Horse housing and thermoregulation

Whereas most production animals today are kept in a social group in loose housing, many horses are still kept in single boxes at night and in single paddocks during the day.

The Norwegian Veterinary Institute has for many years been part of Nordic and national projects on group housing. We have explored the main obstacles to group housing, such as risk of injuries, human safety when handling horses, and lack of knowledge on group composition. Further, we have studied challenges when keeping horses outdoors in the cold season, such as the need for shelter and a protective rug/blanket. During this work, we have developed a method in which the horses learn to communicate their wishes by pointing on symbol boards, which we would like to apply in future welfare research.