NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - Oct 22, 2012) - An article recently published at TheHorse.com shared a research study about the negative impact an over reliance on humans can have on domesticated horses. Dr. Cesar Parra, a decorated Dressage competitor, commented on this unique conclusion.
Clémence Lesimple, a researcher at France's Laboratoire d'Ethologie Animale et Humaine at the Université de Rennes, conducted the study. The article reported she based her research on the hypotheses that the more dependent an animal is on a human for survival resources like food, the less self-sufficient it will behave. The research team presented 46 horses with a wooden chest to open in order to obtain a food reward.
According to the article, 23 of the horses were successful in their attempts to open the chest. The horses that were not able to open the chest displayed more of an interest in the researcher than the successful horses. Furthermore, the study noted a correlation between the horses' interest in the researcher and the time they spent on the task. The animals that gazed toward the human in their stall more often than not were less likely to experience success and take longer than the other horses when they did open the chest.
Commenting on the study, Dr. Cesar Parra remarked: "Certainly we have a responsibility to our horses, I know through the years I have had some that would not survive in the wild, i.e. they are allergic to grass. It is our job to take the very best care of them, and it is a huge responsibility to make sure they are as happy and healthy as possible."
During the study, each horse had three attempts to open the chest, notes the article. Initially, lead researcher Lesimple demonstrated how to open the chest to each individual animal and remained in the horses' stalls during the study.
The results of the study led researchers to believe the horses that depend too readily on humans are incapable of solving their own problems. It is uncertain if the horses' actual cognitive skills are diminished or will return over time.
The article made note that the study conducted by Lesimple was the first of its kind. To make further sense of these findings, additional research is necessary. Both domesticated and wild horses are suggested for study.
Dr. Cesar Parra is the founder of Piaffe-Performance, a full-service equestrian training team that is rooted in classical German training methods. Cesar Parra is dedicated to the values of integrity, courtesy, perseverance, sharing, self-control, and strength of character. During his instruction, Dr. Cesar Parra utilizes these values to communicate respectfully and effectively with students while teaching them to work with their horses to achieve their goals.