Horse Stress – 6 Steps to Decrease the Anxiety

Stress in horses can cause numerous health problems. However, these problems can be spotted easily and be controlled. When a horse is stressed, their body releases a chemical called Cortisol. Coritsol gives the animal the “fight or flight” feeling which is good when predators scare it. However, constant stress exposure will release the Coritsol too often. When this is occurs, the horse’s immunity, behavior, digestion, reproduction and cardiovascular system is harmed. The horse may get colic, ulcers and diarrhea caused by the stress.

It would seem that horses would have nothing to stress over, right? They don’t have to worry with jobs, bumper-to-bumper traffic and deadlines. What are the stressors that affect a horse so badly?

When a horse is on a routine, a slight change can cause that chemical imbalance. What sort of changes can make this happen? They can be:

Different horses in the pasture.

Listed below are six common stressors that affect horses as well as tips to get past them.

Stressor – Wrong Feed

When a horse is in the wild, it moves about to eat. Nearly 70 percent of a horse’s time is spent on grazing. Should your horse not be in the pasture, feeding them four times a day can help out. Also, some feeds have quick release carbohydrates. That is not good for horses. Try another feed product.

Stressor – Not Enough or No Exercise

A horse is like a person in the sense that exercising can help in dealing with the stress. Make sure your horse can take a run or walk.

Stressor – Feeling Alone

Horses like to be with other horses because it gives them a sense of safety, emotional support, status and amusement. When horses have no other animals nearby, then it can get lonesome, leading them to feel stressed. A horse doesn’t just need another horse to feel happier. It can be any animal such as llamas, goats, sheep and donkeys. The important thing is to let the horse see these animals so they know they are not alone.

Stressor – Bored

Being bored can cause stress in horses. If this seems to be a culprit, get the horse some toys. Although it seems funny to do so, put a mirror in the stable. When horses are able to see themselves, it helps to relieve the stress they feel.

Stressor – No Confidence

Horses are also like people in that they are curious creatures. Instill confidence in the horse so you can expose it to new things in the environment. However, never force a horse to do anything it isn’t ready to do.

Stressor – Stress is Infectious

It can be difficult to stay calm when your horse is stressed. However, animals can sense stress on people. Make sure you stay in a calm manner when you speak to the horse.

It’s vital for a horse’s health to stay as stress free as possible. Most of these tips involve just the understanding of a horse and its needs. Make sure, as a horse owner, that you respect the instincts your horse has. When you do this your horse is likely to flourish.
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