Training A Geriatric Horse Case Study: Equine Psychology Course Project

Reach Out To Horses
Holistic Horsemanship Comprehensive Program – Part I

Lee Bialozynski



This paper explores the implementation of a training program designed to address the anxiety a geriatric horse exhibits when confined to an indoor space. The intention of the project is to detail and explore the following parameters:

1. Changes to a learned response (fear of confined indoor spaces). This is what the horse is to (un)learn.
2. Changes to the training program itself as it unfolds in real time and insights gained into the learning pattern of an older horse. This is what the human learns.

The subject of the training plan is a 35 year-old mare named Fancy. Fancy lives at the Zuma Rescue Ranch in Littleton, Colorado, with her paddock-mate Cookie.

This case study presents the daily activities of Fancy’s training plan. The definition/intent of the labels used in the following training log are as follows:

Plan – Presents the training session as developed by self, approved by Jodi Messenich, and reviewed by Anna Twinney.

Actual – Identifies the events of the day as they actually occurred.

Factors – Extraneous information, events, or other considerations occurring that given day that explain the difference between the Plan and the Actual training.

Observations – Any reflections or descriptions from the day. Also will present any learned behavior – for both human and horse.

Read the full Case Study by clicking the link below:

Training A Geriatric Horse Case Study

Correlation of Swirls and Facial Characteristics with personalities of Horses: By Val Israel

When we are unable to communicate with other beings we look for ways to “read” them. One of the ways we, as human beings, try to figure out just “who we are dealing with” is by their physical presentation which includes the way they look, their body shape and stance and their expressions which are partially dependent on their facial characteristics. Throw in the ability to communicate and we use these same indicators to either validate what we think we already know, to better understand them, or to give us more information or understanding of who they are and how they are in the world and with other beings. 

There are several physical indicators that have been formulated and studied to try and characterize a horse’s intellect, personality, and possible idiosyncrasies. One methodology is by looking at the pattern and location of swirls in the hair of horses. A swirl (or whorl) is a pattern of hair growth that is usually in the shape of a pinwheel , though can have a linear pattern and usually on the head, but may also be on the neck or body and then are known as trichoglyphs or sometimes cowlicks. This paper will examine a few of the facial indicators and the swirls of seven horses and compare them to look for correlations or contradictions with each other as well as impressions of their personality. The facial characteristics used in this paper include the profile of the head, the muzzle shape, the shape of the nostrils, the mouth, and the jowls.

Read the full case study below:

Swirls with Facial Characteristics of Horses by Val Israel