Have you ever been to a rodeo or an equestrian show and seen or experienced horses rushing in the arena as if predators were chasing them?
Short-term stress can cause a horse to react to the surrounding environment. For example, avoiding thunder strike, especially if the horse is not properly trained and sensitive to such stimuli.
If a horse is experiencing chronic stress, it can exhibit extreme behavior and other performance issues.
The horse may feel stressed or concerned about environmental or social factors. Stress can arise in their daily work or new or rapidly changing situations, such as events.
A rider needs to understand his horse, what situation triggers stress and methods of reducing it.
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Body Language of a Stressed Horse
Like humans, each horse reacts differently to stress. Every horse acts differently to pressure, certain situation may disturb one while others may not feel any stress.
Long-term stress can harm the health of your horse and can lead to:
- weight loss.
- Stomach ulcer.
- Weakened immune system.
- Unstable behavior.
- Other behavior changes.
As a horse holder, you will notice if the animal has collapsed. Observe the body language of your horse and look for the following symptoms of anxiety:
Weaving and box walking: Many riders are familiar with some horses’ restlessness, called box walking.
Horses that stop neighing, rhythmic swaying caused by shifting weight between their hoofs – are signs of restlessness, boredom, or tension.
Shivering: When a horse is shaking, its skin looks almost wrinkled. Visible convulsions usually accompany the rippling effect. This can happen at any time when the stimulus triggers a stress response, including cycling, driving, or standing.
Rolling Eyes: Rolling eyeballs usually occurs when they are afraid of something and is usually accompanied by vibration or tremors.
Corner Retreat: When your horse is frightened in the stall, his natural reaction is to move away as far as possible from the trigger, so he retreats to the corner.
Fear of wildness: When they feel they have to run on horseback, even if they are riding a horse, they panic.
These signs can be long or short based on the cause.
Your horse can also show other signs when in distress, like:
Yawning: No one knows exactly why a horse is yawning, but yawning can release stress-balancing endorphins to help the horse relax.
Teeth grinding: Horses grind their teeth for several reasons, including when they feel anxious or in pain. If you notice the horse is grinding his teeth but has no problems with his teeth, it means the horse is stressed.
Bad Behavior: If you notice your horses showing bad behaviors, like scaring other horses, bite, feed, or claw-grab, these can be reactions to stress.
Excessive sweating: Like the sweaty palms of a restless person, horses also sweat when they are nervous. Their heart rate increases and they start to breathe heavily, they will start to sweat and show other signs of stress, such as lacing or grinding teeth.
When you notice these stress symptoms, pay attention. Try to find out the reason for stress so that chronic stress can be properly treated.
Check out interesting facts about horses.
What to Do
For horses, a certain level of stress is natural. However, if you find your horse’s stress level is rising and he has been on the brink, you may need to make some changes to his environment or daily life.
If your horse is stressed, there are several ways to reduce his anxiety.
Build a Routine
Occasional daily activities can make your horse look innovative. During daily activities, the horse may adapt to known stressors, such as riding in a riding hall in a horsebox, and will be more comfortable in the surrounding environment.
Try to keep the horse’s feeding schedule, meals, exercise time, and exercise program consistent to reduce the stress level of your horse.
Working with Experienced Trainers
Experienced trainers will notice any subtle changes in body language that can cause stress to the horse, such as:
- Strained arms.
- Hold on.
- Too much or too little contact.
- Lost heels.
You can make your horse feel relaxed, monitor, and engage with the horse as a rider, by preparing the horses to be more relaxed and tension free.
Do More Exercise
Exercise enough to keep your horse healthy. Some horses have to exercise on a tight schedule to grow up, especially horses who are naturally energetic and or gets bored easily.
It is important that the rider pays attention to the body language of his horse and develop a training program suited to his energy level. By making your horse enjoy the ranch, you will also endorse training.
Adapt your Horse to Different Conditions
If necessary, you can gradually move your horse to the new training schedule and daily activities. If you switch too quickly to a new schedule, their pressure will suddenly increase and will have the opposite effect.
However, if you take the time to teach about new habits, they will eventually welcome the change and reduce stress.
Gradually adjusting can also help with certain triggering conditions, such as worrying about the clipper or loading into a trailer. Place the trigger below the threshold of fear or panic.
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Let the horse respond. It may snort strangely and scratch its hoof. Your horse will start to accept new experiences or interactions over time.
Wild horses adapt to the environment by accepting the change, so will domestic horses. Avoid exposing your horses to situations that trigger stress. it will increase their fear.
Is the horse afraid or the owner? I researched and found out that horses roll their eyes when bored please check and correct.
Breeding is the reproduction process of horse or animal, please correct it has nothing to do with stress
Why does a horse shiver?
When a horse is shaking, its skin looks almost wrinkled. Visible convulsions usually accompany the rippling effect. This can happen at any time when the stimulus triggers a stress response, including cycling, driving, or standing.
Why do horses grind their teeth?
Horses grind their teeth for several reasons, including when they feel anxious or in pain. If you notice the horse is grinding his teeth but has no problems with his teeth, it means the horse is stressed.