Popescu, S., Lazar, E. A., Borda, C. et al. 2022. Changes in management, welfare, emotional satate, and human-related docility in stallions. Animals 12(21), 2981.

Despite an increase in awareness of their essential needs, many stallions continue to be kept in conditions limiting their social interactions and movement. To supplement the studies which highlight the effects of these practices on selected aspects of equine mental and physical wellbeing, we aimed to monitor a group of 32 adult intact stallions during their transition from tethered housing with limited outdoor access to free group housing through the lens of their overall welfare, perceived emotional status, and docility toward humans. Over three visits (before the management change, two weeks, and three months after, respectively), their welfare, qualitative behavior, and docility were assessed. Analysis of the data collected showed an improvement in the stallions’ overall welfare and no decrease in their docility after their group-release, with a constant correlation between these two aspects. The evaluation of their emotional states was less relevant, lacking consistency between the assessments for most of the descriptors used, warranting further research in similar conditions. Although our study covered a relatively short period of time, our results provide encouraging support for stallion owners in deciding on a similar management change for the welfare of their animals.

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