Wild horses have very well-defined social characteristics. It is thus important that management not cause significant changes in their behavior. PZP’s effect on the behavior of wild horses has been the subject of much speculation, debate, and controversy. However, discussions of such effects should be in the context of findings from well-designed scientific studies. The results of such studies have been performed, and these will be the topic of today’s discussion.
We are asking what seems to be a straightforward question: Do wild horses treated with PZP behave different than untreated wild horses? In reality, this is a pretty complex question to try to answer. To start with, a large sample of treated and untreated individuals must be defined so that thorough observations are made. Also, there must be a set of defined behaviors that can be observed and measured. Numerous observations must then be made over a significant length of time so that a wide range of data is collected. This data must then be analyzed so that any statistically significant differences in the behavior of treated and untreated mares can be detected. This is all made more complex by the fact that wild horses are so socially complex. Despite these challenges, there have been studies done to try and answer the above question.