

“Owners would speak of the horses having a day off, a “pajamas day” in the box, or they enjoy tucking their horses in at night in the stable, a perception that can lead to impaired welfare." Unfortunately, horses and humans do not share the same experience. Horses are mentally and physically different from humans, but treating them like humans can be detrimental. It leads us to neglect the true meaning of the calming signals of the horse, and it can become a barrier to understanding how horses perceive their world, says Tamzin Furtado. Owners have the best intentions for their horses, but we lack the same experience, and we do not understand the effect our treatment has on our horses' well-being.  

Regardless of our best intentions, many horses still suffer from compromised welfare to a worrying extent. Most horse owners consider their horses to be their much-loved partners, so why do so many scientific reports show that welfare problems amongst horses occur far too often? 

Why do our positive intentions lead to negative welfare? How can we help owners understand their horses' needs and make better choices to support their horse's well-being? We have asked three experts, Professor Martine Hausberger, Professor Tamzin Furtado, and riding school manager Helle Knudsen to discuss the problem. Why is there a big difference between what we know about the natural needs of the horses and the way we manage the horses in practice?  

The welfare paradox
A recent survey of 1850 horses from different stables showed that 82% of the horses displayed behavioral problems in a stable context. The survey was part of a study done by Dr. Martine Hausberger, working as a professor in ethology and leader of the Equine Ethology Department in Rennes, France. She describes the problem as a welfare paradox, and she believes that we may have misunderstood some key aspects of equine welfare. 

According to Dr. Hausberger, the traditional way of looking at horses has changed. Previously the horse was seen as inferior to humans, but now a greater focus lies on the horses' perspective and how they experience the world. We see the horses as social individuals, but despite our well-meaning efforts, many horse owners keep their horses in environments with reduced quality of life, where horses are not thriving. 

Dr. Hausberger also did an online survey amongst 4267 horse enthusiasts, and it showed a difference between the owners' knowledge of the needs of the horses and the way they kept their horses. 

Knowledge is not always applied in management
"Caretakers strongly underestimated their horses' expressions of well-being impairment. There seems to be a gap between what the owners know and how they apply their knowledge in their daily horse management," says Martine Hausberger. 

In other words, there seems to be a paradox between the way we think of the welfare of horses and the practical way we manage them. 

Dr. Hausberger has reviewed the scientific literature to study which human factors impact horse welfare to find a possible cause for this mismatch between science and practical application. 

“Horses cannot speak for themselves, which can lead to a subjective understanding based on our cultural norms and traditional beliefs,” says Dr. Hausberger. 

Horses have a mixed-status: they live outside the house, in stables like livestock, but people view them more as companion animals like cats and dogs. We want to be advocates for our horses and do the right thing, but many of us base the way we manage our horses on what we think is good for them and what is most convenient. This view can lead to cultural biases and overexposure to horses in a compromised welfare state, changing the owners' idea of what is good horse welfare.

What prevents us from making a change?
"Unless we know what prevents us from making change, we will not improve the equine welfare," says Tamzin Furtado, a Professor in social science at the University of Edinburg, Scotland. 

She has experienced that it is often hard to question traditions and how riders usually do things. According to Dr. Furtado, most owners want to do the best for their horses, but at the same time, their trainers tell them to be determined because the horse must do as we say. 

She frequently witnessed horse owners blaming the horses for lack of performance and making them comply with aggression or force. 

“In human society, we see misbehavior as something that we must punish, and it leads horse owners to be more likely to use punishment to deal with undesirable horse behavior,” says Dr. Furtado. 

According to Dr. Furtado, there is a need to determine a way to educate equestrians to improve their knowledge of how horses learn and provide them with tools to help them understand their needs. In addition, to create better conditions for our horses, we need to look at the people who work with the horses. What makes them do what they do, and what can make them change their ways? 

Lacking prior knowledge of natural behavior 
Helle Knudsen is a riding instructor, and owner of the riding school, Den Hele Ekvipage, in Denmark. As the daily manager of a riding school, she teaches young people to handle horses. 

