Behavior is the final piece
of pedigree development
and key to producing
Dr. Sid Gustafson is a practicing veterinarian and Equine Behaviorist. He’s well aware of the important role that behavior plays in the welfare of horses and the development and conditioning of the Equine Athlete. He’s lived with horses all his life. As a young boy on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Montana he was able to experience the merging of horses and humans in a natural setting. His love of horses inspired him to become a veterinarian and for thirty six years he’s helped horse owners learn how to best appreciate their horses, so they can care and provide for their physical and behavioral needs in a willing and winning fashion.
Dr. Gustafson operates a veterinary practice in Big Sky, Montana. He works with horse owners to help them re-create, as much as possible, a natural setting for their horses in the domestic environment, which is especially important for the mental development of the Equine Athlete. Dr. Gustafson has written several articles about horse behavior, welfare and caring for Equine Athletes for the New York Times and his blog, A Veterinarian’s Take.
In his numerous articles, Dr. Gustafson notes that horses require abundant friends, forage, and locomotion to develop and maintain behavioral and physical health. Horse health is dependent on body and jaw movement. Horses are born to socialize, communicate, move, and chew on a near constant basis. The nature of the horse is to move and graze with others day and night. For behavioral health, these preferences need to be re-created in the stable.
Stabled horses require 24/7 forage, and miles and miles of daily walking, as well as abundant socialization to re-create a natural existence. When these needs are not provided in adequate measure unwelcome behaviors develop. Abundant daily locomotion of stabled racehorses is essential to develop, enhance, and maintain pulmonary and musculoskeletal soundness.
Pulmonary and limb health are heavily dependent upon abundant daily locomotion. Bone density and joint integrity are dependent on miles of daily movement, as near-constant movement is the essential nature of horses. Digestion, metabolism, hoof health and durability are all dependent on abundant daily locomotion.
In order to sustain pulmonary and musculoskeletal health, natural conditions need to be re-created in the stable. Constant foraging, grazing, socializing and movement maintain and develop joint and bone health, hoof health, metabolic health and pulmonary health, and, of course, behavioral health. In order for lungs and legs to stay healthy, horses need movement.
In addition, Dr. Gustafson also gives lectures about Equine behavior and horse welfare for Guelph University and the University of Montana.
"The objective of this course is to make the world a better place for horses, and subsequently make it a better place for horse folk," says Dr. Gustafson. "Students learn how to care for horses as horses prefer to be cared for."
Dr. Gustafson also gives presentations Thinking Like a Horse about horse behavior and welfare to numerous Horse Groups and Organizations.
Classic Champion Thoroughbreds is honored to work with Dr. Gustafson in providing clients with a Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® as well as a behavioral analysis for their potential Equine Athletes.
To learn more about Dr. Sid Gustafson, DVM, please visit his website: www.sidgustafson.com.