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Poster communications

Are horses sensitive to humans’ emotional state during a leading task?

Abstract : Both humans and animals appear to be sensitive to cues displayed by each other while interacting and adapt their behaviours accordingly. However, very little is still known about the relevant elements that have to be considered when humans interact with horses. Here we investigated whether humans’ emotional state had an impact on horses’ heart rate and level of obedience in a simple leading task. Professionals (6 women, 2 men) and nonprofessionals (3 women, 3 men) were asked to lead a horse along a given path. Experiment 1 was performed on 8 professionals and 3 horses; experiment 2 on 6 non-professionals and 13 horses. Humans’ and horses’ heart rates were recorded during the interaction. People also reported a posteriori on their positive and negative emotional states (questionnaire). Non-professionals had lower heart rates and expressed less negative feelings than professionals (p<0.05). Alongside, horses showed higher heart rates with non-professionals (p<0.001). These results suggest that horses are able to perceive humans’ emotional states. The results reinforce the idea that knowledge of factors which might impact on humans’ emotions should be promoted, as appropriated emotions might be key elements to prevent accidents.
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Poster communications
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Contributor : Umr6552 Ethos <>
Submitted on : Monday, September 12, 2016 - 4:29:03 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, January 14, 2021 - 11:15:10 AM


  • HAL Id : hal-01364561, version 1


Vanessa André, Anne-Sophie Vallet, Séverine Henry, Martine Hausberger, Carole Fureix. Are horses sensitive to humans’ emotional state during a leading task?. Behavior 2013 - 33rd International Ethological Conference, Aug 2013, Newcastle, United Kingdom. ⟨hal-01364561⟩



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