Ambidextrous Grazing Posture in the Catalan Pyrenean Horse

Document Type : Short Communication

Author

Escola Agrària del Pirineu, Finca les Colomines, Bellestar, 25712 Montferrer i Castellbò, Catalonia, Spain

Abstract

Motor laterality has been often studied in non-human animals, including ungulates, and it has been noted that adult animals tend to be ambidextrous. To study laterality of grazing posture when standing in a quadrupedal position, a total of 106 horses (24 foals, 8 yearlings, 14 subadults and 60 adults -53 females and 7 males-) of Pyrenean horse from 11 grazing areas farms were observed and their forelimb preference when grazing was recorded, from 1 to 3 times for each animal. Data revealed that approximately half of the horses were right-handed and half left-handed, and females were equally lateralized than males. Age differences in lateralization were not found either. So in Pyrenean horses it seems to be a forelimb ambidextry, probably due to the low degree of human contact. As the presentation of unevenness may be important to orthopaedic health and the compensatory mechanisms used by uneven footed horses are currently unknown, data presented here have complementary important interest.

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