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Horse Behavior

Horse Illustrated's articles on horse behavior involve how to bond with your horse, how your horse reacts, what your horse is thinking, normal behavior, and more. Topics can include desensitizing your equine partner to various objects, how riders can create misbehaviors, how to motivate your mount, how to interpret actions and what they mean, how to avoid issues while on the ground and while in the saddle, how to be the leader with the herd, how equines behave in the wild, research into horse behavior, how the equine brain works, and so much more. If you want to understand how the equine mind works and how you can get the desired results with your partner, then look no further.

Q: I have worked with my 5-year-old mare for two years now. However, she’ll still spook out of the blue and jump sideways, and spin out from underneath me. I’ve tried desensitizing her, but it doesn’t seem to be...
When wintery weather sets in, many riders put a halt to all horse activities other than rudimentary care, in essence missing a great opportunity to continue training throughout the year. Actually, a fair amount of groundwork can be done...
It’s not unusual to see a horse rear. A frisky horse cavorting with a pasture mate may stand on its hind legs as a playful expression. Rearing is also a defensive posture that feral horses use to fend off...
Q: I recently bought a three-year-old mare. The first time we had the farrier out, she immediately became nervous and wouldn't cooperate with them. The farrier's assistant put a chain over her nose, which didn't help at all. Now...
Despite knowing that close relationships among humans are formed over time, it’s fairly common for us to feel disappointed when our horses remain distant after weeks, or even months, of special attention. Horses do form close attachments over time,...
Q: I just purchased a three-year-old gelding. Whenever I walk him on a lead, he crowds me. He's still getting used to his new home, and he tends to spook sometimes. I'm afraid he's going to run me over!...

Arena Sour Horse

Q: I’m an experienced rider and every year I take on a project horse to fix and resell to a good home. My current project is a 12-year-old gelding that spent many years on the show circuit. Unfortunately, he’s...
Research at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences confirms what riders have always known: a nervous rider or handler can cause his or her horse to become nervous as well. For the study, horses were ridden or led across a certain...

Untouchable Ears

Q: My mare had a serious ear infection that required weeks of treatment. Now she’s extremely head shy. It’s an ordeal to bridle her. If anything comes near her ears she panics. Otherwise, she’s a sweet, wonderful mare. Can...
Q: I take lessons at a busy stable and ride an older gelding. While he’s being groomed and tacked up he tries to bite whenever his girth area is touched. My instructor says to yell at him or smack...
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