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Home / Research / Departments / Department of Animal Health, Welfare and Nutrition / Behaviour and stress biology / Projects / Investigation of fear in horses


Investigation of fear in horses



Scientist:  Janne Winther Christensen



Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences


Fear has negative effects on welfare, health and reproduction in animals, and the Danish Law on Protection of Animals (Dyreværnsloven, Kap.1 §1) states that animals should be protected against fear. In horses fear is additionally problematic, because fear reactions can cause serious injury to both horse and human. Investigations have shown that the major cause of horse-human accidents is unexpected fear reactions. However, fear has not yet been scientifically investigated in horses. The ability of a horse to habituate to a range of otherwise frightening stimuli greatly increases safety in the horse-human relationship, and finding appropriate methods for reducing fear in horses has important practical applications. This Ph.D. project aims to investigate whether fearfulness can be modified via social transmission of responses and generalisation across situations. The project combines fundamental research on fear and learning in horses with important practical applications.

For further information please contact the responsible scientist.


Last updated: Tuesday 19 September 2006 -