the Effects of Barn Floor Patterns and Colors on the Behavior of Equus Caballus

Maris DeWald, Dr. Carlos Iudica, Department of Biology, Susquehanna University, 514 University Ave. Selinsgrove, Pa. 17870

Behavioral reactions to certain stimuli have been observed in horses for years. When being ridden and showed horses are reactive to certain ground stimulus and it is incorporated into their training. Due to the anatomy of a horse’s eye, it is known that they are dichromatic and see in shades of blues and yellows. In this study, it was investigated whether barn floor colors and patterns affect the behavior of a horse. Five horses were trained to go through a walkway with a handler in a two-way trial walking over the colored and patterned stimuli. To assess their behavior five horses of three different breeds (American Paint, Appaloosa, and Arabian), twenty rugs, five different colors (white, red, green, blue, and yellow), and three different patterns (polka dot, checkered, and wavy lines) were used. The horses would pass through a walkway in a two-way trial where their behavior was recorded with a 1 to 6 scale. Certain colors encountered (white, yellow, and blue) were found to cause a greater amount of reactions more than the others (red and green). In regard to patterns, there was no significant difference between polka dots, checkers, or wavy lines. Data alluded to the breed of horse (American Paints) as a contributing factor when examining adverse reactions but due to sample size, this information cannot be generalized to other horses. More studies would need to be done with an increase in sample size and trials to further investigate whether breed contributes to more adverse reactions. 

Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: Maris DeWald

Institution: Susquehanna University

Type: Poster

Subject: Animal Sciences

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Poster 1
Date/Time: Mon 1:30pm-2:30pm
Session Number: 2016