"We have seen improvements and changes to the welfare, but there are strong traditions in the horse world, and seeking knowledge must be encouraged and seen as acceptable," states Helle Knudsen. 

She is from a traditional farmer background, and within the livestock sector, there is a demand that people who handle the animals are qualified. There are many rules and regulations to secure the welfare of the production animals: you cannot keep livestock without education, but there are no demands as to what qualifications you must possess for working with horses. Anyone can keep horses without prior knowledge about their needs and behavior. 

Helle Knudsen has frequently experienced this at riding schools around the country: "Often well-meaning parents run the riding schools, but they do not have any proficiency in horse welfare," Helle explains. 

She believes that there should be a demand for an educational qualification for members of a board of a riding school. In her view, she would like to see one or two board members with a professional background ensure the health and well-being of the horses. It could be a vet or other qualifications who would work as an advisor to the place, who had the overall responsibility for the equine care. 

We work with children and inexperienced people at the riding school who handle live animals. Therefore it is of utmost importance that we listen to the professionals who know about the signals of the horses and have knowledge about health and behavior, says Helle Knudsen. 

In human society, we see misbehavior as something that we must punish 

Helle Knudsen is a riding school manager. She aims to educate respectful, responsible and curious horse owners using knowledge and insight. In addition, she wants to create a link between horse welfare and sport using knowledge and leading by example.

Tamzin Furtado is a social scientist passionate about the interconnections between humans and animals and our health and well-being. She has completed a Ph.D. at the University of Liverpool, focusing on horse-human relationships and human behavior change.

Martine Hausberger is a professor in Ethology.  She works as the director of the department for ethology at the University of Rennes, France. She has specialized in the social and vocal communications of animals. Furthermore, she has focused on studying the human-horse relationship in horse welfare.

Lack of welfare in horses is usually not due to deliberate neglect, but the problems arise because we lack knowledge. In addition, it may be because of our cultural and personal beliefs, perhaps because we attribute human characteristics or misinterpret the horse's signals according to Dr. Martine Hausberger. In short, one can say about horse welfare that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions 

Regardless of our best intentions, many horses still suffer from compromised welfare 

By Merete Haahr

Welfare

Are you doing your horse a disservice?

Horses do not speak our language, yet research shows they can recognize our feelings and heal our traumas. Are we as caregivers good enough at understanding their feelings and needs, and how can we become better at listening to what horses are trying to tell us?

Advertisement

Towards solutions
There are many good suggestions to educate horse owners and young riders in taking care of the horse's welfare. However, Helle Knudsen believes the solution lies in being curious and asking questions. 

It should be interesting to acquire new knowledge and skills and change our behavior. Traditions in the professional world are strong, but education helps inform and develop thinking. “It drives behavior change, but it must be supported and normalized," says Knudsen.

Tamzin Furtado believes that we need to look at our horses and question what we do. We often feel that we have made a reasonable effort and gone to great lengths to make everything perfect, but does the horse feel good in it too? 

We need to view the horse in front of us. We must distinguish between what we are doing and the outcome for the horse. Instead of settling for all our efforts, we must look at how the horse is doing in the world we offer him.

We need to understand why we need to change, why it matters, and how to make any changes,” says Dr. Furtado. She believes that equestrians should question themselves and speak to each other about their needs. “Regardless of our efforts, we should ask if we are doing well and ensure that the horse benefits from what we do to him.” 

Dr. Hausberger believes that scientific research on horses’ health and welfare must be communicated to the horse owners through the right networks, like the internet and magazines. In addition, it is of utmost importance that we share new knowledge with those who work with horses daily, she says.

“We need to identify and encourage innovative solutions. It may initially surprise horse owners, some may regard it with contempt, but in the end, when we repeatedly encounter examples of the things that work well for the horse, we take this new behavior to ourselves. When the measures that work well are made visible, and we often see good practice highlighted, it facilitates the learning of new habits,” she says. 

