BUSTING MYTHS ABOUT GENDER AND COAT COLOR
Equus|Autumn 2020
BUSTING MYTHS ABOUT GENDER AND COAT COLOR
“Chestnut mare, beware.” If you’ve ever used this phrase or nodded knowingly in agreement when you heard it, you’ve been perpetrating a scientifically inaccurate and potentially harmful stereotype, according to new research from the University of Sydney.

For the study, researchers asked 1,233 riders to complete a 151-question survey. The Equine Behavior Assessment and Research Questionnaire asked respondents a variety of questions about the behavior of their horses under saddle, in-hand and in general, along with those related to demographics such as sex, age, breed and coat color. “The motivation of the study was to explore whether there is any merit to the common belief that mares have undesirable behavioral traits compared to geldings,” says Anna Sundqvist Aune, who was part of the research team.

The collected data did suggest that some behaviors were more common among horses of particular genders, but not those that you might expect. For instance, mares were more likely to be difficult to catch, while geldings were more likely to chew on lead ropes when tied.

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Autumn 2020