The Storm Before the Calm: Horses Experience ‘Vacation Stress’
According to a Spanish study, when working horses move to pasture for a lengthy (and well-deserved) break, they’re initially stressed by the change of location. But within a few weeks, their stress levels tend to decrease, allowing them the chance to truly get some “vacation time,” the researchers said.
“It was supposed, from an anthropic (human) point of view, that the relocation was to a better place compared to the working one, with its daily activities, because the new place implied open spaces and no working routines,” said Manel Lopez-Bejar, DVM, PhD, of the Department of Animal Health and Anatomy in the Veterinary Faculty of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Bellaterra (Cerdanyola del Vallès).
“But the new space (in our study) also implied changes in daily management and nutrition, less guided activity, and so on,” he said. “Mammals respond to environmental changes with a cortisol (stress hormone) increase. This response is necessary to cope with the new environmental conditions, which may vary as the animals adapts—or not—to these
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