Horseback Riding

Horse Behavior

January 26, 2009

Manage your horse better by understanding his behavior.

From our friends at eXtension.org

Horse owners who have a sound understanding of horse behavior can use their knowledge to help prevent behavioral problems. Listed below are a few management tips related to horse behavior:

  • Design horse housing so horses can see other horses.
  • Feeding horses individually will reduce aggression and allow slow eaters to get their full ration.

  • Whenever possible, the main portion of the horse’s diet should be made up of forages to reduce digestive and behavioral problems.

Looking for your first horse? Avoid unpleasant surprises by downloading AQHA’s “Buying and Owning Your First Horse.” This handy report contains all the info you need to get started.

  • Feed stalled horses small frequent meals rather than several large meals to reduce boredom and digestive problems.
  • If horses are fed in groups, provide more feeders than the number of horses in the group and distribute the feed rapidly so that all horses can begin eating at approximately the same time.
  • Practice good pasture management to encourage horses to graze the majority of available forage.
  • Make fences and other barriers easily visible to the horse.
  • When putting horses in a new area, give them plenty of daylight hours to locate new fencing and pasture hazards.
  • Closely monitor new horses when introducing them into an established herd, and be ready to separate horses if they become too aggressive.
  • Be observant for signs of unwanted contagious behaviors (alarm reactions, running, etc.) in horses and do not allow these behaviors, inadvertently, to become the normal reaction of the horses to management procedures.
  • Be aware of the horses’ dominance hierarchy, and watch for signs of aggression when working in a group of horses.
  • Keep feed rooms and gates securely fastened, and fence horses away from dangerous areas.
  • Separate foaling mares from geldings and stallions.
  • When moving mares with foals, make sure the foal is awake and alert before moving the mare.
  • Be careful separating horses who are accustomed to being housed together.
  • Give stalled horses opportunities for free exercise and socialization.

Get the most out of horse ownership with our detailed report. AQHA’s “Buying and Owning Your First Horse” has great information about developing a meaningful relationship with your new horse.

  • Use safe, sturdy fencing between groups of horses.
  • Remove halters when horses are stalled or turned out. If halters cannot be removed, use a breakaway safety halter.

Watch 2008 AQHA World Championship Show Action

Friday, January 30th
3 p.m. Eastern / 12 p.m. Pacific
presented by Bank of America, featured on the Universal Sports Network

Watch exciting cow horse action! Highlights from the reining and cutting events will also be shown along with an update about the World Equestrian Games featuring reining, which will be in Lexington, Kentucky, in 2010.