Showing posts from May, 2012

Does your sports horse need a companion?

Many horses kept for sports or recreational use are housed in individual stables, some only for a part of the day and others permanently. Some of these stables allow some form of contact with a neighbouring horse, while others minimize social contact. The reasons for housing horses in single pens are various; cleanliness of the horse, ease of getting close to the horse, protection from the elements, lack of pastures and some owners even believe that their horse has no need for social contact. However, could horses have a strong need for social contact with other horses, and could restricting social contact between horses have a detrimental impact on their welfare?   Feral horses are very social, and their survival depends on strong social bonds between families or bachelors. For example, the (early) detection of a predator and the following flight are important defence mechanisms for a group of horses. There is strong evidence that our modern sports horses still have a very basic need