BEGINNINGS: HUMANS AND HORSES LEARNING ABOUT EACH OTHER
Do you have a new horse - either your own, or on loan? How quickly are you learning about each other - eg to anticipate each other’s reactions in different situations?
In our previous research, we have studied how humans and horses interact together, and looked at how this differs depending on how well they know each other. In that study, we asked handlers to walk around some obstacles (poles and cones) with the horse on a loose lead. That enabled us to analyse in detail how they moved with each other. We took videos of humans and horses doing this task, so that we could analyse their interaction carefully.
To take that project further, we want to investigate how horse and human learn about, and adapt to, each other, over time. We are particularly interested in looking at interactions when the relationship is relatively new.
What can I do to help?
We would ask people to help in two ways. First of all, we would ask you to write about your horse. Most horse people find that very easy, including us! We’d ask you to tell us about him or her, background, personality, and so on, as well as some information about yourself. And then we would ask you to tell us in subsequent communications how you are getting on with the new arrival: how is it going?
Second, we would like participants to make some short video clips. We’d like to see video clips in two situations: leading the horse around on a loose rope, with changes of direction. You can use poles on the ground or other small obstacles to make a course to follow. The second situation is when you are catching the horse up from field or paddock.
We realise that not everyone will be able to find someone to film them. In that case, you might be able to get hold of a head-cam and do the filming yourself.
We would ask you to do these two tasks at intervals - approximately every two-weeks, for approximately six weeks, using roughly the same pattern of movement each time. We would send you a reminder by email!
While it would be great if you could both write about your horse AND submit video footage, we realise this may not always be possible. Completing the information part on its own would still be helpful, especially if you can send us updates about how you are getting on.