Study Evaluates Pheromone Gel’s Calming Effects on Horses

Horses treated with pheromones were less stressed during cognitive sessions after travel than untreated ones.

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Does your horse have learning or performance problems under stress? Some semiochemicals might help.

According to a French-Italian equitation scientist, a little bit of the semiochemical–a chemical substance produced by an animal and used in communications, such as a pheromone–produced by lactating mares might help horses learn and perform better during or immediately after stressful situations.

"Our study highlights the interest in using and investigating the semiochemical approach to facilitate horses’ adaptation process during a cognitive effort," said Alessandro Cozzi, PhD, DVM, MSc, head of the department of clinical sciences at the IRSEA Research Institute in Saint Saturnin les Apt, France.

Mares produce the Equine Maternal Appeasing Pheromone (EAP) during the first few days after foaling, Cozzi explained during the presentation of his research at the 2011 International Society for Equitation Science (ISES) Conference, held Oct. 26-29 in Hooge Mierde, The Netherlands. First identified in 2001, EAP is involved in the mare-foal bonding mechanism

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Passionate about horses and science from the time she was riding her first Shetland Pony in Texas, Christa Lesté-Lasserre writes about scientific research that contributes to a better understanding of all equids. After undergrad studies in science, journalism, and literature, she received a master’s degree in creative writing. Now based in France, she aims to present the most fascinating aspect of equine science: the story it creates. Follow Lesté-Lasserre on Twitter @christalestelas.

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