We tell children to “quit horsing around,” or describe exuberant play in children as “horseplay.” What is the basis for these commonly used phrases? Horses are social group-living animals just like humans, and like humans, play is an integral part of their maturation and their social communication. Play has been well documented and described in wild horses as well as in domesticated horses. We will explore the types of play behavior we see in horses and examine the similarities and differences in play between horses of different ages and different social situations. Some of the questions we will look at will include whether play objects designed for horses really stimulate play and whether horses develop “vices” due to play or lack of play. Discover the answers to these questions and more by joining Equine Extension Specialist Dr. Jenifer Nadeau for an intimate look into the mind of one of man’s most cherished domestic animals, the horse.
Dr. Jenifer Nadeau is an Associate Professor and the Equine Extension Specialist for the University of Connecticut. She has worked for UConn since 2001, and grew up riding and working with horses including trail, hunter/jumper, draft, and race horses, and rides both English and Western. Her research focuses on Equine Health, while she teaches Horse Science for undergraduate students and working in Extension Outreach with adult horse owners and 4-H horse project members.
Watch the recorded webcast below!