Horse Behaviour & Psychology

Trigger Points in Horses

When handling any horse with training or behavioural issues, I always watch for trigger points. A trigger point is basically a trigger that can cause the horse to associate a specific stimulus with a fear-based response. For example, a lunge whip flicked at a horse can cause him to remember that he was once scared or hurt by a lunge whip. If he has a flashback memory that takes over, the horse’s behaviour can revert back to previous evasive or reactive ways.

Stallions have often been considered difficult or dangerous, but now it seems that mares are being tarred with the same brush. A study into riders’ perceptions of horse temperament and suitability for ridden work, based on horse sex, found that mares are also seen as “bossy” or “unreliable.” The research, published in the scientific journal PLOS ONE, has found horse riders are applying human gender stereotypes to horses - a form of anthropomorphism - which could lead them to overlook the merits of mares and fillies.

how to tell if a horse has pica, pica in horses, stopping my horse from wood chewing, horse eating mud, horse eating dirt, horse eating tree bark, healthy diet horse

Pica is the desire to eat unusual substances that possess little or no nutritional value, such as dirt, wood, hair, and feces. This phenomenon has been observed in horses of all ages, breeds, and sexes.

how horses see colour, changes to horse jump racing hurdles and fences, Equine Vision Research, human sight vs horse sight

The colours deployed on hurdles and fences on British racecourses may be set to change following research led by the University of Exeter into the way that horses perceive colour. The research, commissioned in 2017 by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) and Racing Foundation, was undertaken by Dr. Sarah Paul and Professor Martin Stevens of the University of Exeter with the aim of improving obstacle visibility for horses, thus reducing the risk of falls and injuries for horses and jockeys.

horser discipline tactics, understanding horse behaviour, understanding different horse temperaments, disciplining your horse

I wrote about how many horses are developing different behaviour patterns because of the affection and lack of effective discipline they receive. I have been pleasantly surprised at the number of people I’ve heard from who recognize that their horse fits into this scenario. Recognizing the problem is the first step in resolving it.

horser discipline tactics, understanding horse behaviour, understanding different horse temperaments, disciplining your horse

As a trainer and clinician I am fortunate to work with a wide variety and a large number of horses. As a result, I see different patterns of equine behaviour emerge.

jonathan field natural horsemanship horse tarp training natural horsemanship equine tarp training

Helping a Worried Horse - I do a wide variety of exercises with my horses to help them become calmer and braver in various situations. My goal is to have them trust what I ask of them, and be okay with it because I am asking. In other words, for me it’s not about the tarp but about Geo’s trust in me to put the tarp on his body. If he trusts me at the heart of it, then tarps, garbage cans, or stumps on a trail won’t bother him.

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