How to Prevent Stress in Your Horse
It is essential for any horse owner to be able to tell when their horses are stressed or anxious. Horses are naturally social animals, and contact with other horses can usually help them to alleviate stress and anxiety. However, this isn’t always possible, especially if you only own one horse. If you race with horses, you might also find yourself becoming stressed over a big event, which can transfer to your equines as they are sensitive to external stimuli.
Likewise, we humans can always de-stress by choosing to go to a spa, relax in nature, or play some online slots Australia, but horses don’t have as much control over their environments and actions. Here are 6 ways to spot and reduce stress in these beautiful animals to keep them happy wherever possible!
#1: Socialising and Solitude
As mentioned above, horses are social and introducing them to other horses can help them to combat stress. However, if they have been raised alone, they might become stressed when they are introduced to others of the same species as well.
The best way to go about socialising your horse is taking him to a livery yard where he can participate with other equines as and when he chooses. Ensure that he has enough room to join social interactions if he wants to, but also has enough space to avoid it.
#2: Room to Roam
Like many other large animals, horses need enough space to roam or else they become stressed and frustrated. Horses would naturally roam the countryside and graze for up to 14 hours a day in the wild, so try to give your animal as much roaming space as possible.
If you can’t achieve this, try your best to replicate a natural environment through what you feed your horses. Stick to natural fruits, vegetables and feeds, and remember to let them get ample exercise however they can!
#3: Encourage Them to Forage
Horses are very intelligent beings, and they need mental stimulation just like we do. If your horse has to spend a lot of time in a stable, it’s up to you to keep his mind engaged with toys, puzzles, or food foraging games.
You can even use hay nets with small holes in them to help your horse work for his hay, which can be much more stimulating than just feeding it to him directly! Treats can also be offered to horses that successfully solve puzzles or find hidden objects to encourage them to play more.
#4: Recognize Likes and Dislikes
Just like people, horses have naturally ingrained likes and dislikes. It is essential to pick up on these traits if you want to keep your horse happy, content and de-stressed. Some horses like a busy environment with lots of stimulation and others prefer silence and solitude for most of the time.
Pay attention to what makes your equine react positively and give him more of that to keep him satisfied. There are enough stresses for racehorses to endure already, so try to keep your animal’s environment to his liking so that you don’t overburden him!
#5: Give Control Back to Your Horse
Domesticated horses have little to no control over their own environments, so it’s up to their owners to provide that control. Some simple adjustments will allow your horse to make decisions and give him enough control to prevent him from getting stressed.
A great example would be to create two or three feeding stations around his stable instead of just one. This gives him the power to choose where he wants to eat and also provides more stimulation than only a single feeding station.