Horse Behavior / Edition 2

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First published in 1983, the second edition of this informative book remains the most comprehensive and current overview of the behavioral traits and adaptations of horses. The book integrates findings from hundreds of international researchers to provide the reader a factual synthesis of the behavior of domestic and feral horses. Building on the strengths of the first edition, the author has thoroughly updated coverage of horse ancestry, development, perception, learning, play, social behavior, behavioral manipulation, maintenance activities, and sexual behavior.

In this second edition more emphasis has been given to animal husbandry and management. Additionally, the second edition includes an all-new section on ecological influences on activity patterns, habitat utilization, social behavior and reproduction. An expanded section on applied ethology provides behavioral considerations for management and insight regarding the behavioral indicators of horse health and well being. This is followed with an updated appendix listing behavioral symptoms and possible causes. The text contains numerous tables and nearly 100 illustrations and photos.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The coverage in the book is incredibly broad, thorough and detailed." - Cheryl Asa, Director of Research, St. Louis Zoo
Australian Veterinary Journal
This is a great source book for veterinarians, students of animal sciences, especially those interested in animal behaviour and researchers needing a reference book. Every topic has extensive references from both the recent and older literature. If you want to know some fact about normal horse behaviour such as how long a foal suckles, duration of copulation, how much an adult horse sleeps - the experimental data will most likely be in this book. There are numerous tables, illustrations and photographs and a comprehensive index and bibliography.

The first edition of this book as published in 1983 and this second edition has been updated in every section. There are new sections on ecological influences on activity patterns, habitat utilization, social behaviour and reproduction. An expanded section on applied ethology and behavioural considerations for management, horse well-being and health is a useful addition.

The book is in seven parts consisting of three to five chapters. The index in the front of the book gives a clear understanding of what subjects are covered in each part. Part I covers the ancestry, special senses and motor patterns of the horse with a useful table on horse taxonomy and related species of living equids. There are detailed line drawings and definitions of all the motor patterns. In the discussion of the special senses, the horse's use of them is put into the ecological, morphological and physiological contexts. There is also detailed descriptions, including good drawings of the different gaits. Part II includes the development of behaviour patterns: play, post- and peri-natal development, learning, memory and often difficult to find data on foal development. The section on learning covers useful information on habituation, classical conditioning and instrumental conditioning (operant conditioning). Maintenance activities (resting, sleep, ingestion, elimination, comfort behaviours) are discussed in Part III. A term used that I found in appropriate, was 'self-indulgent' to describe sunning, shelter seeking, licking, nibbling, scratching and rubbing - these are maintenance behaviours. An interesting section is included on the symbiotic relationships of horses with birds, such as cattle egre, and humans.

The section on reproductive behaviour (Part IV) is full of useful data which covers the sexual behaviours of mares and stallions and a detailed account of maternal behaviour. Both normal and abnormal behaviours are discussed. The stimuli that can affect sexual behaviour are commented on, including age, colour and sexual signals.

Social behaviour in Part V covers herd behaviour, social attachment, home range and territoriality, social dominance and agnostic behaviour. Mare-foal and foal-mare attachments are discussed and there is a small section on interspecies relationships. The excellent line drawings of facial expressions, head and ear positions add useful information. Part VI, the interaction of horses and their environment, includes an excellent section on the influence of native horses on various environments. However, the destructive effect of introduced feral horses in countries like Australia is not mentioned - this would have completed the discussion. The chapter on ecological influences and the effects on reproduction and social behaviour is a useful addition.

The expanded section (Part VII) on applied ethology provided behavioural considerations for management and insight regarding behavioural indicators of horse health and well-being. An appendix after this chapter categorizes many equine behavioural signs and possible problems they may indicate. The behavioural signs include facial expressions, posture, changes in motor coordination, changes in maintenance behaviour and social behaviour.

There is no specific section devoted to behaviour problems -these are discussed in the appropriate chapters along with the normal behaviour. This arrangement works well and gives a good understanding of how the normal behaviour has changed.

This is an easy-to-read, hard-back book, packed with useful information written by an author, who not only has conducted research, but is also an educator. I am lucky to have it on my shelf.
Dr. J.K. Blackshaw, Associate Professor, School of Vetertinary Science, University of Queensland

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Product Details

Table of Contents

Behavioral Development
Maintenance Activities
Reproductive Behavior
Social Behavior
Ecological Influences
Applied Ethology in Horse Care and Management

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2003

    Horse Behavior, 2nd Edition

    Understanding horses¿ behavior is something that all people who own or work with horses want to be able to do successfully. Our own observations have taught us that horses remember their experiences and make associations that can stay with them their entire lives. George Waring, a founder of the Animal Behavior Society and an educator at Southern Illinois University, explores a horse¿s ability to learn and remember as well as examines all aspects of horse behavior in the wild and in the managed stable environment. Although written by an academic, Horse Behavior, 2e is an enjoyable and accessible book that takes the reader from the horse¿s ancestry to behavioral manipulation and everyday horse concerns. I particularly enjoyed the sections on learning and memory and would recommend that all horse owners and horse professionals read Horse Behavior, 2e, if not in its entirety, than simply for these chapters. Waring has thoroughly researched the available data in this area (from the late 70s to the 90s), all which is beneficial to horse people working with (and building trust with) horses. Although worthwhile for all, Horse Behavior, 2e is a must for horse breeders, Waring presents a comprehensive study of sexual traits, behaviors, and anomalies in feral herds as well as at home in the barn. Horse Behavior, 2e is one of the first books that I have read that freely explores and identifies stallions¿ and mares¿ sexual behaviors and parenting patterns. The first edition was published in 1983, the second this past fall. There are several new sections including chapters on horse management, ecology, habitation, and social behavior. I read Horse Behavior, 2e straight through, but each section stands independently and can be used easily as a reference text. The only downside to this book is that the photographs are not of the highest quality. Those photographs depicting feral herds are understandably insufficient but others illustrating animal husbandry could have been better and more numerous. That aside, I strongly encourage all horse people to give Horse Behavior. 2r a place of prominence on the bookshelf. ---Helen Peppe, author of the Maine and New Hampshire Stable Guides, editor of the Eastern Equerry, and owner of Wordplay Publishing

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2003

    Horse Behavior, 2nd Edition

    Horse Behavior, 2nd edition, is a very well researched book that addresses a through review of normal horse behavior. Dr. Waring brings together references from a wide variety of disciplines, often from very difficult to get sources, and integrates them with his own research into a comprehensive picture of the horse. Each chapter is well orgainzed in its contents, resulting in a book that will be an excellent reference. This is a "must have" for any serious student of horse behavior and for those who just enjoy the animal. Professor, Department of Small Animal Medicine and Surgery Texas A&M University

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