From behaviourist, the respected Prof. Francis Burtonhttp://www.gla.ac.uk/external/EBF/uhcc7.html
In addition, the number of sensory receptors varies from hundreds to thousands per square inch of skin on different parts of the body. Many of these receptors are simple nerve endings, while some, looking like tiny bulbs or discs, are specifically sensitive to either light or sustained touch. Tactile sensitivity is particularly great around the lips, nose and eyes, due to a higher concentration of receptors and the presence of long, stiff hairs whose follicles are surrounded by nerve endings. Whiskers are important to horses because they indicate when the nose is close to an object. They may also be used while feeding to judge textures. Shaving a horse's whiskers off just for cosmetic purposes should therefore be discouraged.
Touching plays a vital role in communication between horses, particularly between mare and foal, and in courtship. Mutual grooming helps to cement friendships within the herd. We also rely on the horse's keen tactile sense in riding, through the use of legs, seat, hands and whip. A responsive horse remains sensitive to subtle signals. On the other hand, repeated and indiscriminate use of harsh aids is likely to result in a 'hard' mouth and/or 'dead' sides, as the sense of touch becomes desensitised.
Taken from: http://www.gla.ac.uk/External/EBF/
THINKING LIKE A HORSE
Equine psychology and behaviour can be one of the most fascinating aspects of our involvement with horses. It is necessary in understanding the horse in health and sickness, in performance, in interaction with its handlers and even in picturing it properly in illustrations and film. Yet this most important aspect of horse care receives little attention in lessons, courses and the more conventional books. It doesn't help that we humans have a quite different mentality from horses. We often tend to think 'for' the horse and put our own interpretation on a situation he may view very differently.
Horse behaviour has fascinated 'thinking' horsemen for thousands of years. Xenophon obviously had the species fairly well sussed out as did the boy Alexander (The Great) when he succeeded in riding Bucephalus where all the experts had failed. Having noticed that the horse was frightened of his own shadow, he turned him into the sun mounted and rode him with no trouble.
Just what you've been looking for!
If, like Alexander and Xenophon you are interested in equine behaviour and human/horse interaction and if you sometimes feel you are out on a limb with little means of communication with others of like mind, then the Equine Behaviour Forum is for you.
Founded in 1978 and based in the UK, its present Chairman and Scientific Editor is Dr Francis Burton of the University of Glasgow in Scotland. The EBF is an entirely voluntary, non-profit-making, international group of people interested in equine (not only horse) behaviour. Its membership comprises vets, scientists, professional and amateur horsepeople, breeders, casual riders and horse owners, 'weekend riders' and also people who have no access to equines or who simply prefer to observe them from a safe distance! All you need to enjoy the Forum is a genuine interest in equine behaviour.
The EBF produces a journal entitled, appropriately enough, Equine Behaviour, which contains both scientific and 'amateur' sections. Edited by Alison Averis and Francis Burton, Equine Behaviour is written and illustrated mainly by its members and comprises letters, articles, views and experiences, book reviews, requests for and offers of help and advice, and much more.
The Forum organises optional projects for members to carry out informal talks and discussion groups and visits to places of interest in the horse world.
It is very much a member-participation group. Without the active participation of its members, particularly in relation to the production of its newsletter, it cannot exist. Because of this, members are asked to contribute at least one item per year for publication in Equine Behaviour, although this not a condition of membership. Contributions certainly do not have to be professionally written. Anything is interesting, from a full article or scientific paper to a short comment or query. Photographs and artwork are also most welcome.
Subscriptions are Â£15 Uk Â£16 everywhere else. 2010.
For my future reference: links from Equine Behaviour Forum
Equine research: people and organisations
NEW International Society for Equitation Science
University of Regensburg, Dr Konstanze Krueger: Social Behaviour and Learning
Equine and Animal Cognition Reference Database
Havermeyer Equine Behavior Lab at New Bolton Center
Horse Behavior & Psychology from the White Horse Equine Ethology Project
Auburn University: Horse Behaviour and Trainability Research
Equine Research Foundation: Horse Learning & Behavior
Dr George Waring: International directory of equine behaviour researchers
Articles about horse behaviour and training
Papers/abstracts from Havemeyer Workshop "Horse Behavior and Welfare", 13 - 16 June 2002
Training Mythunderstandings: a series of training articles by Dr Ron Meredith
Andrew Maclean: How Horses Learn, Biological Basis of Submission
Donald McMiken: The Psychology of Horses
Rural Industries Research & Development Corporation, Australia
The Horse Interactive magazine: articles about behaviour (needs free registration)
Dr. Temple Grandin: The Use of the Wheat Pressure Box on Horses
Alexandra Kurland: Clicker Training For Your Horse
Shawna & Vinton Karrasch: Clicker Training
Marie Hoffman: Library of Horse Training Articles and Case Reports
Scientific abstracts and articles
NEW Equine Science Update (a few behaviour articles under "Sample articles")
Measuring Behaviour '96: Heart rate and cribbing in horses
Sue McDonnell: Normal and Abnormal Behavior of Stabled Horses
Sue McDonnell: Important lessons from freerunning equids
Stable Vices - A Measure of Poor Welfare?
Houpt et al. (1997) Equine Behavior and Welfare: The PMU Controversy
Other behaviour-related websites and general information
Animalbehaviour.net, Resources for applied ethology (including equine)
Voices for Horses
Equine Behaviour, Donald Newe (French)
Company of Horses
Directory of Articles (some on behaviour, look under "Horsemanship")
Mr Horse World Equestrian Site (look in Library)
Horsehackers.com has some articles on behaviour (do a site search for "behaviour") [Feb '08: appears to be broken]
The Alternative Horse Society also has a few articles on behaviour under "Articles"
Anything Equine (3 short articles)