Agonistic ethogram of the equid bachelor band

S.M. McDonnell*, J.C.S. Haviland

University of Pennsylvania, School of Veterinary Medicine, New Bolton Center, Kennett Square, PA 19384-1692, USA

Accepted 13 December 1994

Abstract

    An ethogram of agonistic and related behaviors among equid bachelor band members was developed. Several key English-language studies on equids were reviewed to derive a preliminary inventory of specific behaviors to be included in the ethogram. A bachelor band of domestic pony stallions pastured together was observed for approximately 50 daylight hours to obtain detailed descriptions of each behavior, enable photographic and video documentation of behaviors, and identify any behaviors to be added to the preliminary inventory. An initial draft of the ethogram was sent to 65 equine researchers for review. Twenty-eight critical reviews were received and their suggestions considered for the final draft.
    A total of 49 elemental behaviors including five distinct vocalizations was included in the ethogram. Three complex behavioral sequences were also included. Most of the behaviors catalogued from the direct observation of pastured pony stallions were also found in the equid literature. For many, references to these behaviors specifically among males or bachelor band members were not found.
    The results offer a practical tool for quantitative research and other studies of equid intermale behavior as well as for teaching of equid behavior, and should facilitate progress toward development of a complete ethogram for the horse and other equids.