The effects of a high-starch or high-fibre diet on equine reactivity and handling behaviour

Louise Bulmer*, Sebastian McBride, Katie Williams, Jo-Anne Murray

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (SciVal)

Abstract

Increasing performance work in the horse is often associated with a reduction in the forage ration and an increase in concentrates, usually in the form of high-starch cereal grains. This type of diet has been associated with stereotypic behaviours and health problems. High-starch diets are also associated with a high glycaemic response, which has been hypothesised to cause increased reactivity in horses. The aim of this project, therefore, was to evaluate responses of horses to novel stimuli and handling tests when fed a high-starch or a high-fibre diet.

A cross-over design study incorporating 2 x 28 day periods was used to evaluate heart rates and behavioural responses during novel stimuli and handling tests when horses were fed a high-starch or a high-fibre diet. All measures were taken over five equally spaced sample points for each period. Data were initially assessed using factor analysis (Varimax rotation, SPSS) in order to produce combined traits of behavioural and heart rate measurements. A Generalised Linear Mixed Model (Genstat (R) edition 15) was used to analyse the effects of diet on mean data (over the five samples) for each factor as well as for all individual variables. In the handling test, factor 3 (heart rate reactivity) showed a significant relationship to diet (F-1,F-3=27.77, p

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-102
Number of pages8
JournalApplied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume165
Early online date29 Jan 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2015

Keywords

  • Horse
  • Reactivity
  • Behaviour
  • Nutrition
  • Starch
  • HEART-RATE-VARIABILITY
  • INSULINEMIC RESPONSES
  • GLYCEMIC INDEX
  • YOUNG HORSES
  • FERMENTATION
  • TEMPERAMENT
  • EXERCISE
  • TRACT
  • FEEDS

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'The effects of a high-starch or high-fibre diet on equine reactivity and handling behaviour'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this