Friday, August 8, 2014

Icelandics and Anthrozoology

Carroll College in Montana is one of the first institutions to offer a degree in anthrozoology which is the study of how animals and people relate.  Per the college website, "The Anthrozoology major explores the unique relationship between humans and animals. By increasing our knowledge about this bond and by assessing how animals enrich our lives, we can improve the quality of life for both humans and animals. "

Students can specialize in either cannine or equine assisted-learning.  On the equine side, they "explore the horse-human relationship and the scientific evidence of its contribution to psychological, physical, and spiritual well-being. Anthrozoology students learn the historic to modern implications of the horse-human relationship and are broadly exposed to the field of equine assisted activities and therapies (EAAT). "


Dr. Ann Perkins founded this program.  The first animals to be used in the program were two Icelandic horses. As she explains why she selected Icelandics, " I love them for our purposes because they are small and safe and ideal for students who have no prior experience with horses or are uncomfortable around intimidating horses.” 


A student Lia Weber partnered with an Icelandic horse named Socrates or Socs to determine if horses could be trained to detect clove work in a scent work experiment.  On her blog she describes, Socs as "Socs is a 20-year old short and fuzzy Icelandic Horse. He's opinionated and lazy. He's slow-moving and super sweet. He's also quite food motivated, so I figured Scentwork wouldn't be a problem for him to learn. " 


Of course Socs was able to learn this activity and here is the video to prove it.

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