Horse behaviour

Make sure your horse or pony is able to behave normally.

Things you should do

  • Horses must be given the opportunity to run freely in a paddock as frequently as possible and for as long as possible, in the company of other horses.
  • Take the time to learn how your horse learns so that you can train him humanely and effectively. Be careful to use training aids your horse understands and use them in a consistent manner.
  • Horses can be trained using positive, reward-based methods. Do not shout at or punish your horse as fear of punishment can cause a horse to become aggressive or develop behaviour problems.
  • Take time to learn how your horse normally behaves. If your horse starts exhibiting abnormal behaviour or its behaviour changes away from its normal behaviour, you should seek immediate advice from an equine specialist vet as they could be ill or suffering.
  • You should not use anti-cribbing collars, anti-weaving grilles or other devices that simply attempt to stop the performance of abnormal behaviour. Using these devices can cause further welfare problems. Instead, get advice to tackle causes such as stress isolation or boredom.

Find out more about the needs of horses and ponies: Environment, Diet, Company, Health and welfare.