Equine Ethology

Horses October 06, 2011 Print Friendly and PDF

Ashley Griffin, University of Kentucky

3 Mares

Ethology is the scientific study of animal behavior. Technically, ethology is the study of animals in their natural habitat. Several things make a horse unique in the animal kingdom:

  • Horses are strongly social. They are herd animals and are very comfortable when they can see other horses.
  • Horses are herbivores, or plant-eating animals. They rely on grazing grasses and leaves for food.
  • Horses typically show a tendency for imitation between young and old.
  • Horse are seasonal breeders.
  • Males tend to form separate male subgroups at certain times of the year.
  • Horses are considered a prey species in the animal kingdom.
  • Horses are capable of strong pair bond relationships.

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.