Most common horse behavior problems

horse behavior problems
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Horses in captivity can develop behaviors that are not considered habitual in their routine. The majority are victims of block vices or compulsive actions, a product of hyperactivity disorders due to confinement. The reason for this horse behavior problems is due to alterations in their way of life or habitat.

There are three basic conditions that maintain the physical and emotional balance of a horse. It’s about feeding, interaction with other equines and freedom of movement; the alteration in any of them or in all is the cause for inappropriate behavior in the horse.

To minimize the effects of horse behavior problems, specialists recommend different techniques. From environmental improvements and treatment to pharmacological treatments; the application of any of them will depend on a diagnosis prior to the equine’s health.

Here we write the most common horse behavior problems

Bad behavior on the horse

The horse behavior problems in the horse can be due to internal or external factors. Among the first, pain and fear are cataloged, whether learned or induced. In the second area, the external, are considered the elements to which a horse in confinement is subjected.

horse behavior problems

Usually, the horses are kept in open areas free form. They are used to grazing, living in a pack and running different lengths at discretion. The variation of these routines due to their domestication is cause for stress, a situation that the animal does not know how to handle.

Horse breeding

The most common behavior problems in the horse are stable vices, eating disorders and aggressive reactions. The block vices are erratic behaviors that the horse develops in its confinement; This type of behavior increases the endorphins of the animal and helps to minimize its stress. We present here 4 most common horse diseases in your racehorses, don’t avoid this article.

Causes of bad horse behavior problems

  • A free horse usually grazes for 18 hours, time that he invests in the search for food and displacement.
  • In confinement, a horse does not have the freedom to maintain its routine or control its food intake. This situation causes in most cases high levels of anxiety, stress, and depression, including other.

horse behavior problems

  • Pain or health problems. Pain is one of the main causes of why a horse is aggressive. Aggressiveness can be expressed towards other animals of the same species or even its tamer; this reaction is directly related to your internal condition.
  • Alteration of their habitat. A domesticated horse can spend up to 22 hours a day inside his box, without enough space to run and isolated from other This situation produces depression and anxiety in horses; especially in those wild animals or accustomed to large and savanna environments.

Most common horse behaviors

  • Aerophagia or swallowing With the help of his incisors, the horse fixes his teeth on an inert target; He arches his neck and moves his head back, producing a hoarse sound as he swallows air. This behavior is associated with digestive problems, in addition to boredom.
  • Rolling of the neck and head. Constantly, the horse moves its neck and head from one side to the other; It is a continuous movement, related to anxiety and anguish.
  • Another variant of the previous behavior is the displacement in circles inside the Under the same circumstances, the horse constantly rotates inside its corral and kicks the door or the ground constantly.
  • Eat wood or lignofagia. The horse nibbles at the door and wooden planks within his reach. The main cause of this behavior is the lack of fiber in your diet; The greatest risk of this habit is drowning or internal laceration caused by a splinter.

We must discern between four types of the stress of different origins in the horse:

  • Behavioral stress: horses do not see the world in the same way as we do; his vision is different, his hearing is more tuned than ours … this is a possible explanation of why the horse can suddenly jump to another side, or be frightened without anything apparent. A stressed horse is usually a restless animal, with the body tense, the ears back and the head raised.
  • Mechanical stress: the stress level of these animals also increases if they suffer from some type of injury. Such as lameness, inflammation or some systemic disease. Any effort that we ask an animal that is not in optimal conditions can be frustrating.

horse behavior problems

  • Nutritional stress: the digestive system is designed to receive food throughout the day. And also a large proportion of it in the form of forage; thus, rationing food is nothing more than a way to humanize the primary instinct of these animals.
  • Immunological stress: As discussed above, a weakened immune system makes it more susceptible to viral or bacterial infections. That is why it is very important to maintain a deworming and/or adjusted vaccination program.

Determine before what situation of stress we find can be essential to establish your solution.

Tips to improve horse behavior problems

  • Medical diagnostic. In a horse with unusual behavior, a complete clinical diagnosis must be made; you also have to observe their psychological behavior.
  • Changes in the routine. A horse needs about 10 hours of free exercise and interaction with other equines.

horse behavior problems

  • Control of your diet. Usually, this animal in captivity eats twice a day large portions. This food is high in cereals and grains that can cause ulcers or intestinal acidosis. A diet high in fiber, low in sugars, and fed with a large caliber should be given to stimulate chewing.


Horse behavior problems are a very present reality in the equestrian world. And for that reason they also deserve mention. If we try to understand a little more the mind of the horse we will get closer a little more and improve the harmony between us, the humans, and this being so special and vulnerable at the same time, the horse.

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