What scares horses the most?

Photo of author

By Rachel

Quick Peek:

Horses can get spooked and bewildered by some of the things humans do, like invasive vet care, patting them, and grooming sensitive areas. Even feeding them by hand or putting them in a trailer can cause anxiety. To keep them calm, gentle handling and positive reinforcement are key. Horse owners should learn about their behavior and preferences to create a comfortable and safe environment. Don’t freak out your equine friends!

10 Common Things Humans Do That Scare and Confuse Horses

As horse enthusiasts, we all want to ensure our equine friends feel safe and comfortable around us. However, there are some common things that humans do that can scare and confuse horses. In this article, we’ll explore 10 of these actions and provide some tips on how to avoid them.

Invasive Veterinary Care

When horses are in pain or discomfort, they need veterinary care. However, some procedures can be invasive and scary for horses. For example, giving injections, taking blood samples, and inserting catheters can all be frightening experiences for horses. To minimize the stress on your horse, make sure the veterinarian uses gentle handling techniques and provides plenty of positive reinforcement.

Patting Them

Horses are not accustomed to being patted on the back or head like dogs or cats. When you pat a horse, it can be confusing and scary for them. Instead, try rubbing their neck or shoulder, which is a more natural and comforting gesture for horses.

Picking Up Feet, Hoof Trimming and Shoeing

Horses are naturally cautious animals and can be very sensitive about their feet. Picking up their feet, trimming their hooves, or shoeing them can be scary for horses. To make these procedures less stressful, start by training your horse to lift their feet on command. Then, introduce the tools and equipment gradually and give your horse plenty of positive reinforcement.

See also  Do horses like to be hugged?

Grooming Sensitive Areas

While grooming is essential for a horse’s health and well-being, some areas can be sensitive and uncomfortable for them. For example, brushing their face, ears, or belly can be scary for horses. To make grooming more comfortable for your horse, start with gentle strokes and gradually increase the pressure. Use a soft brush or cloth for sensitive areas, and always watch for signs of discomfort.

Pulling or Clipping Hairs and Whiskers

Horses have sensitive skin, and pulling or clipping their hair or whiskers can be uncomfortable and painful. While it may be necessary for shows or competitions, it’s essential to do it carefully and gently. Use sharp tools and take your time to avoid causing any unnecessary pain or discomfort.

Spraying Them with Chemicals Such as Flyspray

Flies and other insects can be a significant source of discomfort for horses. However, spraying them with chemicals like fly spray can be scary and uncomfortable for horses. To minimize their stress, start by spraying a small amount on your hand and let them smell it. Then, gradually introduce the spray bottle and give them plenty of positive reinforcement.

Feeding by Hand or from a Bucket

While feeding your horse treats or food by hand can be a great bonding experience, it can also be dangerous. Horses can become aggressive or pushy when they know food is involved. To avoid any mishaps, feed them from a bucket or use a treat dispenser.

Putting Them in a Trailer or Horse Box

Transporting horses can be stressful for both the horse and the owner. Horses can be claustrophobic and may feel trapped in a trailer or horse box. To make the experience less stressful, make sure the trailer is well-ventilated, and provide plenty of water and hay during the journey.

See also  Can you leave a wet horse in the sun?


As horse enthusiasts, it’s essential to understand the things that scare and confuse horses. By taking the time to learn about their behavior and preferences, we can create a more comfortable and safe environment for our equine friends. Remember to always use gentle handling techniques, provide positive reinforcement, and watch for signs of discomfort. With these tips in mind, you and your horse can enjoy a happy and healthy relationship.

A video on this subject that might interest you: