Nutritional Articles

Foraging enrichment for stabled horses: effects on behavior and selection

Published: 2002-12-31

Brief content of the article
The authors studied if the restricted access to pasture experienced by many competition horses has been linked to the exhibition of stereotypic and redirected behavior patterns. The authors studied if racehorses provided with more than one source of forage are less likely to perform these patterns. The authors conducted a study with using 12 horses in 4 replicated trials which were introduced into each of two identical stables containing a single forage, or 6 forages for 5 min. To detect novelty effects, in the first and third trials the single forage was hay. In the second and fourth, the horses were fed the preferred from the preceding trial. The authors concluded that the trials indicated that enrichment of the stable environment through provision of multible forages may have welfare benefits for horses, in reducing straw consumption and faciltating the expression of highly motivated foraging behavior. Further research was required to determine if the effects found in this study persist over a longer period.
Keywords: forage; enrichment; welfare

Goodwin, D., Davidson, H.P.B. and Harris, P. 2002. Foraging enrichment for stabled horses: effects on behavior and selection. Equine Veterinary Journal 34: 686-691.

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