Laterality: implications for equine management and performance
Saturday, October 1, 2011
Laterality can be defined as an individual's cerebral hemisphere or motor handed-ness/pawed-ness/hoofed-ness preference, which is recognized in multiple animal species. It has been proposed that the concept can be used to evaluate and predict animal behavioural responses or to determine performance-related variables. This article examines research related to laterality predominately in the horse and its application in clinical practice, in relation to injury prevalence, training and rehabilitation. It concludes that the recognition of hemisphere lateral preference can be used to determine a horse's reactions in novel environments and could inform both clinical and training practice. In addition, assessment of motor lateral preference would be a beneficial addition to integrate into equine training programmes to optimize performance and should be considered when determining rehabilitation programmes post injury.
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