What Makes Horses Unhappy?

While no scientific studies have been done as to why some farms and living situations make horses anxious and upset, it’s abundantly clear that individual horses tend to care for a specific type of facility and care.

While an owner may never be able to pinpoint what caused the horse’s distress, it oftentimes is easier to move the horse back to where he was comfortable or to a situation that is close to where he was comfortable, Dr. Sue McDonnell said in The Horse.

When it’s not possible or practical to move a horse, there are some factors that should be taken into consideration that may be causing his unhappiness.

Everything a horse ingests can affect behavior, including hay, grain and supplements. The way a horse is fed can also be an issue, whether because of intimidation among horses or something a simple as not wanting to eat from a hayrack that is over the horse’s head.

A horse’s social condition can negatively affect him during turnout or even with regards to whom he is stalled next to, making him grumpy. Some horses have difficulty with changes in management styles; a horse used to a rigid feeding and turnout schedule may have a tough time swapping to a more-leisurely lifestyle.

Electricity, whether in the form of electric fence, stray electricity around fences or waterers, or the sound of machinery may all affect horses, even those that are typically calm.

Human-horse interaction, when changed, can negatively affect how a horse feels. There is published research that shows pigs and cattle are affected by their herdsman’s behavior; it’s not a stretch to envision horses are affected by this, as well.

Read more at The Horse.

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