Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Lonely Number

When I see a horse standing alone in a field, I’m reminded of Harry Nilsson’s lyric: “One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do.” Just how important is it for horses to be with others of their kind? You decide. Dr. Bob Miller (of imprint training fame) tells of visiting a Canadian Premarin facility where scores of pregnant mares were confined in short-walled tie stalls, side by side, for hours on end. Confinement is a natural stressor for horses, yet these horses were happy as clams. Apparently, being in a herd was more important to them than being free to move. The converse is also telling. At New Bolton Center, University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, horses sometimes present with an odd symptom: Collapsing for no apparent reason. What the horses have in common is that they live alone. No herd. No companions of any kind. In my radio show this week, you’ll learn how going solo can affect a horse.

Listen to interview with Dr. Amy Johnson

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