Instead of just providing information, we should promote visible examples. It would leave less room for subjective personal interpretation and thus make way for a positive approach to improve equine welfare with humans.

Need to understand why
Horse owners need to understand why there is a need for change, what it means to them, and how to practically make the changes, states Tamzin Furtado. She would like us to speak more about the horses' needs and become better at questioning our approach to the horses.

Together with the British Show Horse Association, Dr. Furtado created a project that worked positively with the owners' perception of obesity. She visited several shows around the country, and in addition to the performance score given by the judge, she performed a body condition score on every horse present. The aim was to educate owners and young people positively about equine welfare. 

In addition, Dr. Furtado spoke to owners about their horses and promoting healthy weight loss. On top of the traditional evaluation given by the judges, there was a possibility to earn an extra award, and the top three horses with the best body condition received the price of a golden rosette. The project functioned as a positive and fun way to make judges and horse owners aware of a good body condition.

Elite riders as role models
Helle Knudsen approves of positive role models: elite riders and influencers have a great reach on social media, and they are role models for change. It has a far-reaching effect when these skilled riders, besides showing their talent in riding and everything they have achieved, also talk about the benefits of acquiring knowledge from professionals and qualified sources, says Helle Knudsen.

According to her, these riders are often members of social media sites whose target audience is receptive to their role models. The influencers show young riders that education can be empowering and enlightening. 

“There is a need to make it acceptable and trendy to gain new knowledge,” says Knudsen.

 "It is not a failure to seek learning, and it should be a strength to learn more.”  

Of course, one should not know everything, but she thinks it should not be a weakness to ask others for advice.

Misinterpreting signals
Dr. Hausberger agrees that misunderstanding the language signs and the calming signals of the horse can be a problem because horses and humans do not share the same umwelt.  

"We may know that the horse needs feed all day, but we are not aware of how the horse feels on an empty stomach because we do not share the same perception," says Dr. Hausberger. She says that feeding can lead to health problems like obesity, colic, laminitis and gastric ulceration. Feeding can also lead to stereotypical behavior if the horse gets frustrated without food for hours.

"In professional stables like racehorses or sports horses, especially among the male owners, there is a belief that if the horses do not receive enough concentrate, they may not be good performers," says Dr. Hausberger. According to her studies, evidence shows that a horse can perform well even if the welfare state is not optimal, and the fact that horses perform is not equivalent to the horse thriving. 

A positive approach to welfare
Obesity is a welfare problem among domestic horses, but some owners are unaware that their horse weighs too much, and it can be a challenge to get the horse to shed those extra kilos, says Tamzin Furtado. So instead of just telling horse owners what to do, Dr. Furtado has designed a more positive approach to the problem. To help owners develop a welfare strategy that suits their unique situation, she has created an extensive guide with a catalog of ideas on how the horses could lose weight. 

“Rather than telling people what to do, the idea was to empower horse owners to set up a welfare strategy that aligns with their horse's daily practice. The thought is for the horse owner to be creative and use the many different solutions in the catalog to learn new ways of fighting obesity," says Tamzin Furtado.

According to Dr. Furtado, the guide has been well received, and owners have been very creative in finding solutions to their horse’s weight loss.

Strong traditions 
Traditions in the equestrian world are old and resilient, says Dr. Hausberger. Looking at the horse as a sentient being is generally not a part of the teaching practice amongst professional owners, be it veterinarians, riding school teachers, or owners of equestrian facilities. Instead, Dr. Hausberger has encountered professionals bound to their traditions and the usual way of working with horses. They have been working with horses for many years, and they know what it takes for the horse to be well. They do not see the need for bridging the gap.

Private owners are keen on receiving new information about horses, but according to Dr. Hausberger, peer pressure influences horse welfare. If owners do not follow the traditional routines of the yard culture in a stable, they are at risk of being socially excluded from the peer group.

