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Is it Coping or is it a Vice? A Review of Cribbing, Weaving and Other Stereotypic Behaviors


During the past decade, stereotypic behavior in horses has received considerable attention in the scientific literature. Research studies designed to investigate equine stereotypies have provided valuable insight into the prevalence, underlying mechanisms, and owner perceptions of the behaviors. The findings of these studies have demonstrated how the management of horses can influence their behavior and well-being. This presentation will highlight recent research findings related to stereotypic behaviors in horses and will stress the importance of understanding why horses develop these behaviors.

Presenter Information

Dr. Carissa Wickens joined the faculty in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences at the University of Delaware in July of 2009. She serves as Assistant Professor of Equine Science and Equine Extension Specialist for the state of Delaware. Carissa completed her Ph.D. in Animal Behavior and Welfare at Michigan State University in May 2009. The focus of her doctoral research was stereotypic behavior in horses, with an emphasis on the oral stereotypy of crib-biting. During her Ph.D. program, Carissa also assisted with the development of an online Animal Welfare Assessment Course funded through the USDA Higher Education Challenge Grants Program. Dr. Wickens is developing and teaching undergraduate animal science courses focused on the horse, and delivering both adult and youth equine education and outreach programs. Currently, Carissa teaches Introduction to Equine Science and Equine Management and guest lectures on equine topics in other Animal and Food Sciences courses including Introduction to Animal Science, Animal Nutrition, and Animal Behavior.

Watch the recorded webcast below!

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