Ryttarens tygelsignalers inverkan på hästens beteende och trycket i tyglarna

This essay derives from the concern that horses ridden with a bit in their mouth can be subjected to strong pressure from the bit if the horse and rider do not understand each other. The horse's mucosa membrane and the tongue are very sensitive tissues (Cook, 1999; Manfredi, 2005; Oliveira, 2005; Terada, 2006) and the bit can then be a source of pain and discomfort. The training of the horse should therefore always be a step by step process and as the horse develops difficulties are increased. Oliveira (2005) suggested that high demands can be placed on the horse but to be successful in the training it is essential to be content with small progress and reward the slightest desired response from the horse. This corresponds with the principles of operant conditioning with negative reinforcement. On this basis an interest was formed to study the rider's rein signals to the horse with the focus on the horse's behaviour and the pressure created through the reins. According to the learning theory negative reinforcement, essential concerning the signals to the horse are the time period the signal is applied and the timing when the signal disappears. On this foundation we decided to test and compare two different methods to slow down the horse from trot to walk. One method (1) consisted of the riders slowing down the horses gradually through a decrease in tempo releasing the reins at the slightest obedience from the horse. The other method (2) consisted of the riders slowing down the horses to the walk more abruptly, not giving on the reins until the horse was walking. The purpose was to study how the riders rein signals affect the horse's behaviour and the tension in the reins and if the rein tension and unwanted behaviours from the horse differ between the two treatments. For the experiment four riders and four horses where used. The horses were started under saddle 3-7 months before the experiment began. All horses were tested with all riders and with both treatments during four days. Each horse was only tested once a day, but with both methods. For data collection we used a rein tension meter (Signal Scribe) and a video camera, manually synchronised with each other. During the processing of the material the horse?s behaviour and the rider's signals were recorded as well as the rein tension that was created during the transitions. Our results show that when the riders asked the horses to slow down gradually, according to treatment 1, the horses showed fewer unwanted behaviours and there was a lower rein tension compared to when asked to make the transition immediately, treatment 2. The rider pulling back on the reins turned out to be a factor that also created unwanted behaviour. This study shows that if one wants to care for the welfare of the horse one should be concerned to follow the principles of learning theory and reinforce the horse a lot by removing the rein signal at the slightest response from the horse and to avoid pulling back on the reins.


Marie Eisersiö

Lärosäte och institution

SLU/Dept. of Animal Environment and Health


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