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Summer Intern Studying Equine Behavior at KERBy Kentucky Equine Research Staff · July 17, 2014

Abby Gates is working as a summer intern at Kentucky Equine Research (KER). The Clinton, Arkansas native attends Georgetown College in Kentucky where she is studying environmental science.

Why is an environmental science student spending the summer at an equine research facility? “I’m in the Equine Scholars Program at the college,” she explained. “The program is for students in any field, and it shows them how to relate their major interest to the equine industry.”  

With the support of a fellowship from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Abby is carrying out a project to investigate the correlation between equine behavior and heart rate variability. “This has been studied in humans, but there isn’t as much known about the relationship in horses,” she said. “This study also looks at diet as a factor, so we’re rotating four horses through two different dietary treatments.” A later study might analyze the correlation of fitness levels and heart rates.


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