Equine Ethology (E/E)
Horse's World View
Ethology is the study of animal behavior. This science was developed from the need to understand how animals behave in their own environment, and their spontaneous behaviors.
Before Ethology, animals where only studied in a laboratories under human control and human tests. This is a young science but for many it was long overdue. Jane Goodall was one of the pioneers to explore firsthand how Apes behaved the wild. The benefit to zoo animals has been huge. Going from cement enclosures with little to do all day, to enclosures that better represent their natural environment.
By giving them choices of where they go, who they interact with, has proven to keep them healthier both mentally and physically. The zoologists learned keeping animals in the zoos without stimulation of their own environment, or the presence of others of their kind, made them sick.
Through the science of equine ethology, we have begun to understand the importance of general physical health, social, emotional and cognitive needs. These needs where developed over thousands of years for the continuation of their species.
“Horses have shown that they make an effort to stick together and be nice to each other - they were “stickers” not “splitters”. They work at cementing bonds and deflating potential “splitting” of the group. (Kiley-Worthington 1998).
When we apply good equine husbandry to our list of things to learn, we have found that the once unresponsive horse is now responsive to learning, seeking, and over-all better general health.
"Looking through their eyes will open ours."