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24-h sheltering behaviour of individually kept horses during Swedish summer weather

24-h sheltering behaviour of individually kept horses during Swedish summer weather

Hartmann, Elke, Hopkins, Richard ORCID: 0000-0003-4935-5825, von Brömssen, Claudia and Dahlborn, Kristina (2015) 24-h sheltering behaviour of individually kept horses during Swedish summer weather. Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica, 57 (1). ISSN 1751-0147 (Print), 1751-0147 (Online) (doi:

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Provision of shelter for horses kept on summer pasture is rarely considered in welfare guidelines, perhaps because the benefits of shelter in warm conditions are poorly documented scientifically. For cattle, shade is a valued resource during summer and can mitigate the adverse effects of warm weather on well-being and performance. We found in a previous study that horses utilized shelters frequently in summer. A shelter with a roof and closed on three sides (shelter A) was preferred and can reduce insect pressure whereas a shelter with roof and open on three sides was not utilized. However, shelter A restricts the all-round view of a horse, which may be important for horses as flight animals. Therefore, we studied whether a shelter with roof, where only the upper half of the rear wall was closed (shelter B), would be utilized while maintaining insect protection properties and satisfying the horses’ sense for security. A third shelter was offered with walls but no roof (shelter C) to evaluate whether the roof itself is an important feature from the horse’s perspective. Eight Warmblood horses were tested each for 2 days, kept individually for 24 h in two paddocks with access to shelters A and B, or shelters A and C, respectively. Shelter use was recorded continuously during the night (1800–2400 h, 0200–0600 h) and the following day (0900–1600 h), and insect defensive behaviour (e.g., tail swish) in instantaneous scan samples at 5-min intervals during daytime.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiverapplies to the data made available in this article.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Equine; Shelter; Behaviour; Weather; Insects
Subjects: S Agriculture > SF Animal culture
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Pest Behaviour Research Group
Last Modified: 28 Apr 2016 05:21

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