The objectives of this study were to determine the prevalence of pawing behavior in a population of Standardbred racehorses and the relationship of pawing frequency to time of day. Standardbreds (n=41) were observed using instantaneous scan sampling twice daily, in the morning before training and in the afternoon after training. A majority of the horses, twenty-four (58.5 per cent) of the 41 horses showed pawing behavior at least once (median=7, interquartile range=2-15). After training, there were a median of 4 (interquartile range 1-11) observations of pawing or 11.2 per cent of total observations. In the morning, before training, there were 3 (0-3.25) pawing observations, or 9.1 per cent of total observations. There was a significantly greater frequency of pawing in the afternoon (P=0.0005). They pawed less on Sunday afternoons when they had not trained. Pawing may be related to exercise and, possibly, discomfort. The study is from the College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA.
Butler CL, Houpt KA. J Equine Sci 2014; 25(3): 57-59.