July 6th, 2010 Leave a commentSign Up Go to comments

Inherited Or Learned Equine Behavior

When dealing with certain aspects of behavior that we consider to be difficult or problematic, we need to determine where this behavior has come from. We know that horses all have the same behavioral patterns, inbuilt from their wild ancestors. There may also be characteristics that horses can display that we perceive to be dysfunctional or expressions of the horses personality. We can try to identify these by asking the following questions.
1. How does a horse learn / develop certain patterns of behavior?
2. How much of it is genetic and how much is environmental?
3. What are the causes for the development of vices?
4. What do I as a rider have to know about horse-specific patterns of learning?

There are fundamentally two views of opinion about the development of behavior. One group of scientists suggest the behaviors of horses are inherited another group claim to believe the behaviors of horses’ to be attributed to environmental influences and therefore are acquired. It is only very recently that we are now aware that both factors are responsible for the behavior of horses and can not be separated from each other. There is a formula that describes the interactive relationship between genotype and environment – ph+f(g,e). ph stands for phenotype (external feature), f describes a function, g stands for genetic and e for environmental aspect.

Many horse owners may wonder why such detail is placed on studying behavior in this way, but it becomes more apparent when selecting for breeding. Understanding how and why behaviors are developed and learned can play a large part in the breeding programme and selection of suitable horses. Even for the lay horse owner it is important to develop an understanding of the relationship between environment and various behavioral patterns and too recognise the limitations of their influence. This will help to determine what kind of environment the owner has to offer the horse in order for him to express its “normal” behavior.

There are some characteristics that are inbred in all horses and are resistant to human influence.

1. Organisation within a social group to improve chances of survival even for the weakest member at the bottom of the chain.
2. Developing into a flight animal that runs first and analyzes the situation later
3. Can detect an area that allows a good all-round view of an expanse in order to flee in time if a threat becomes present.
4. To be mobile in order to travel long distances for food and,
5. Regulate life in a community so that life saving energy is not wasted on internal fights.

Tammy is a avid equine rider who wishes to advertise the correct ways to be treating horses. Tammy works part time for a company who specialise in equestrian waterproof clothing as well as jack murphy cotswold jacket, jack murphy malvern bush coat and mark todd saddlery products in the UK. For more info, read our Equestrian articles.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Tammy_Patterson

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