What are horses scared of the most?

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By Rachel

Quick Peek:

Horses are easily frightened and confused by humans, and there are 10 common things that can scare and stress them out. Invasive veterinary care, patting them, grooming sensitive areas, and feeding them by hand or from a bucket are just a few examples. To build a positive and trusting relationship with your horse, approach them calmly and gently, use as little restraint as possible, and establish boundaries and rules. Avoid these common mistakes and your horse will be happy and healthy. So, let’s saddle up and learn how to care for our equine friends!

10 Common Things Humans Do That Scare and Confuse Horses

Horses are magnificent creatures, but they can be easily frightened and confused by humans. As a horse enthusiast with over 20 years of experience, I’ve seen many instances where horses have become scared or stressed due to human actions. In this article, we’ll explore 10 common things that humans do that scare and confuse horses.

Invasive Veterinary Care

Horses are naturally skittish animals, and they can become even more nervous when they are subjected to invasive veterinary procedures. Things like injections, blood draws, and even dental work can be very scary for horses. To minimize their fear, it’s important to approach them calmly and gently and to use as little restraint as possible.

Patting Them

While many humans enjoy a good pat on the back, horses can find it quite scary. Horses are prey animals, and being touched unexpectedly can trigger their fight or flight response. Instead of patting them, try scratching them on the withers or neck. This will help to build trust and create a positive association with human touch.

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Picking up Feet, Hoof Trimming, and Shoeing

Horses are naturally sensitive creatures, and their feet are no exception. Picking up their feet, trimming their hooves, and shoeing can be quite uncomfortable for them. It’s important to take your time and be gentle when working with their feet. If they become scared or stressed, take a break and try again later.

Grooming Sensitive Areas

Grooming is an important part of horse care, but it can be scary for horses when sensitive areas are touched. Areas like the face, ears, and belly can be particularly sensitive. To make grooming more comfortable for your horse, start with less sensitive areas and work your way up. Use a soft brush and gentle strokes to avoid causing discomfort.

Pulling or Clipping Hairs and Whiskers

Horses have sensitive skin, and pulling or clipping their hair and whiskers can be quite painful for them. It’s important to be gentle and use proper grooming tools when working with their hair. Avoid pulling or clipping their whiskers, as they serve an important sensory function for the horse.

Spraying Them with Chemicals Such as Flyspray

Horses can be scared by sudden sprays of chemicals, like flyspray. To minimize their fear, introduce them to the spray bottle slowly and from a distance. Start by spraying it near them and gradually move closer until they are comfortable with it. Always be sure to avoid their eyes and nose.

Feeding by Hand or from a Bucket

Feeding your horse by hand or from a bucket can be a bonding experience, but it can also be scary for the horse. Horses can become pushy or aggressive when they are excited about food, so it’s important to establish boundaries and rules. Always feed them in a calm and controlled environment, and never let them take food from your hand aggressively.

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Putting Them in a Trailer or Horse Box

Transporting your horse can be a stressful experience for both you and your horse. Horses can become scared and claustrophobic in trailers and horse boxes. To minimize their fear, introduce them to the trailer slowly and from a distance. Start by letting them sniff around the trailer and gradually work up to loading them inside. Always be sure to secure them properly and provide plenty of ventilation.

In conclusion, horses are magnificent creatures that require patience and understanding from their human caretakers. By avoiding these 10 common things that scare and confuse horses, you can build a positive and trusting relationship with your horse. Remember to approach them calmly and gently, and always be mindful of their sensitivities. With time and patience, you and your horse can enjoy a long and happy partnership.

A video on this subject that might interest you:

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