Horse Behavior at Foaling Time

Behavioral traits associated with parturition (the birth process) are deeply rooted in the evolutionary development of horses. A basic assumption is that horses have evolved behavioral strategies that ensure their survival. During the birth process, both the dam and her offspring are in a weakened state and are susceptible to attack by predators. The mare takes steps to increase their safety during parturition. In general, these steps include locating a safe site for foaling, quickening the process, minimizing evidence of …

Horse Breeding Behavior

It is important that horse owners and breeders understand and recognize the basics of equine reproductive behavior for management purposes. This article discusses the main behaviors associated with horse breeding.
An understanding of the basics of reproductive behavior is important. This understanding can lead to management applications that can improve reproductive success. It is important to recognize the behaviors associated with a mare in heat, a mare that is receptive to a stallion, mating, signs of foaling, normal behavior after

Management Tips Related to Horse Behavior

Horses in Stalls

Horse owners who have a sound understanding of horse behavior can use their knowledge to help prevent behavioral problems. Listed below are a few management tips related to horse behavior.

  1. Design horse housing so that horses can see other horses.
  2. Feeding horses individually will reduce aggression and allow slow eaters to get their full ration.
  3. Whenever possible, the main portion of the horse’s diet should be made up of forages to reduce digestive and behavioral problems.
  4. Feed stalled horses small

Selecting A Saddle

Not every saddle fits every horse, just as one size or shape of boot does not fit every human. Saddle selection depends on discipline, type of horse and the needs of the rider. The following article discusses the different types of saddles, how to properly fit a saddle to a horse and general use of a saddle.

Melvin Bradley and Wayne Loch, Department of Animal Sciences

Revised by Elaine Long Bailey, University of Maryland Extension 4-H Youth Development Educator

A …

Safe Ground Handling

No matter what age, type or breed of horse you work with, safe ground handling is important. Odds are likely that if you cannot control a horse on the ground, you will have even less control in the saddle. It is important to remain careful in safety procedures, even around older, familiar horses, because the unexpected can always happen. The following article discusses basic horse behavior, general precautions, and how to safely approach, lead and tie a horse.

Wayne Loch,

Saddle Fit for Horse and Rider

A properly fitting saddle is an essential part of having a good ride. An ill fitting saddle may cause a lack of performance or even physical injury to the horse. Fitting the saddle to your horse is an important skill that must be learned. This article discusses how to fit a saddle to a horse and the possible outcomes of a poorly fitting saddle.


Comfort for the Horse

A saddle sitting nicely on the horse’s back.

A properly fitting saddle …

HorseQuest Learning Lesson: Effective Horse Training and Rider Development

Reining horse

A horseman must understand the basic nature of the horse and the training principles involved in a progressive teaching system that develops the various maneuvers and activities desired from the horse. Training lessons need to be simplified as much as possible so the horse can quickly develop appropriate responses. In this learning lesson, efforts will be made to explain and simplify the process of communicating with the horse in a straightforward manner.

This learning module provides several methods …

Horse Fight vs Flight Instinct

Betsy Greene, Equine Extension Specialist, University of Vermont; and Pat Comerford, Equine Extension Specialist, Penn State University

Horse Flight Instinct

Horses prefer to flee from danger, if possible. This may be in the form of a total “run off” or the horse that simply does not want to be caught. However, if flight is not an option, horses will fight to protect themselves from a perceived danger.

Horses evolved from small mammals whose survival depended on their ability to flee from …

Basic Horsemanship Principles

Even the simplest of tasks performed around horses can take long periods of time for both the horse and handler to learn. Everyday tasks such as haltering, leading and tying are important, simple tasks that must be done correctly. The article below explains the proper steps involved in catching, haltering and leading a horse, as well as cues to use while working around horses.

Steven M. Jones, Extension Horse Specialist, University of Arkansas

Catching a horse safely and correctly is …

Saddling the Horse

There is more to the saddling process than throwing on a saddle and cinching the girth. Correct saddling and grooming prior to riding is key to having an enjoyable ride. The article below discusses the proper way to groom and saddle your horse.

Steven M. Jones, Extension Horse Specialist, University of Arkansas

An incorrectly saddled horse is like a person wearing poorly fitted boots. The same way our feet begin to hurt and develop sores, the horse’s back begins to …