TYPES OF HORSE BEHAVIOR AND SENSES

Animal behaviorists haveclassified the social behavior of horses (and other animals) into the following categories:
Contactual Behavior
behaviorrelated to seeking affection, protectionor other benefits by contactwith other animals. Communicationbehavior (see the section on communication)is sometimes consideredas a separate category.
Ingestive Behavior
behavioralactivities associated with eating anddrinking.
Eliminative Behavior –
behavioralactivities associated with defecationand urination.
Sexual Behavior –
behavior relatedto mating between males andfemales.

Epimeletic Behavior –
behaviorrelated to giving care and attention,most common between a mare andfoal, but also between other horses,such as horses standing togetherunder shade and “switching” fliesfrom one another.

Allelomimetic Behavior –
behaviorrelated to mimicry; contagious orinfectious behavior such as whenone horse copies the behavior ofanother. If one horse starts running,for example, others are likely tojoin in. This may be a defensemaneuver that is typical of wildhorses.

Investigative Behavior –
behavioralactivities associated withcuriosity; the exploration of thesurroundings or objects. Horses arenoted for using all their senses tothoroughly “check out” any newitem, horse or place with whichthey are presented.

Agonistic Behavior –
behaviorassociated with conflict or fighting,including anger, aggression,submission and flight from conflict.Sometimes behaviorists separatethis into two categories (aggressionand fearfulness).

Dominance \ Submission –
behavioralactivities often referred to as“pecking order,” because the earlybehavioral work in this area wasdone with poultry. Dominancehierarchies are extremely prevalentin the social order of horses

Dominance is generally establishedthrough agonistic behavior, andmay be extremely violent (such asfighting between stallions) or assimple as threatening looks (earpinned back, squeals, sudden movesin the direction of the submissiveanimal). If the lower-ranked(submissive) animal has room toescape, there will often be nocontact, and the hierarchy is thereforeestablished or maintained withlittle or no fighting.

HORSE SENSES
The senses are an important partof what makes horses behaviorallydistinct. Animals share the fivebasic senses: vision, audition(hearing), olfaction (smell), gustation(taste) and touch. The sensesare the tools that an animal uses tointeract with its environment. Assuch, the senses can be consideredstarters of behavior. There is a temptation to relatehuman senses to horses, but horsesand people have basic differences inhow they see, feel, taste, smell andhear their environment. We do notcompletely understand horsesenses, but the things we havelearned have greatly added to ourhorse knowledge. A review of thisinformation can be helpful inunderstanding horses. size provides a built-in wide anglelens effect which is further enhancedby the placement of thevisual receptors in the retina. Thetotal effect is better side (peripheral)vision. The horse can seemovement very well. Does the horse sacrifice visualaccuracy to get a wider field ofvision? In general, yes, but theanswer to the question is not clear.Current thought is that, while thehorse sees practically all the wayaround its body, the image is not asclearly defined as what humans see,especially within four feet. This,plus the fact that a horse cannot seedirectly below its head, mayexplain why horses often raise their