The Storm Before the Calm: Horses Experience ‘Vacation Stress’

Time off in turnout seems like a good idea for working horses. But, researchers found, transitioning to downtime created its own kind of stress for the horses.
Share
Favorite
Close

No account yet? Register

ADVERTISEMENT

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. | Photo: iStock
You know how vacation is supposed to be relaxing but somehow always ends up being stressful itself—at least in the beginning? It’s like that for horses, too.

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 changes

Create a free account with TheHorse.com to view this content.

TheHorse.com is home to thousands of free articles about horse health care. In order to access some of our exclusive free content, you must be signed into TheHorse.com.

Start your free account today!

Already have an account?
and continue reading.

Share

Written by:

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.

Related Articles

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with

FREE weekly newsletters from TheHorse.com

Sponsored Content

Weekly Poll

sponsored by:

Which skin issue do you battle most frequently with your horse?
253 votes · 253 answers

Readers’ Most Popular

Sign In

Don’t have an account? Register for a FREE account here.

Need to update your account?

You need to be logged in to fill out this form

Create a free account with TheHorse.com!