Study Confirms That Horses Make Us Emotionally Smarter
Researchers at the University of Kentucky recently completed a two-year study where a number of nurses attended hour-long daily Equine Guided Leadership Education (EGLE) workshops to see if that had an impact on their EQ (Emotional Intelligence). It did: at the end of the study, all participants scored higher than before, and also compared to the control group.
And I found out about something else I didn’t know: apparently, several medical schools across the country use equine assisted learning with both nurses and medical students to help them learn non-verbal patient communication. How great is that?
University of Kentucky Center for Leadership Development
This is the kind of news I love to hear – one can only hope that this will soon encompass all animals in all countries. India’s Ministry of the Environment and Forests has banned the keeping of captive dolphins for public entertainment. B.S. Bonal, member secretary of the Central Zoo Authority of India, said “Confinement in captivity can seriously compromise the welfare and survival of all types of cetaceans by altering their behaviour and causing extreme distress… dolphins should be seen as ‘non-human persons’ and as such should have their own specific rights. It is morally unacceptable to keep them captive for entertainment purpose.”
FIAPO / Environment News Service
Shelter Dogs Help Troubled Teens
In a collaboration between Washington State University and Excelsior Youth Center, teenage boys recovering from alcohol and drug abuse got visits from shelter dogs once a week. The project was started by doctoral candidate Lindsay Ellsworth to see if her hypothesis that the feel-good chemical dopamine would be released in the boy’s brains when interacting with the dogs. Ellsworth says “Natural stimuli like dogs could help restore the normal function of these critical chemical messengers after the brain’s chemistry has been altered through drug use.” The participants were divided into two groups; the control group spent an hour playing various games, the other spent the same amount of time with the dogs. Those who spent time with the dogs not only showed an increase in joviality, but also positive affect, attentiveness and serenity. And overall sadness decreased, Ellsworth said.
Lavender Essential Oil Calms Stressed Horses
Researchers at McNeese State University in Lake Charles, LA, showed that sniffing lavender essential oil has a definite calming effect on stressed horses. The horses had their resting HR measured, then a horn was blown twice and the stressed HRs were measured, which showed that the horn had indeed caused stress. The control group was then exposed to plain humidified air whereas the test group sniffed humidified air with 20% lavender essential oil. According to researcher Clarence Ferguson “There was a significant decrease in the change of heart rate from the stressed heart rate to recovery heart rate in lavender-treated horses compared to the other group. We demonstrated that 15 minutes of aromatherapy with lavender essential oil did reduce the heart rate in horses.”
Lavender is well known as a calming oil, and in applied zoopharmacognosy it is offered for a multitude of both emotional and physical conditions, such as withdrawal, timidity, wounds, insect bites, respiratory issues, sore muscles, etc. If you decide to try it with your animal though, please remember to only offer it for them to select to sniff if they wish. Never, ever put it on them or in their food or water or anywhere where they don’t have the option to avoid it if it’s not the right remedy for them.
Journal of Equine Veterinary Science
Cute story of the Week: Shetland Pony Adopts Lamb
A Shetland pony in Wales who had recently become a new mother added an unexpected member to her family: an orphaned lamb. They were first spotted by equine vet Georgina Hirst while out on a ride. Dr. Hirst says “Trying to get mares to adopt foals can be very challenging so it’s incredible the mare was so receptive of the lamb. She would even stand guard while the foal and the lamb slept cuddled together.”