our horses with stress
We all know about stress in people, but what about our horses?
Horses were meant to be herd animals, wandering around the land, and
grazing over 20 hours a day.
They are a “flight or fight” animal meaning fear or threat causes
physiological changes (adrenaline, cortisone, increased heart rate,
and increased blood to muscles) causing them to run away or fight by
biting, kicking, rearing, and striking. Yet we “break” them to
behave how we want which conflicts with their natural instinct.
We confine them to stalls and paddocks, oftentimes with horses as
stablemates they may not choose if given the choice. Many show and
race horses only get to exercise an hour a day and even then we
control them during that time.
We feed meals of hay and high concentrated grains giving them lots
of energy while only keeping them busy a few hours a day. We expect
them to walk onto trailers, which are moving, confining, noisy, and
unnatural objects to be feared. All these factors contribute to
Each horse may exhibit stress or suffer from the physical results of
stress differently. Behavioral issues such as aggression or cribbing
and stall weaving may occur. GI tract disorders, including ulcers
and diarrhea may result. Inflamed muscles and joints can cause
lameness and sore backs all as a result of stress.
To help reduce your horse’s stresses consider the following:
- Patiently teach him what you want him to do (avoid
- Put hay in a feeder or net to slow down eating and feed
smaller meals frequently
- Increase turn out and/or exercise (not focused work)
- More personal attention (quality time-grooming, playing,
going for walks)
- Put toys they like in their stall or paddock
- Keep a friend nearby, even a goat can help if a horse friend
- Physical therapies (massage, chiropractic, essential oils)
- Nutritional supplements for balancing (KAM Stress Buster
This tip was brought to you by KAM Animal Services, now offering the
Cookies with a Clue Holiday Gift Bucket, the perfect gift for anyone
that loves horses. These all natural treats help keep your horse
balanced and can be ordered from now until the end of December by
going to www.kamanimalservices.com or by calling 519-463-9640. It’s
only $29.95 and the cute bucket is loaded with wonderfully wrapped
baggies of delicious, all organic, sugar-free supplement cookies.