Stereotypical behaviour and brain function

Improving health and welfare of horses also means providing management systems that consider mental wellbeing.

Current studies are investigating brain function in horses using non-invasive biomarkers to gain a greater understanding of how behaviour is controlled within the animal. Some of these relate to the gut-brain axis and how different feed types can have physiological consequences that manifest as different behaviours in our horses.

Learning how horses learn and why stereotypic behaviours such as box walking, weaving and crib biting develop is another key area of investigation. Two MScR students are working with commercial companies determining how sub-optimal environments initiate stress in horses and how this can be mitigated. 

Key Staff

  • Dr Andrew Hemmings

PhD Students

  • Kirsty Roberts (PhD)
  • Emily Orchard (MScR)
  • Sarah Dolman (MScR)