Attention et positivisme au cœur du bien-être chez le cheval

Abstract : Indicators of positive emotions in animals are still scarce. However, many studies showed that favour these emotions is a promising way to improve individual welfare state. This study aims to validate and identify some indicators of positive emotions in horses. First, based both on an experimental study using accelerometers and the observation of riding school horses during their regular feeding time, we characterized anticipatory behaviours in this specie and showed that they were triggered by an environmental cue. Moreover, anticipatory behaviours were associated with frustration and thus were not reliable indicators of positive emotions. However, an increase of their intensity may reflect a poor welfare state. Then, the use of an EEG helmet designed for awake horses free from their movements, allowed us to (i) confirm the left-hemisphere bias for positive emotions processes and the right hemisphere bias for attentional processes, (ii) highlight the implication of theta waves in cognitive attentional processes, (iii) underline interactions between attentional and emotional processes in horses. Moreover, we showed that the measures of attentional characteristics thanks to a visual attention test (VAT) was useful to define attentional capacities at work. The same test conducted without a human was rather useful to evaluate the horses’ welfare state. Finally, a comparative approach based on the observation of horses living either in restricted or in naturalistic conditions revealed that snort (out of breathing difficulties due to illness or poorly fitting equipment) could be a reliable indicator of positive emotions of low intensity as it would be the expression of the horses’ positive appraisal of a situation. This works opens up promising fundamental and applied perspectives and applications.
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https://tel.archives-ouvertes.fr/tel-02148601
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Submitted on : Wednesday, June 5, 2019 - 4:09:06 PM
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Mathilde Stomp. Attention et positivisme au cœur du bien-être chez le cheval. Biologie animale. Université Rennes 1, 2018. Français. ⟨NNT : 2018REN1B061⟩. ⟨tel-02148601⟩

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