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Equine Behavior/Welfare Research

Wendy Koch

Equine Behavior/Welfare Research

Here is the place where you can contribute to improving the behavioral health and welfare of our equine companions.

Have you ever thought about the research necessary to ensure that the advice we get about caring for our horses is fact, not fiction? Have you wondered about where the researchers get the money for their studies? They get it from donors like you!

Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of money available for equine research. For decades, Morris Animal Foundation has been a mainstay funder of studies advancing the physical health of horses, but there are almost no funds available for studies of horses’ psychological needs (which can also affect their physical health). Now, the Foundation and I have partnered in a Donor-Inspired Study program to remedy that lack, and we hope that you will join us. One of the benefits of donating through the Foundation is that 100% of your donation will go to our cause.

Unwanted behaviors (from bucking to “zoning out”), “vices”, and other such problems are our horses’ only way of telling us that our behavior may be negatively affecting their welfare --- and we often miss the subtler signals our horses send us. So, there is a pressing need for studies that will improve our understanding of our horses’ behavioral and psychological needs and challenges. Horse lovers understand the connection we have with these magnificent animals --- for many of us, they provide vital companionship, being as important in our lives as we are in theirs. We owe it to them to help them have the best lives we can provide, so please join our partnership to achieve that goal!

If this fundraiser reaches its target, you will have helped provide all of the money needed to fund one high-quality study in the field of equine behavior and welfare. Even if we don’t reach our target, though, your donation will be added to one of the studies I will be funding, and it will help to provide extra resources for our researchers. Every little bit counts, so don’t be shy if a little bit is all you can afford. The horses are counting on you!

On behalf of the horses who are so important in our lives, thank you so very much for joining our partnership to improve equine behavioral health and welfare!

Wendy Koch, DVM
Diplomate, American College of Animal Welfare


D21EQ-508: Validation of a Chronic Pain Monitoring Instrument for Owner Recognition of Osteoarthritis Pain in Horses Through Behavioral Indicators.
Learn more: morrisanimalfoundation.org/study/validating-pain-assessment-tool-osteoarthritis
Link to publication: mdpi.com/2076-2615/14/2/181

D22EQ-514: Seeing the light: Can customized LED lighting designed to strengthen circadian rhythms influence sleep quality and therefore positively impact wellbeing in stabled horses?
Learn more: morrisanimalfoundation.org/study/horse-stable-lighting
Link to final report: morrisanimalfoundation.org/sites/default/files/filesync/D22EQ-514.pdf

D22EQ-516: Evaluating the Effect of Touch in Human-Horse Interactions.
Learn more: morrisanimalfoundation.org/study/human-horse-touch-interaction
Link to final report: www.morrisanimalfoundation.org/sites/default/files/filesync/D22EQ-516.pdf

D22EQ-504: Implications of mare life history and mare-foal attachment for mare welfare at weaning.
Learn more: morrisanimalfoundation.org/study/mare-stress-weaning

D23EQ-509: Too impulsive to adapt? Exploring the role of inhibitory control in horses' coping behaviour.
Learn more: morrisanimalfoundation.org/study/exploring-inhibitory-control-and-coping-behaviors-horses


raised of $10,000 goal


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