Imprint Training and Future Performance

Dr. Sue McDonnell answers a reader’s quesion about foal imprint training.
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Q. Does foal imprint training affect future performance?

via e-mail

A. There is probably no single technique in horse management that has generated more questions for behaviorists than the method of intensive handling of neonatal foals called imprint training. And it’s always frustrating to try to provide a thoughtful professional opinion or evidence-based answer.

The premise and claims of the technique are for lifelong better interaction with humans and compliance with human imposed procedures and all things domestic. This should translate into a positive effect on performance

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Sue M. McDonnell, PhD, is a certified applied animal behaviorist and the founding head of the equine behavior program at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine. She is also the author of numerous books and articles about horse behavior and management.

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