Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Sweets Make Young Horses Harder To Train, Study Finds

Date:
August 19, 2008
Source:
Montana State University
Summary:
Young horses may be easier to train if they temporarily lay off the sweets, says a Montana State University study.

Less experienced riders need calm horses that are easy to handle. An MSU study learned how nutrition during early training can enhance those traits.
Credit: MSU photo by Erin Raley

Young horses may be easier to train if they temporarily lay off the sweets, says a Montana State University study where two-year-olds wore pedometers, wrist watches and Ace bandages.

A commercial mixture of corn, oats, barley and molasses -- sometimes called "sweet grain" or "sweet feed" -- gives horses the glossy coat and lively spirit that makes them attractive to prospective buyers, said Jan Bowman, an animal nutritionist at MSU.

But the extra energy provided by sweet grain during the early stages of training made the horses in MSU's study more disobedient and fearful than horses that only ate hay, Bowman said. The grain-eaters spent more time resisting the saddle. They startled easier. They bucked and ran more during training.

Early training, which usually lasts about 30 days, gives young horses the foundation they need for more advanced training, Bowman said. They learn to move sideways on command, for example. They learn how to move their front or hind feet in any direction.

"Results suggest that trainers under time constraints could increase their training effectiveness during the early stages of training by not feeding excess dietary energy," Wade Black wrote in a paper that will be submitted later this year to the "Journal of Animal Science."

Black -- a horse trainer, instructor for the MSU Colt Starting class and one of Bowman's graduate students -- came up with the idea for the study when he was an undergraduate in her equine nutrition class, Bowman said. She and Black then conducted experiments during the summer of 2007. Black presented their findings to the American Society of Animal Science in June this year. He is still analyzing some of the data to see how the grain affected the horses' adrenaline during training.

The study involved 12 closely-related quarter horses that came from one Idaho ranch, Bowman said. Black trained the horses for three weeks, five days a week at MSU's Miller Livestock Pavilion. Half the horses ate only hay. The hay was a mixture of grass and alfalfa. The other horses ate five pounds of sweet grain a day in addition to the hay. Both groups ate as much hay and drank as much water as they wanted.

Each horse wore a pedometer adjusted to its stride and attached with an Ace bandage to its left front leg above the knee, Bowman said. Each horse also had a combination wristwatch-heart monitor hanging from its saddle. The watch displayed minimum, maximum and mean heart rates detected by an electrode belt.

Black trained the animals for 30 or 40 minutes a day without knowing which animal had eaten grain and which one hadn't, Bowman said. She and Black then recorded heart rates and the number of steps the horses took during training. They scored behaviors like obedience, get-up-and-go and separation anxiety.

Horses that ate both grain and hay became more upset when they were separated from the herd, Bowman said. They whinnied more and were livelier and less submissive than the horses that ate only hay.

The study doesn't mean that trainers should keep grain away from horses forever, Bowman said. They might consider withholding it just during the early weeks of training.

"We don't want to give the impression that you should starve them in order to enhance their good behavior," Bowman said. "That's not the point of it."

Wade wrote in his paper that, "Horses, being ridden by less experienced riders, need to be calm and easy to handle, characteristics that may be enhanced by more effective early training."

Bowman noted that all of the horses in MSU's study gained weight during the study. It didn't matter if they ate hay alone or hay with grain.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Montana State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Montana State University. "Sweets Make Young Horses Harder To Train, Study Finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 August 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080815170625.htm>.
Montana State University. (2008, August 19). Sweets Make Young Horses Harder To Train, Study Finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080815170625.htm
Montana State University. "Sweets Make Young Horses Harder To Train, Study Finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080815170625.htm (accessed September 21, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

AP (Sep. 20, 2014) The San Diego Zoo has welcomed two Cheetah cubs to its Safari Park. The nearly three-week-old female cubs are being hand fed and are receiving around the clock care. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) Considered a "national heritage" in Belgium, chocolate now has a new museum in Brussels. In a former chocolate factory, visitors to the permanent exhibition spaces, workshops and tastings can discover derivatives of the cocoa bean. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins