Equine Behaviour Forum 21 juli

Paul McGreevy – Science in the saddle: About biases in science, turned subject a bit inside out.

This is how I back my horses (pic), sit on them while lying down (head up) without putting weight on their backs, just giving the idea of how it is to have a biped on them. Use a lot of positive reinforcement, scratching the neck. 
Training has to embrace ethology and psychology. 
Xenophon did not focus much on horse welfare, as he instructed to leave the horse in the stable in manure and isolation to appreciate human company more, good old days were not all that good. 
You do not have to beat an animal round the head to get rid of aversive behaviour, you can correct it in other ways, but like a child who's never told no can a horse be quite unpleasant. 
Negative punishment – instead of being rubbed by a horse with a bridle on, you can scratch the head with your hands and the moment the horse turns away you stop scratching (taking something nice away). 
Important not breaking the rule one has established, that confuses the horse and dullens communication.
The transition from training to competition can ruin a horse's career, as they are learning all the time. The training of learning at home and learning in the arena can vary dramatically and need to be taken carefully, you can't just trust your luck. All episodes contribute to re-training. Travelling; a study showed that six journeys a year became the point at which horses had been habituated to travel. 
How look at trainability? Help to understand if horses have the will to please or will to win.
God, in his wisdom, when he made the horse, he forgot to make a space in the horse's mouth for the bit. If you then close the horse's mouth with the noseband you'll crash tissue, something has to give. 
Vision varies like in dogs, depending on skull shape – is it that the horses we want to be of lesser reactivity gets the more box shaped heads? 
One-handedness, 50 percent no bias, 40 bias to the left. Short heads and long legs give more bias, because of the distance to the ground, horse tend to favour the same leg in front of the other. This is the type of horse we want for shows, was there maybe an idea with the lipizzaner conformation of long head and short choppy legs?
Jo Hockenhull – He never does that with me; relating to familiar and unfamiliar handlers: people want something like a dog, instead of a prey animal like a horse. Safety and welfare issues both ways, ex horse risking being sold on and on if there is no bond between horse and human. Start off with own personal background when approach a horse, but that is not as scientists tend to do (qualitative research). 
Computerized Skinner box tests timing, but the more the kids train on Sniffy? the better they get and can be timed with horses better. 
Jan Ladewig: We should not use HR without taking into consideration there is a lot of other things affecting HR than emotion, we tend to forget that when people and horses jump around it affects HR a lot. Still remains to study emotion. 
Frågade Ladewig i pausen om inlärning utan reinforcement. Du har alltid reinforcement, svarade han, men jag drog exemplet med Avalon som lärde sig "vägg" på en gång, dvs att inte leka med Sudden när jag rider eller med mig när han och Sudden leker. Jag har inte kommit på att jag ger någon vare sig positiv eller negativ reinforcement, verkar vara lite som med hundar och trösklar, de bara fattar.
Hayley Randle – Can a simple problem solving task be used to assess learned helplessne in horses?  On Black Beauty; Ginger had a hopeless look in his dull eye. Learned helplessness = a psychological condition in which individuals learn that they have no control over unpleasant conditions – even if they do have the power to change the circumstances.
Brain dopamine systems and behaviour despair. Either they cannot escape repeated shock or traumatic shock that remains vital in a certain situation. Possible causes: restraint, inconsistent application of training methods ex misuse, inconstistency and conflict, repeated exposure to extreme uncontrollable stressors, lack of control over the environment,  also uncontrollable stress, repeated failed escape attempts may lead to learned helplessness.  
Assessment: indicators of ill health like colic, gastric ulcers, but there can be other causes, interest in environmental features, exploratory behaviour, deficit in cognitive ability, tested using simple operant tasks focussing on measures of performance (accuracy, perserverence and speed) to assess motivation and contingency.  
Apple under bucket used to test to see if the horse could form contingency; problem solving task focussed on motivation and cognitive ability to form contingencies. Horses who solved  the task formed contingencies between response and outcome, unlike those who failed. The amount of human- and task-directed activity were important determinants of solving time.
No evidence of LH in this sample of horses, even though they were confined individually in boxes and let out only for a limited time. Need for a better understanding of LH.
Quite a few statements from audience and scientists about only ever having seen only one or two horses being in state of learned helplessness.
Diskussion i bilen på väg tillbaka om kvalitetiva studier, som faktiskt nämndes under ISES. Tydligen hade någon mer dragit tillbaka sitt abstrakt efter en lika sur review som den jag fick i andra omgången. Gjorde ju inte jag, utan stod på mig, och reviewern kom aldrig till presentationen och kritiserade. En av de svenska tjejerna i nätverket för humanistiska och samhällsvetenskapliga häststudier nämnde ju samma sak, kanske var det hennes studie som avsågs. Berättade om kommentaren jag fått, att om man intervjuar kan ju folk svara precis som de tycker... Istället för att snällt stödja en hypotes och ge ett snedvridet resultat, som en av dem i bilen kommenterade. Jag var förstås noga med att nämna vid presentationen att jag fick ett oväntat resultat. Fick en del tips om vad jag kunde fortsätta med på magisterkursen.


Den tjusiga ryttarstatyn i kanten av Princes Park var ett av alla gransiosa monument, just det här till minne av boerkriget. Notera antalet skorstenar på husgaveln bakom!


Lättare väder denna dag, veterinärhögskolans gröna kullar ej så insvepta i regnmoln.


Princes Park var för säsongen försedd med en enorm blomsterklocka, hedrande OS-staden. Får hänföras ordningen besynnerliga utsmyckningar.


Raka, långa Princes Street mellan stationen med det höga klocktornet och vandrarhemmet i andra änden Min dagliga promenad gånger två eller mer.