Where do horses like to roll?


Rolling horseTo most horse owners, rolling is just a normal equine behavior, or at worst, an inconvenience when a freshly groomed horse heads straight for the sloppiest mud puddle to enjoy a roll. But rolling can cause damage to grass, which becomes an issue when grazing is in short supply.

Researchers at Japan’s Shinshu University executed a study to find out if horses had a preference for rolling on different surfaces. The researchers set up a paddock that was just pasture grass to serve as a control, and an experimental paddock of the same size that also had three rolling areas: dry soil; sand; and straw.

The horses spent significantly less time rolling when they were in the experimental paddock than they did when on grass only. However, when they did roll in the experimental paddock, most of it was done in the rolling areas. This suggests that horses prefer to roll in the rolling areas. Of the three surfaces, the horses showed a slight preference for soil.

Providing a dirt rolling area in a grass paddock may help horse owners and farm managers preserve more grazing area by encouraging all of the horses to roll in one place instead of in various locations on the grass. For more information, visit www.equinescienceupdate.com


  1. My one horse that I owned preferred to roll in a sandy soil pit that I made for him. The second you turned him out, he would jog over and drop and roll in his rolling pit, as I called it.


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