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Effect of work on body language of ranch horses in Brazil

Esteves Trindade, Pedro Henrique and Hartmann, Elke and Keeling, Linda and Andersen, Pia Haubro and Ferraz, Guilherme de Camargo and Rodrigues Paranhos da Costa, Mateus Jose (2020). Effect of work on body language of ranch horses in Brazil. PLoS ONE. 15 , e0228130 , 1-22
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Abstract

The horses' responses to exercise are commonly monitored using physiological variables, nonetheless physical and mental states can also be expressed through body language. The aims of this study were: (i) to identify how facial expressions and other behavioural variables change in ranch horses after a routine workday, and (ii) to investigate if these changes can be used as indicators of physical tiredness by relating them to known variables of physical fitness and workload. Fourteen crossbred ranch horses were assessed pre- and post-workday on two farms, recording the body language, physiological and workload variables. Statistical analysis consisted of four stages: (i) comparisons between the sampling times (pre- vs post-workday) using linear mixed-effects models with repeated measures and a paired Wilcoxon test; (ii) selection of the most powerful variables by applying Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin test and principal components analyses (PCA); (iii) evaluations of the relationships within these selected variables utilizing PCA and Spearman rank coefficients; and (iv) identifying a critical level of the most robust behavioural indicators using a non-hierarchical cluster analysis. Results showed that after a workday the horses increased the frequency/duration of body language indicative of resting. They also decreased the frequency/duration of body language indicative of attention and movements to avoid flies. However, some of these behaviours are also shown when horses are in pain, leading us to suggest that some ranch horses were probably experiencing a combination of of tiredness and slight soreness. Of particular interest, because of the ease with which it can be assessed on the farm and generalized to other situations, we suggest that the frequency of shifting weight between the forelegs has potential to be used as an indicator of physical tiredness in horses. The results can also be used in the development of tools to improve the welfare of ranch horses as well as horses used in other activities, although more research is needed to validate this assumption.

Authors/Creators:Esteves Trindade, Pedro Henrique and Hartmann, Elke and Keeling, Linda and Andersen, Pia Haubro and Ferraz, Guilherme de Camargo and Rodrigues Paranhos da Costa, Mateus Jose
Title:Effect of work on body language of ranch horses in Brazil
Year of publishing :2020
Volume:15
Article number:e0228130
Number of Pages:22
Publisher:Public Library of Science
ISSN:1932-6203
Language:English
Publication Type:Journal article
Article category:Scientific peer reviewed
Version:Published version
Copyright:Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0
Full Text Status:Public
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 4 Agricultural Sciences > 403 Veterinary Science > Medical Bioscience
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-107077
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-107077
Additional ID:
Type of IDID
DOI10.1371/journal.pone.0228130
Web of Science (WoS)000534605400042
ID Code:17411
Faculty:VH - Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science
Department:(VH) > Dept. of Animal Environment and Health
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:07 Sep 2020 09:38
Metadata Last Modified:07 Sep 2020 09:38

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