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Conference Papers Year : 2007

How to establish a human-foal relationship based on trust?


Developing a positive relationship with horses is an important step for stockbreeders and users. Research studies have considered the importance of the early age in establishing a human-horse bond and have aimed to better understand what type of approaches and timing may help develop a positive relation. While it is traditionally admitted that handling of foals is a prerequisite to improve their reactions to humans, recent research revealed that forced and intensive approaches have rarely long-term beneficial effects and may even lead to short-term disturbances in the relation. Thus, even a brief handling at first suckling seems enough to induce later reluctance for human contact. On the other hand, less intrusive approaches may influence positively the foal’s responses to human presence and handling. A mere exposure to humans seems to induce some habituation, but overall the use of social partners as models is of great help in establishing with foals a positive relation that allow even on a long-term basis their active cooperation during handling. Therefore, it appears important for the establishment of a bond based on trust to let foals being an active participant in the process.

Dates and versions

hal-01354074 , version 1 (17-08-2016)



Séverine Henry, Marie-Annick Richard-Yris, Martine Hausberger. How to establish a human-foal relationship based on trust?. 58th Annual Meeting of the European Association for Animal Production, European Federation of Animal Science (EAAP), Aug 2007, Dublin, Ireland. pp.31, ⟨10.3920/978-90-8686-612-0⟩. ⟨hal-01354074⟩
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