Prevalence of Pawing Behavior in Standardbred Racehorses
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This study investigated the prevalence of pawing behavior in Standardbred racehorses. A population of 41 currently racing Standardbred racehorses was observed twice daily for a period of two months to determine if there was a relationship between pawing and sex, gait or time of day. Twenty-four of the 41, or 58.5 percent of observed horses showed pawing behavior at the time of observation. The group of horses which showed the pawing behavior consisted of eight females and 16 males. Observations of pawing ranged from 0.83 percent to 31.4 percent of total observations with the average percentage of pawing observations at 10.6 percent of total observations. The majority of pawing observations were recorded in the afternoon with an average number of 79.8 percent occurring in the afternoon, while an average of 20.2 percent of pawing observations occurred in the morning. These findings indicate that greater than half of the observed population of Standardbreds exhibited pawing behavior, and within the pawing group the majority showed significantly more pawing behavior during the afternoon observation (P<0.05). These results have important implications for future studies investigating stereotypic behavior not only in horses, but across species as well.
stereotypy; Standardbred; equine; racehorse; behavior
dissertation or thesis