Morris Animal Foundation announces study looking at coping strategies in horses


The University of Giessen in Germany will look at how horses cope in stressful situations

Monkey Business/

Monkey Business/

The Morris Animal Foundation announced it will be funding a new study out of the University of Giessen in Germany to help better understand how horses cope with stress. The study, conducted by Désirée Brucks, PhD, will take a closer look at why some horses react impulsively and struggle to adapt to a stressful situation while others adapt quickly and show flexible behavior.

"Horses that consistently fail to cope with their environment are at risk of deteriorating mental health and poor welfare," said Brucks, in an organizational release.1 "With our study, we want to learn whether impulsivity is an underlying behavioral mechanism that is linked to coping capacities in horses."

According to the release,1 the study’s goal, funded by Dr Wendy Koch, is to better understand behavior signposts in equines more likely to react negatively in situations. The study will investigate ways to inform training regimes to help reduce stress response and observe behavior in day-to-day life to help get a better understanding of the participating horse's personalities.

“We are pleased to sponsor this new equine behavior research study,” said Kathy Tietje, PhD, MBA, vice president of scientific operations at Morris Animal Foundation. “Now in its third year, this donor-inspired program addresses a critical gap in funding for equine quality of life.”

This study is part of the Morris Animal Foundation’s Donor-Inspired Study Program which allows individual donors to support research topics they have a passion for and there is a pressing need for.


Understanding coping strategies in horses focus of latest Morris Animal Foundation-funded study. News release. Morris Animal Foundation. March 8, 2023. Accessed March 8, 2023.

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