Equine Biology & Physiology
I have been teaching very basic neuroscience for many years as it relates to horses.
This science applies to all animals as they/we all possess a central nervous system (CNS) which includes the brain, spinal cord and all sensory neurons. For the purposes of my work, I will be referring exclusively to the horse’s CNS.
Neuroscience is an extensive field of science- of which I teach a small part. We will be exploring just the tip of the iceberg, that which helps us understand “why” horses behave the way do.
Learning about the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) which includes the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) and Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS), Homeostasis and Neurochemicals.
We also use this information to help us treat the psychological problems that arise when horses are kept stressed and “up” in the SNS for a long period of time. I also touch on the neurochemicals that go into learning, stress, and memory- again to help you understand “why”.
The brain itself has no taste, no sound, no sight, no smell, and no feelings. Senses (sensory neurons) bring in all the experiences from the outside world. The brain sifts through these millions of bits of incoming information and tries to find patterns. It then proceeds to identify, sort, and make sense of the information in order to make the next move- like running from danger, turning to fight, or jumping for joy when all is well.