2007 Student Research Conference:
20th Annual Student Research Conference

Science

Levels of Aggression in Quarter Horse Mares and the Social Impacts of the Foal
Kate M. Randall
Dr. Charlie Apter and Dr. Dean DeCock, Faculty Mentors

Previous research suggests mares receive differing amounts of aggression from herd mates depending on whether a foal is present. In the current study, dominance hierarchies were determined in two separate groups of four mares each, either with or without suckling foals. After an observation period of fifteen days (30 hours) for the separate groups, mares were combined together into one herd and subsequent behaviors observed and recorded for an additional fifteen days (48 hours). We sought to determine if foal presence would alter rank and aggression rates in the combined group relative to the separate groups. Despite some changes noted in aggression after combination of the two groups, data demonstrated no significant effect of the presence or absence of a foal on the rank of the mare. The study’s findings impact the horse industry, especially with breeding; it could change socialization practices of mares and foals in a breeding environment.

Keywords: foal, dominance, hierarchy, equine, horse, aggression

Topic(s):Agricultural Science

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 11-2
Location: VH 1408
Time: 8:30 am

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