Understanding the horse’s mind and body

When I am called to evaluate a horse’s behavior issues, I begin each call with questions of feed, health, and environment. Evaluating a horses diet is a huge part of a trainer’s job. If a horse is poorly fed and in poor condition, then a good quality hay along with added grain or supplements will be necessary. On the other hand, if a horse is acting out with high energy, neurotic behavior, just completely out of control, chances are, it is receiving way too much high protein feed. Horses store energy in their tendons, mind and muscle. This is a protective ability allowing them to run from predators long distance, without tiring. When a domesticated horse is given large amounts of grain or high protein supplements, then contained in small areas without much exercise, this is a recipe for disaster. It can create neurotic behavior that leads to vices such as cribbing, aggressiveness, just plain stress. Health is most important factor, questioning, is the horses teeth correctly floated? Sharp edges make it difficult for the horse to comfortably chew. Is the horse current on vaccinations and deworming? This is just a short overview of a four part series I will be writing. It is to include tack fitting, feet, and how the horses spine along with muscle compensation can create ” hidden ” pain that leads to behavior issues and then finally lameness issues. Listen to what your horse may be trying to show you. Stubborn and lazy is not in his vocabulary, there is always a reason he is misbehaving.

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