Overexposure to compromised welfare
As a part of a study, Dr. Hausberger has observed how we recognize the welfare of horses. The study comprised a group of horses kept in their stalls. A questionnaire asked the caretakers to describe which horses showed stereotypic behavior. The study involved 20 different riding centers and 700 horses. The researchers found that up to 70 % of the horses showed signs of stereotypic behavior in the stalls, but the caretakers only observed 5% of the same horses showing undesirable behavior. 

“In the stables where almost all horses showed abnormal behavior, the caretakers rarely observed horses without stereotypical behavior. It led them to become insensitive to the signals of the horses, believing that this was the norm for all equines,” Dr. Hausberger says. As a result, the small signals became overshadowed by overexposure to negative welfare. 

“It is worrying that those who handle the horses daily misjudge their well-being, as this underestimation of bad-being signals can lead to inappropriate treatment or management, with possibly severe consequences for the welfare of the horses,” states Martine Hausberger.

Giving human attributes to the horse
Riders want to do all the best for their horse, but misjudged goodness can cause the owners to buy things that horses don't need. Advertising can make horse owners overprotect their horses in the best meaning. A new and colorful saddle pad, activity toys for the stable, or a unique mix of concentrates, all of which feels nice for the owner to buy, but according to Dr. Furtado, the horse would be better off if the owner invested the savings in quality education and good training. Dr. Furtado believes that it can be a problem when some owners give their horses human attributes, leading to the overprotection of their horses.

“Owners would speak of the horses having a day off, a “pajamas day” in the box, or they enjoy tucking their horses in at night in the stable, a perception that can lead to impaired welfare." Unfortunately, horses and humans do not share the same experience. Horses are mentally and physically different from humans, but treating them like humans can be detrimental. It leads us to neglect the true meaning of the calming signals of the horse, and it can become a barrier to understanding how horses perceive their world, says Tamzin Furtado. Owners have the best intentions for their horses, but we lack the same experience, and we do not understand the effect our treatment has on our horses' well-being.  

Regardless of our best intentions, many horses still suffer from compromised welfare to a worrying extent. Most horse owners consider their horses to be their much-loved partners, so why do so many scientific reports show that welfare problems amongst horses occur far too often? 

Why do our positive intentions lead to negative welfare? How can we help owners understand their horses' needs and make better choices to support their horse's well-being? We have asked three experts, Professor Martine Hausberger, Professor Tamzin Furtado, and riding school manager Helle Knudsen to discuss the problem. Why is there a big difference between what we know about the natural needs of the horses and the way we manage the horses in practice?  

The welfare paradox
A recent survey of 1850 horses from different stables showed that 82% of the horses displayed behavioral problems in a stable context. The survey was part of a study done by Dr. Martine Hausberger, working as a professor in ethology and leader of the Equine Ethology Department in Rennes, France. She describes the problem as a welfare paradox, and she believes that we may have misunderstood some key aspects of equine welfare. 

According to Dr. Hausberger, the traditional way of looking at horses has changed. Previously the horse was seen as inferior to humans, but now a greater focus lies on the horses' perspective and how they experience the world. We see the horses as social individuals, but despite our well-meaning efforts, many horse owners keep their horses in environments with reduced quality of life, where horses are not thriving. 

Dr. Hausberger also did an online survey amongst 4267 horse enthusiasts, and it showed a difference between the owners' knowledge of the needs of the horses and the way they kept their horses. 

Knowledge is not always applied in management
"Caretakers strongly underestimated their horses' expressions of well-being impairment. There seems to be a gap between what the owners know and how they apply their knowledge in their daily horse management," says Martine Hausberger. 

In other words, there seems to be a paradox between the way we think of the welfare of horses and the practical way we manage them. 

Dr. Hausberger has reviewed the scientific literature to study which human factors impact horse welfare to find a possible cause for this mismatch between science and practical application. 

“Horses cannot speak for themselves, which can lead to a subjective understanding based on our cultural norms and traditional beliefs,” says Dr. Hausberger. 

