Items

Forums
How Horses Show Stress
 By Winniefield Park   •   1st Oct 2016   •   1,332 views   •   0 comments
How Horses Show Stress

All of us feel stress and itís normal to feel over-stressed sometimes. School exams, job demands and family obligations can leave us feeling stressed out. Our horses can feel stressed to, and while a bit of stress is normal, a lot of stress isnít good for your horse. Is your stressed? Hereís a look at how horses show that they're stressed.

Now it might seem like wild horses live an idyllic life of freedom. But thatís not true. The search for food, water, shelter, companions and avoiding predators are normal stresses wild horses face. For the most part, theyíve evolved to deal with these stresses. Their digestive system is able to digest small amount of food as they search for bits of fodder. They can grow warm coats to keep them warm, and have some natural waterproofing. They live in small bands and form close bonds with other horses, much like we might have a few good friends amongst a wider social circle. And of course, horses have evolved to be fast runners so they can outrun predators.

But domestic horses have to deal with other stressful situations, ones they're not really equipped to. We keep horses in small paddocks or stalls, where their natural inclination to travel and browse is frustrated. We take them to competitions that expose them to all sorts of unnatural situations such as riding in a trailer, noisy crowds, and other strange sights, sounds and smells. We keep them separated from other horses, depriving them of companionship. There are horses that take it all in stride, but there are others, that just like an overly sensitive person, are more affected to these types of stress. How can you tell your horse is stressed?

There are lots of reasons your horse might lose weight. Some are driven crazy by biting bugs and spend so much time swishing, pacing and twitching they donít eat enough to replace the burnt energy. Internal parasites can steal nutrition and cause weight loss. Illness and poor quality feed can cause a horse to be underweight. But, if youíve ruled at all the other reasons, you might consider stress as a cause of weight loss.

Does your horse yawn a lot? My horse yawns when I saddle up, anticipating being ridden, an activity sheíd rather avoid, even though I donít ride hard or long. Some of this might be from past bad experiences - she also habitually shies away from the saddle, a response to having a heavy saddle slapped on her back by former owners. Yawning is a stress response. One study by the University of Guelph suggests that yawning, rather than indicating fatigue as it does in humans, is a way to release stress by producing endorphins. Licking and chewing are also seen as indicators of stress relief or self-soothing.

Stress can cause a horse to bolt their food. This can put them in danger of choke. Some horses will chronically overeat, similar to some of us who are emotional eaters.

Those activities that were traditionally called stable vices are ways horses express stress. Cribbing, wood chewing, stall walking, pawing, wall kicking, biting things or people and weaving are habits born of stress. Often, they happen because a horse is cooped up in a stall and has no way to more naturally burn energy. Or, they may be reacting to being isolated.

Just like people, some horses are tooth grinders. They do this either in their stall, or while being ridden. Horses might grind their teeth because of tooth problems or stomach ulcers. But, it can also indicate stress.

Ulcers or EGUS can be caused by stress, and because of the discomfort, it can cause a vicious pain/stress circle. In fact, pain of any sort can cause a horse to express stress, so saddle fit, body or hoof pain, the comfort of the bit and how the horse is ridden can be a cause.

Poor behavior while ridden can be an indication of stress. When physical pain is ruled out, itís a good idea to take a look at the pace of training or even if the horse is really suitable for what itís being trained for.

Many horses, when they're stressed urinate and produce manure. My horse is nervous with the farrier and we have to keep a fork and wheelbarrow handy. Many horses do this at shows and on the trailer and can develop diarrhea easily. When a horse is really scared, they may shiver. You might see this when the vet visits - which can be very stressful for some horses.

Lots of things can cause colic and stress is one of them. If a horse becomes very stressed, they can become colicky. A change in routine, or environment can make some horses feel sick to their stomachs. Something as simple as a new horse in the stable can set some horses off.

