IMPRINTING IN FOALS AND THE IMPORTANCE OF FIRST CONTACT WITH HUMAN
E. Köntés, I.M. Pop
Imprinting of foals and the importance of first contact with man/human Temperament and behavior of horses together with the development of equestrian sports has become an increasingly important criterion. First contact with human in the early hours of life at the "imprinting" phase is very important as evidenced by the work of Dr. Robert M. Miller and other authors. A properly conducted imprinting can influence the behavior of young animal and also can prepare it from this early age to the stress factors the animal will have to confront during lifetime especially under actual development conditions which require increased adaptability of the animal. Twenty foals were supervised on three farms, during two years, from parturition to the age of 180 days. During the monitoring period were collected biometric data and were made a series of behavioral recordings. During the study was found that those subjects which had encountered human contact in shorter time from parturition showed an increased exploring and decreased rescuing/defense behavior. Gathering biometrical data from these subjects was much easier, they responded with higher tolerance to stress factors caused by monitoring. Correct human intervention in the short period of imprinting influences the sensitivity and tolerance of animals to stress factors which they will face in the course of life, increasing the chances of becoming a reliable partner of man.
Key words: imprinting, stress