What happens when you are planning to get some outdoor work done and the weather suddenly gets hot? Or when you are planning to go out for a calming walk but the wind starts blowing like crazy? You get cranky, your motivation to get that work done dies, and your mood goes from happy to almost angry.
Human beings are known to get frustrated as the weather gets unbearable. Weather has a very noticeable effect on our moods. A nice and sunny day causes us to smile and go out for a walk while a day that is too hot or too wet means that we are stuck inside, and all motivation to work or enjoy the great outdoors fizzles away.
Like humans, horses are also found to get cranky with certain weather conditions. These are animals that have been with humans for centuries. Used for work, recreation, or just to have someone around, horses have a connection with humans like few other animals do. So, if you ever feel like your horse is not willing to work on a certain day, maybe it’s because the weather is too much for it to handle.
From the University of Life Sciences in Lublin, Iwona Janczarek took it upon herself, along with her colleagues, to find out if atmospheric conditions had any effect on a horse’s mood. The experiment was designed to also calculate the ranges of these conditions, if they did have an effect on horses.
A total of 16 horses were chosen for this experiment to be worked under the saddle for two months. The testing was done in the warm months of July, August, and September to better understand the effects of hot weather on the horses.
The Conditions Being Studied
The horses were worked every day from 9-10am. The researchers measured air temperature, humidity, speed of wind, and the atmospheric pressure each day before and after the work to study the extent to which these weather conditions changed and caused a variation in the horses’ moods or made them cranky.
As for the horses, their heart rate, body temperature, and respiratory rates were noted every day at 8am for a measurement of these at rest, and then at 10:05am for a post exercise measurement.
After extensive testing, it was found that out of the four atmospheric variables being studied, humidity and atmospheric pressure had no notable effect on the horses. However, a reduction in the willingness to work was seen when the temperature went over 26 degrees Celsius and the wind speed moved past 5.5 meters per second.
This experiment is the first of its kind because it quantifies the parameters in which a horse is willing to work effectively. The results were published in the Animal Science Journal. The researchers also stated that physiological parameters of the horses are more indicative of their lack in willingness to work than behavioral ones. This means that certain weather conditions have a notable, physiological effect on horses which then leads to a change in mood.
The next time your horse seems a little cranky, it may be a good idea to give it a day’s rest because the weather conditions might be too much for it to handle.
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