So how do you alleviate stress for your horse. First look for any health related problems such as EGUS, soreness, and dental problems. Trailer stress can be lessened by giving the horse a comfortable ride; steady accelerations and decelerations, easy turns and a bright, comfortable trailer. Keep your horse's environment and natural to its needs as possible, with lots of turnout, exercise, friends and healthy feed. Itís not possible to avoid all stress, but letting your horse be a horse as much as possible will help avoid habits and health problems caused by stress.
Horse News More PB Articles About:  stress,
Horse News More In This Category:  Care and Grooming      Horse News More From This Author:  Winniefield Park
 Related Horse News
How Horses Show Stress
1st Oct 2016   |   Care and Grooming   |   Winniefield Park
All of us feel stress and itís normal to feel over-stressed sometimes. School exams, job demands and family obligations can leave us feeling stressed out. Our horses can feel stressed to, and while a bit of stress is normal, a lot ...
Horse Stress Relief Methods
18th Jun 2018   |   Care and Grooming   |   Winniefield Park
We all feel stressed sometimes and horses are no different. Many of us ask a lot of our horses, and we sometimes donít keep them in ways that allow them to just be horses. Horses that are stressed can act out, develop ulcers, seem ...
Equine Stress and PTSD
6th Jul 2018   |   Care and Grooming   |   Winniefield Park
Some horses can develop what could be considered posttraumatic stress disorder. This isnít common, but it can happen when horses are exposed to stressful situations over a long period. Horses with PTSD have damage to their hippoca ...
  View More PonyBox Related Horse Articles
 More News by Winniefield Park
Jenny The Horse Roaming German Streets
4th Jun 2020   |   Care and Grooming   |   Winniefield Park
For over 10 years, a white mare has been roaming the streets and green spaces of Frankfurt, Germany. Now, with the roadways empty, and more people at home, sheís lifting the spirit of many residents during the coronavirus lockdown ...
Forest Service In Oregon To Brutally Reduce Herd Size
3rd Jun 2020   |   Care and Grooming   |   Winniefield Park
In Defense of Animals is petitioning to halt the sterilization program being planned by the U.S. Forest Service in Oregon that will brutally reduce the herd size and cause harm to horses in the Oregonís Big Summit wild horse herd ...
Red Wine Stain Contends for Highest Jump on PonyBox
2nd Jun 2020   |   Care and Grooming   |   Winniefield Park
There is a contender for the highest jump record. Red Wine Stain, a full Trakehner mareís career took off as a four year old and rocketed from 15,709 place to the 125th spot. At the age of 13 when this article was written, she sit ...
Stuff Horse Girls Dont Say
31st May 2020   |   Care and Grooming   |   Winniefield Park
There are some things you just donít say to a horse person, like horseback riding isnít a sport because the horse does all the work. And, there are some things youíll never hear come out of a horse personís mouth. Hereís a look a ...
Where Did The Disneyland Horses Go During COVID
30th May 2020   |   Care and Grooming   |   Winniefield Park
There are a lot of out of work horses right now! Even the horse cast members at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California are in lock down, no longer pulling carriages of tourists down Main Street, USA. But, they're doing just fine ...
Para-Olympian Dressage Rider Sanne Voets
29th May 2020   |   Care and Grooming   |   Winniefield Park
Often riders who are riding a dressage freestyle will choose music to build their program around. But, not so with Para-Olympian dressage rider Sanne Voets. Voets won triple gold at the 2018 World Equestrian Games and freestyle go ...
Funny Cowboy Horse Challenge
26th May 2020   |   Care and Grooming   |   Winniefield Park
Did you do the Tiktok Cowboy Horse Challenge? With only a few props and a long-haired friend you can too can look like a horseback rider galloping off into the...hallway? Take a look at this compilation for some cowboy inspiration ...
Horses Paying Window Visit To Seniors Facilities
25th May 2020   |   Care and Grooming   |   Winniefield Park
There are so many bad news stories about seniorís homes right now itís refreshing to find good news stories. But, everywhere, there are people working hard to not only keep our most vulnerable citizens safe and healthy, but to pro ...
  View All News by Winniefield Park
 
©2002 - 2020   PonyBox LLC Create Account Terms & Conditions Privacy Contact Us
233 Members Online 266,017 Registered Members 2,720 News Articles 11,556,719 Unique News Article Views 274,963,968 Website Views