Category: Behaviour

Weaving

Weaving is a common problem found in horses that are stabled for prolonged periods of time without any stimulation or social contact. Dealing with weaving is simple and common sense management will help to manage weaving in the majority of cases. What is weaving? Weaving involves your horse swinging the head, neck and anterior parts... Read more »

Vices – why and how to manage them

Horses have to put up with a lot! In years gone by horses were left to roam the plains free to do what they liked. Now they are expected to live in small stables and graze in small, enclosed areas. No wonder they look for other things to do, to occupy themselves. Unfortunately many of... Read more »

Rearing

A horse may respond to certain circumstances by rearing. This may range from small rears with the front feet raised only a couple of feet off the ground, to a full rear where the horse is standing vertically on its hind legs. A full height rear poses risks to both the rider and the horse.... Read more »

Headshaking

Headshaking is a problem seen in horses all over the country. If your horse is affected it is important to try and find out the cause of the problem so that appropriate treatment and preventive methods can be put into place. Horses can be severely distressed by headshaking as it is a response to pain... Read more »

Crib-biting/wind-sucking/wood-chewing

Crib-biting, wind-sucking and wood-chewing are repetitive oral behaviours that are most commonly seen in stabled horses. Crib-biting and wind-sucking are similar behaviours and may reflect digestive discomfort, whereas wood-chewing may simply reflect re-directed feeding behaviour. Nonetheless, all may be treated and prevented most effectively by providing the horse with natural grazing and increased forage. What... Read more »

Common training problems and how to deal with them

Sadly, horses often develop problem behaviours that affect the relationship between horse and handler. A recent study of horses presented in a slaughter house in Europe identified that the most common reason for horse destruction was not due to physical problems but was due to behavioural problems. The following information outlines some common problem behaviours... Read more »

Clipping problems – how to deal with them

As with many animals, horses grow a thicker coat in winter. The thickness of the winter coat varies depending on the breed of horse or pony and whether they are stabled or turned out in the field during the colder weather. This thicker coat can cause horses to overheat and sweat during exercise and owners... Read more »

Clicker training

There is an increasing interest in the use of positive reinforcement techniques for training new behaviours in horses. The use of secondary reinforcers to establish a new behavioural response was originally used with performing sea mammals. One commonly used form of conditioned reinforcement is called 'clicker training'. What is clicker training? Clicker training is a... Read more »

Bucking

Bucking is the term used for when a horse kicks out with both hind legs at the same time. Bucking can often unseat a rider, especially an inexperienced one. It is can be dangerous to ride a horse that bucks, therefore it is useful to know why a horse bucks and how to deal with... Read more »

Bruxism

Bruxism, also known as teeth grinding, is a commonly observed problem in horses, and is often a sign of physical or psychological discomfort. Sudden onset of bruxism should be investigated in relation to clinical problems, as this is likely to be due to pain. Longer term bruxism can lead to other problems such as wear of the... Read more »

Box-walking

Box-walking is a repetitive behaviour problem that is most commonly seen in stabled horses. It may reflect frustration of their motivation to move and exercise and can be treated and/or prevented by providing plenty of forage, turnout and social contact. What is box-walking? Box-walking is the name given to describe characteristic, repetitive pacing movements that... Read more »

Bolting

Bolting is the term used when a horse gallops off out of control and the rider is unable to stop it. In addition to being very frightening for the rider, this can also be very dangerous for the horse, rider and others around them. Why do wild horses bolt? Animals can be categorised as fight... Read more »

Aggression

Equine behaviour can be difficult to understand, especially aggressive behaviour. If you want to understand more about why your horse exhibits certain aggressive behavioural traits, this information should shed some light on them! What is aggression? Aggression is primarily a form of communication used to establish precedence and consists of threats or harmful actions directed... Read more »