The latest research shows that animal welfare might be affected by the possibility of performing a behavioural repertoire which is as natural as possible, as already stated in the fifth of the "Five Freedoms" developed by the Farm Animal Welfare Council. To make up for modem stabling methods, there is a trend to use environmental enrichment programmes that increase the animals' behavioural repertoire and make it as similar as possible to that of animals in the wild. Also for horses, the modern stabling methods cause alterations between the behaviour of stabled animals and that of animals in the natural state, with remarkable differences above all in terms of sociality, eating and motor behaviours. The goal of this paper was to develop an environmental enrichment protocol for the horses of a horse-riding school that allows to change the current social, feeding and locomotor conditions of the stabled animals through structural, stable management and staff training measures. The programme we proposed and implemented was then assessed by comparing the horses that undergone the protocol with a control group that maintained the original structure and management. Such comparison involved behavioural tests and analyses of in-box ethograms, and the results showed that horses tend to align their behaviours to the natural repertoire when they have an opportunity to do so, and that environmental enrichment may also affect behaviours that are important for the perception of the environment, such as attention and exploration of objects and people. This suggests that stabling methods that provide quantitative/qualitative changes in the stabled horses' behavioural repertoire should be developed and implemented, since this aspect might affect their welfare.
|Autori:||Baragli P; Paoletti E; Pacchini S; Martelli F; Sighieri C|
|Titolo:||Influence of environmental enrichment framework on the behaviour of stabled horses [Influenza di un protocollo di arricchimento ambientale sul comportamento dei cavalli in scuderia]|
|Anno del prodotto:||2009|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|