Horses have a mixed-status: they live outside the house, in stables like livestock, but people view them more as companion animals like cats and dogs. We want to be advocates for our horses and do the right thing, but many of us base the way we manage our horses on what we think is good for them and what is most convenient. This view can lead to cultural biases and overexposure to horses in a compromised welfare state, changing the owners' idea of what is good horse welfare.

What prevents us from making a change?
"Unless we know what prevents us from making change, we will not improve the equine welfare," says Tamzin Furtado, a Professor in social science at the University of Edinburg, Scotland. 

She has experienced that it is often hard to question traditions and how riders usually do things. According to Dr. Furtado, most owners want to do the best for their horses, but at the same time, their trainers tell them to be determined because the horse must do as we say. 

She frequently witnessed horse owners blaming the horses for lack of performance and making them comply with aggression or force. 

“In human society, we see misbehavior as something that we must punish, and it leads horse owners to be more likely to use punishment to deal with undesirable horse behavior,” says Dr. Furtado. 

According to Dr. Furtado, there is a need to determine a way to educate equestrians to improve their knowledge of how horses learn and provide them with tools to help them understand their needs. In addition, to create better conditions for our horses, we need to look at the people who work with the horses. What makes them do what they do, and what can make them change their ways? 

Lacking prior knowledge of natural behavior 
Helle Knudsen is a riding instructor, and owner of the riding school, Den Hele Ekvipage, in Denmark. As the daily manager of a riding school, she teaches young people to handle horses. 

"We have seen improvements and changes to the welfare, but there are strong traditions in the horse world, and seeking knowledge must be encouraged and seen as acceptable," states Helle Knudsen. 

She is from a traditional farmer background, and within the livestock sector, there is a demand that people who handle the animals are qualified. There are many rules and regulations to secure the welfare of the production animals: you cannot keep livestock without education, but there are no demands as to what qualifications you must possess for working with horses. Anyone can keep horses without prior knowledge about their needs and behavior. 

Helle Knudsen has frequently experienced this at riding schools around the country: "Often well-meaning parents run the riding schools, but they do not have any proficiency in horse welfare," Helle explains. 

She believes that there should be a demand for an educational qualification for members of a board of a riding school. In her view, she would like to see one or two board members with a professional background ensure the health and well-being of the horses. It could be a vet or other qualifications who would work as an advisor to the place, who had the overall responsibility for the equine care. 

We work with children and inexperienced people at the riding school who handle live animals. Therefore it is of utmost importance that we listen to the professionals who know about the signals of the horses and have knowledge about health and behavior, says Helle Knudsen. 

Helle Knudsen is a riding school manager. She aims to educate respectful, responsible and curious horse owners using knowledge and insight. In addition, she wants to create a link between horse welfare and sport using knowledge and leading by example.

Tamzin Furtado is a social scientist passionate about the interconnections between humans and animals and our health and well-being. She has completed a Ph.D. at the University of Liverpool, focusing on horse-human relationships and human behavior change.

Martine Hausberger is a professor in Ethology.  She works as the director of the department for ethology at the University of Rennes, France. She has specialized in the social and vocal communications of animals. Furthermore, she has focused on studying the human-horse relationship in horse welfare.

In human society, we see misbehavior as something that we must punish 

Lack of welfare in horses is usually not due to deliberate neglect, but the problems arise because we lack knowledge. In addition, it may be because of our cultural and personal beliefs, perhaps because we attribute human characteristics or misinterpret the horse's signals according to Dr. Martine Hausberger. In short, one can say about horse welfare that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions 

Regardless of our best intentions, many horses still suffer from compromised welfare 

By Merete Haahr

Horses do not speak our language, yet research shows they can recognize our feelings and heal our traumas. Are we as caregivers good enough at understanding their feelings and needs, and how can we become better at listening to what horses are trying to tell us?

Are you doing your horse a disservice?

Welfare

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