Are Chestnuts just ‘misunderstood’?

Researchers at the University of Sydney, Australia have investigated potential genetic associations between coat color and adverse behaviors in horses.

Mutations in the genes influencing melanocytes not only affect the color of an animal, but are also believed to impact physiological and behavioral functions. With this in mind, the common perception among horse owners that the chestnut coat color is associated with adverse behaviors seems plausible.

The research team gathered data through an internationally accessible online questionnaire, with respondents providing information on their horse’s behavior during general handling, whilst being exercised, towards different stimuli in their environment and when isolated from other horses.

Analyses considered behavioral data on 477 horses that represented a range of breeds, ages, and event disciplines. Read more.

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