Horse Behaviour & Psychology

The most basic instincts of the horse are related to its survival as a prey animal. First and most obvious is the fear instinct, commonly referred to the fight-or-flight instinct. Second is the herd instinct, the inborn desire to be inside the nucleus of the group, and the instinctive understanding of herd hierarchy, dominance, and how to fit in. Third is the horse’s acute awareness and sensitivity to their surroundings, including other horses and people.

Foal Imprinting with Pat Parelli

With Pat Parelli - Although many owners don’t realize it, a horse’s future mental and emotional health can be impacted by the experiences he has during his first few hours of life. Pat Parelli strongly believes that positive contact with a human immediately after birth sets a newborn foal up for a lifetime of partnership and training success.

Deter Wood Chewing in "Eager Beaver" Horses

By Jess Hallas-Kilcoyne - Is your horse destroying your barn, shelters, and fencing with his wood chewing habit? A horse that has taken to gnawing on wooden fences, stall doors, and stable walls can not only cause extensive damage to the facility, the splinters he swallows may put him at risk of colic or other gastrointestinal problems.

Trigger Points in Horses

When handling any horse with training or behavioural issues, I always watch for trigger points. A trigger point is basically a trigger that can cause the horse to associate a specific stimulus with a fear-based response. For example, a lunge whip flicked at a horse can cause him to remember that he was once scared or hurt by a lunge whip. If he has a flashback memory that takes over, the horse’s behaviour can revert back to previous evasive or reactive ways.

Complicated Horses

By Will Clinging - I work with a large variety of horses and have worked with thousands of horses and riders in the past eight years. This has given me the opportunity to work with some fairly complicated horses. Although more difficult and sometimes seemingly impossible to train, the complicated ones teach us the most and challenge us to work the horse as an individual.

Animal Behaviour Expert Dr. Temple Grandin, Temple Grandin, livestock handling, animal fear vs animal aggression, understanding equine behaviour, Animal Sciences at Colorado State University, Teresa van Bryce, Grandin autism, Grandin animal behaviour, horse psychology

A professor of Animal Sciences at Colorado State University, Dr. Temple Grandin is a world famous expert in animal behaviour and livestock handling. While renowned for her innovations in the design of handling facilities and improving animal welfare in the livestock industry, Dr. Grandin is perhaps best known for overcoming her personal struggles with autism. She continues to teach and pursue her research while lecturing around the world on autism and livestock handling.

Horses that Crib

By Lindsay Grice - Cribbing is a stereotypy, similar to obsessive compulsive behaviour in humans. A stereotypy is a repetitive behaviour that serves no practical purpose but makes your horse feel better by releasing brain chemicals. Research shows that, while initially begun in response to stress (physiological or environmental), cribbing often continues as an everyday habit, even without the stressful trigger.

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Riding Vactions in California with Jec Ballou