Are you a horse trainer bothered by aggressive behavior in some of your horses? Do your horses ever run over you and barge into you? It might be due to fear, hormonal disorders, physical or mental illnesses.
If your horse is behaving badly, it can be due to a number of different reasons. Your horse can become aggressive if it feels threatened, scared, sick, or if it’s suffering from hormonal or psychological disorders. But a vast amount of aggressive behavior is a reaction to your own behaviors. We will focus on some of the factors that lead to aggressive behaviors in horses, and some solutions.
What Are The Causes of Aggressive Behavior in Horses?
When you have a horse acting aggressively and dangerously, there can be a number of physical or psychological factors behind it. Just like us humans, horses can react to physical or psychological stress. Bad behavior can also be due to hormonal imbalances and defects of the brain and nervous system. Some horses tend to behave aggressively more than others because of a faulty gene pool or faulty hormone-producing tissue.
Genetic flaws can make some horses nearly impossible to manage, especially if you are trying to train certain types of stallions that are aggressive by nature. Also, some mares are fiercely protective of their offspring.
Understanding the nature of your horse and behaviors will help you to manage and train your horses a lot more effectively.
How Humans induce aggressive behavior in horses
A lot of horses become rebellious in the beginning of a relationship with their owners and it depends entirely on how you treat them, how easy they will be to work with. Mistreatment of horses and lack of handling skills or bad training can result in aggressive behavior in horses.
Horses are herd animals with innate fight or flight behavior. Abused animals often become aggressive because of their natural defense mechanism. Many horses cope with fear and stress by behaving aggressively in desperation. If a wild horse is not accustomed to human handling, it could become desperate and show dangerous behaviors due to extreme fear.
Finally, a horse may try to show aggressive behavior if it wants to avoid a painful situation or get out of physical stress like work, just like children. Also similar to children, they will try to repeat an inappropriate behavior if it has a rewarding outcome.
Training the rebellious horse
Unless your horse is suffering from a physical or genetic disorder, in most cases, it’s possible to tame most wild horses with patience. The pace of your training depends on the comfort level of both you and your horse.
Professional horse trainers rely on calmness and patience. Your horse should be calmer at the end of training than at the beginning.
The first thing you should do is determine whether or not your horse is physically sound and basic needs are well taken care of.
For example, if your horse is sick or hungry, it will not be interested in training. You should also consult a vet and get a thorough physical examination done. If you find a medical problem, that might be the cause of the aggressive behavior.
If you have ruled out any physical problems and your horse is still rebellious, try to figure out psychological or stress factors. Was your horse startled or scared? Was it over-worked and needs rest? Stress is also caused when transporting horses or when changing owners. Also consider, are you trying to train your horse too fast? Was the animal a victim of abuse in the past?
Understanding the nature of a training problem will help you solve it quickly and safely. Also, access your own capabilities and patience. Gain more knowledge as well as physical capabilities for solving the problem, seek help from other trainers around you, and study more about horse training.
We’ll be back with more tips on horse training in our future articles. In the meantime, make sure that you and your horse stay healthy and safe.
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