Physiological and Behavioral Stress Response in Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced Lesson Horses (Equus ferus caballus)

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Neidlinger, Jamie
Currently, a qualified and experienced horse professional is required to observe and then somewhat subjectively place a horse in one of three lesson rider categories (beginner, intermediate, advanced) based on its behavior, and there is no scaling between categories. If variables related to measured behavioral and physiological stress response in horses can be used to mathematically predict lesson rider category, it would allow for a continuous value between categories and a quantitative score for each horse, thereby allowing for clearer categorization independent of a qualified horse professional. The purpose of this research was to thus determine the relationship between a horse’s physiological and behavioral characteristics and the lesson category into which it is placed.