Horses communicate through their behaviour, including body language, vocalising, touch. By watching their behaviour, we can get a pretty good idea about how they are feeling and their emotional state. When horses feel stressed or experience pain or discomfort the signs may not always be obviously apparent. We have devised the following checklist for you to see if your horse displays any subtle signs that they aren’t feeling 100%.
“A good understanding of horse behaviour and body language is vital for all horse owners and caretakers. Recognising when our horses are experiencing stress, pain or discomfort and reacting accordingly can improve their welfare and allow us to make better informed choices about their management, riding, handling and training. This checklist is a useful tool to start considering how your horse may be feeling in everyday situations and assess whether they are comfortable with what is being asked of them.”Justine Harrison (CEBC ABTC-AAB), equine behaviourist and founder of the online equine behaviour platform Understanding Horses.
Horse Behaviour Checklist
The checklist is an easy-to-use resource that includes:
- Examples of common subtle signs of stress, pain or discomfort
- Space to select how often your horse may exhibit the behaviour
- A brief explanation of why horses may exhibit the behaviour
This resource is just a guide, if you are worried about your horse’s behaviour, please contact an equine behaviour professional or your vet.