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An owner’s ability to assess changes in their animal’s behavior and make appropriate adjustments to their management and care are key components of equine welfare. However, many owners are more comfortable assessing physical health problems in their animals than mental health and welfare issues. To improve care of horses, researchers will create online training tools to help owners better assess their horse’s behavior, including facial expressions, body postures and other nonverbal forms of communication. The team will conduct pilot testing of their tool, using volunteer participants to determine the tool’s effectiveness in improving owner perceptions of equine mood and mental/emotional states. Upon completion, the course will be distributed through industry partners with open access to horse owners throughout the United States and internationally. The team hopes these easily accessible and engaging tools will prompt horse owners and managers to incorporate mental health assessment of horses into daily management, training and handling practices

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Oklahoma State University
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United States
Kris Hiney, PhD
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