Horse dominance rank is associated with body condition

Scientists in University of Bristol investigated social interactions of more than 200 horses in 42 different herds. They found that body condition was associated with dominance rank.

The recent research by University of Bristol found out that dominance rank is associated with body condition in outdoor-living domestic horses. Social interactions of 203 horses in 42 different herds were recorded using video camera and horses body condition were scored by using 9 points score scale. The animals age and height were recorded and considered as potential effect modifiers.

There was a strong evidence of a univariable association between adjusted dominance rank and body condition score, as dominance rank increased also body condition score increased. Also age had a strong quadratic association with adjusted dominance rank, where middle-aged individuals were likely to have a higher dominance rank than very young or very old individuals.

Sarah L. Gilesa, Christine J. Nicola, Patricia A. Harrisc, Sean A. Rands, 2015: Dominance rank is associated with body condition inoutdoor-living domestic horses (Equus caballus), Applied Animal Behaviour Science 166 (2015) 71–79

Find the whole article from ScienceDirect as Open Access Article.