Horse behaviour

Horses perform lots of different behaviours every day, some of them are natural behaviours and some of them are learnt ones. As owners and riders we spend a lot of time training our horses to perform the behaviours we want but what about the behaviours that we don't want? How do our horses learn these and why do they perform them?

 

Horses are prey animals, in the wild they would be predated on by carnivores such as the big cats, because of this they come ready primed to take flight away from predators. If our horses are frightened by us or any object they usually try to flee by breaking free or bolting, often they are unable to do this because they are in an enclosed area or restrained by a rider or handler and therefore resort to performing defense behaviours such as biting, rearing, bucking and kicking.

 

I have seen hundreds of equine cases covering variety of behavioural issues including:

 

  • Handling problems (including problems with leading, grooming, tacking up, husbandry procedures)

  • Loading problems (horseboxes, trailers, starting stalls, treadmills and so on)

  • Aggression problems (to humans, other horses and other species)

  • Stereotypical behaviour (including wind-sucking, crib-biting, weaving, box-walking, rug-eating, fence-walking, wood-chewing and so on)

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