Body position and direction preferences in horses during road transport.

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It has been hypothesised that horses have a preference for facing backward in a trailer during road transport in order to minimise shifts of body weight due to accelerations and decelerations. To determine if horses have preferences for facing forward vs. backward in a horse trailer, the authors analysed the percentages of time horses spent in different body positions and directions while standing in a moving or parked horse trailer. Body positions and directions of 8 Thoroughbred geldings were videotaped while horses were transported singly and untethered in a 4-horse stock trailer over a 32 km route of country roads; or while the same horses were untethered in the same trailer stationary in a parking lot. Analysis of the logit-transformed percentages of time horses spent in different directions indicated that they spent significantly more time facing backward when the trailer was in motion, but not when it was parked. Several horses displayed strong individual preferences for the directions they faced during road transport.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)374-377
Number of pages4
JournalEquine Veterinary Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1994


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)

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