Apparent Link Between Chronic Pain and Aggression In Horses
Animals in pain often exhibit aggressive behavior. I’m Susan Allen welcome to Open Range Yes we’ve been warned about or experienced the aggression of a wounded dog or cat but when it comes to our own horses and ponies we often overlook the fact that chronic discomfort caused for example from a poor fitting saddle can create behavior changes that cause aggression towards humans. Stay tuned I’ll share the results of a recent French study. A study on humans dealing with chronic pain found that 70 percent expressed feelings of anger so French researchers set out to see if that held true with horses and concluded that there is a link between chronic pain and aggression similar to people. The researchers from the University of Rennes looked observed 59 riding horses from 5 to 20 years old, predominantly geldings from three different French riding facilities. The horses went through a series of five behavior tests typically used to judge how a horse relates to it’s human partner . 73 percent of the horses were severely affected with back and spine issues from years of riding and of these 75 percent exhibited negative behavior towards humans , pining ears back, threatening to bite. This is the first study of it’s kind conducted in horses and it ssupports the hypothesis that there is an association between chronic discomfort and aggression .Why does this matter. Many horses are unfairly labeled difficult, mean or aggressive and often extreme and cruel methods are employed to try to train them when in reality the solution could be a visit to the veterinarian or chiropractor.