The behaviour of a horse, a typical flight and herd animal, can significantly influence its use, regardless of the discipline in which it is engaged. To an average rider or driver a horse’s temperament plays a decisive role, more important even than its conformation, size or price of purchase. Despite the indisputably high significance of equine behaviour, and that public interest in welfare and appropriate management of equines is increasing, there are comparatively few scientific studies relating to this topic. Due to this lack of verifiable data, horse owners’ decisions and actions are mostly based on personal experience and empirical observation. For many years the Swiss National Stud has instigated trans-disciplinary research focused on commonly encountered behavioural issues. This has resulted in many internationally recognised findings in the field of behaviour- tests and selection, as well as in the field of ethological observation and behaviour control. With its research program and its position as a competence center for equine husbandry and welfare, as well as for horse breeding in a rural environment, the National Stud contributes to the continuing development of competitive and sustainable agriculture. This article is a short review of all projects involving ethological aspects and their consequences and impact in the horse sector.
Although milk-production oriented (MPO) cow breeds have also become established in the mountain region, farms with the dual-purpose ‘Original Simmental’ breed are proving to be economically viable, with lower costs and higher direct payments making up for lower revenues from milk.
High milk yields before drying-off increase the risk of udder infections during the dry period. An online survey highlights what drying-off methods are currently used and how farmers rate the ‘incomplete milking’ approach for reducing milk yield.
Herholz C., Siegwart J., Bruckmaier R.M., Rytz E., Lamon I., Muhr M. und Stirnimann R.
In both sport and alternative agriculture, horses are once again being used as draught animals. Efficient power transmission plays an important role in the wellbeing of draught horses.