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Different behaviour as a horse ages

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Alyssa Ylioja

on 4 May 2015

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Transcript of Different behaviour as a horse ages

Different behaviour as a horse ages
Behaviour refers to the actions or reactions of an animal. In this prezi we will examine how the behaviour of a horse can, or will change with age. Take into account that every horse is different, and different breeds will all have different beviours. "Some behaviour does depend on age, but there are also other characteristics that come into play, along with that." (Mel) An animals behaviour is influenced by many factors; environment, physiology, genetic predisposition, experince and learning, and age.
Weaning happens around four to six months of age, and is one of the most traumatic events in the horse's life. Weanlings are in the process of overcoming much of their awkwardness, and need just as much guidance as they learn about how to interact with other horses and humans. By brief dialy workouts with a trainer and careful handling the weanling learns what is expected of it and begins to adapt to the requirements it will need to meet as it grows older. A young horses bones and joints are fragile, so the intense work doesn't start until they are at least two years old. During this period of growth too much food can be as bad as not enough..
Yearlings are over the age of one year, and they spend more time standing rather than lying down. They are very curious and enjoy mouthing anything they can find in their stalls or pastures. During this phase adult characteristics and behaviours begin to emerge. These young horses will test the boundaries with both herd mates and human handlers. They do lots of play fighting, galloping, bucking, and running with bursts of speed. But along with having fun it should be learning to be obedient, to lead quietly, and to stand tied for grooming, vet and farrier work. Short training exercises are important for exercise and to teach good manners. Within its first year it should have already been taught all the skills it will need later in life, now it's just perfecting them.
At the age of two, most horses are learning to hold a bit and carry a saddle, although actual riding is usually put off until the horse is around three to four years old. Their joints are still maturing and are susceptible to overwork. At this age, most horses begin to mature sexually. A properly trained two year old will have excellent ground manners and will have learned to be cooperative when loading into a trailer. They can be lunged, round penned, driven, hitched to a light vehicle and ridden at the owners say. Additional time taken with on the ground training allows the horse to advance more quickly and with better manners once under saddle. The horse continues to become more confident and learns with positive experiences.
Foals are physically awkward, but also very curious about their surroundings. "Foals are very playful."(Mel) They will tire themselves out by playing and then lie down to take a nap before starting up again. They need a clean, safe environment with adequate shelter from the elements, since they are naturally curious and can harm themselves in unexpected ways. The best way for it to get its workout is to let out in the pasture. "They are nervous until they are used to a person, and the other horses." (Mel) It should be given the opportunity to interact with other horses because it is good for bone strength and hoof formation, but also the development of healthy attitudes and relationships with both humans and other horses.
Research Sterotypic behaviours
The first few months of the foals life are really important in training it to live in both equine and human society. Needs to learn the training basics. Foals get milk from their mothers until they are around three months old, but they will start to nibble at hay and grain at one to three weeks. The amount and type of human handling, (especially in the first few days and months) and exposure to novel stimuli can influence a horse's behaviour and character. A foals experiences with weaning and other situations will leave a lasting impression on the foal. The more positive experiences, the easier the horse will be to handle and to train.
By Alyssa Ylioja
Until three months of age most of the playing is done alone. At around three to four months interactive play peaks. They fight, mount, run, and do mutual grooming (which is practice for later courtship). This play is important for normal social interaction in their adult life. One behaviour that is seen with many weanlings when they are introducing themselves to older horses is 'champing', or 'snapping'. They extend their head and neck, pulling lips up and back while clamping teeth up and down.
Two year old
Between the ages of two and five, the young horse will continue to become stronger and more mature both physically and mentally, and will be able to carry more weight and develop skills related to the horse's work, whether competitive or as a pleasure and farm horse. The peak learning phase and the bulk of the horse's training usually takes place between three and six years of age. The horse is now ready to take on some serious work and is now capable of becoming a great companion.
Middle aged
Horses are in their prime working years between
the ages of six and fifteen. All the bones and joints are now fully developed and the animal is considered mature. "A middle aged horse is obedient; listens to commands." (Mel) By now the horse has learned how to respond to humans and is ready to take on a full load of the work it was bred for. "They are more calm and quiet." (Mel) Horses at these ages are good companions for novice riders, provided they don't have to much energy. They can be very engaging and show appreciation for treats, praise and caresses. Even now, every interaction with humans leaves an impression on the horse, making it important to continue with appropriate feeding, training and
handling geared to keep the horse in tip-top
shape both mentally and physically.
Some people say a horse is considered old after the age of fifteen, but others say after twenty. None the less, a little extra care can ensure that the horse still has many serviceable years left. "Older horses are more laid back." (Mel) They make a good companion for foals and other horses and also people. Pleasure horses often work well into the twenties and are often known for their quiet gentleness when around children or younger riders. "They can be grumpy." (Mel) Aged horses don't tolerate change very well, and if possible, should be kept in familiar soundings and should not be boarded or hospitalized if at all possible. Shelter from the elements becomes more important. "They walk much slower." (Mel)
Older horses tend to be less energetic and more restricted in their scope of activities, which needs to be take into consideration for their care. They continue to enjoy treats and special attention along with adequate exercise and stimulation to keep the mind and body sharp. Younger, more aggressive horses often displace the older horse when it comes to feeding, so they should be fed alone if this happens. A properly trained and well treated horse usually grows more mellow and accepting with age, and as long as the horse is healthy and relativity pain free, it will continue to bring joy to those around it.
How it helps
"Knowing the age of the horse you are working with is important and helpful because you can react to their nature better. You can change your handling ways according to the age of the horse. For example; with a foal you would want to try avoid sudden movements, but with an older horse you wouldn't have to worry as much because they probably wouldn't care. It makes it much safer for you when you know the behaviours of the horse." (Mel)
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