Wendy Koch's Blog (7)

Survey on Problem Behavior in Horses

Dr Orla Doherty is gathering data on the impact of problem behaviors in horses on riders, handlers, and those working with horses, along with their strategies for addressing these issues. Dr Doherty is an Irish veterinarian with a Master's Degree in Animal Behavior and Welfare from Edinburgh University. She established the Animal Behavior Clinic in 1994 and has been addressing behavior issues in animals ever since. She kindly requests that as many people as possible take a moment to…


Added by Wendy Koch on October 27, 2023 at 10:27pm — No Comments

Handling Problem Behaviors

The usual question people ask when dealing with horses that have behavior problems is “how do I stop this behavior?”  Another (better) question to ask is “what do I want my horse to do instead of this behavior?”  Horses LEARN the behaviors they show around people, and it’s up to us whether the behaviors we teach are good or bad.


B. F. Skinner…


Added by Wendy Koch on July 14, 2015 at 2:00pm — No Comments

Happy Holidays!

At Christmas, for the last several years, my horse has tailored a popular Christmas carol to make her seasonal opinion known, and as always, I have opted to share it with others, because I believe most horses think pretty much the way mine does (that is, food is all-important):


I'm dreaming of a tasty Christmas ---

Treats coming in a steady flow.

Give me cookies, candy;

Mint chocolate’s dandy;

And I love carrots, don’t you know.




Added by Wendy Koch on December 15, 2014 at 3:10pm — 1 Comment

The Gentleness of Horses

I was musing the other day on the Connecticut judge who found that horses are "a species naturally inclined to do mischief or be vicious."  (See Horses are vicious beasts in Connecticut…


Added by Wendy Koch on November 14, 2014 at 5:00pm — 2 Comments

An Equine Behavior/Welfare Research Fund

If such a thing existed, would you donate to an equine behavior/welfare research fund? I'm just curious. Funds for equine research are hard to come by --- especially funds for behavior/welfare research. I'm thinking of setting up such a fund in my will, but doing so means I won't be around to see the results. I would hope, though, that once such a fund existed, other people would donate to it, so that research in the field could be advanced. I thought it would be interesting to get comments…


Added by Wendy Koch on January 27, 2014 at 2:37pm — 2 Comments

Prestige vs. Dominance

People are commonly told that they need to be dominant to their horses, but such advice is not in line with scientific studies on dominance behavior. Although dominance hierarchies certainly exist among horses, there is no need for people to try to assume a place in such hierarchies. Horses will naturally defer to people because we, as a species, are more confident than horses are and thus more likely to be leaders in the horse-human relationship. Consider the Budweiser ad run during the…


Added by Wendy Koch on August 5, 2013 at 2:49pm — 1 Comment


Last summer, some scientists published a paper about a “gait-keeper” gene in horses (see http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/notrocketscience/2012/08/29/one-gait-keeper-gene-allows-horses-to-move-in-unusual-ways/). A mutation in this gene appears to be responsible for the “extra” gaits in “gaited” horses (rack, foxtrot, running walk, etc.). The unmutated gene…


Added by Wendy Koch on May 30, 2013 at 12:51pm — 7 Comments

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