Do horses copy?

By Your Horse

28 September 2010 16:37

Horses with stereotypical behaviour such as crib-biting and weaving are often shut away or isolated, for fear that others in the yard will pick up the habit. According to Professor Mills, there’s no evidence to support this.

"There may be an influence of one horse’s behaviour on that of others, but there’s a subtle difference," he says. "A horse who cribs will draw attention to the top of his stable door, and that might encourage others to take an interest in their doors – but they won’t start cribbing if not already predisposed to do so.

"Factors such as character and history of management will predispose a horse to the behaviour," he continues. "Watching another in action will not make a horse who is not ‘high risk’ start cribbing."