If your horse has become too hectic or, in contrast, too lethargic, there are usually common causes for this. Read on for a guide on what causes your horse to behave in these ways and how you can adapt your care to calm or energize them accordingly:
The first thing to do is to take a look at your horse’s circumstances. How your horse lives and works plays an important factor in their behavior.
Is your horse getting enough roughage in their diet? If not they could become restless or get stomach ulcers. Stomach ulcers can cause a horse to start acting oddly with crib biting or wind sucking.
Is your horse comfortable with its neighbors? Again a horse can become restless if it is not comfortable with neighboring horses. They can become aggressive at feeds and display frustration by kicking walls. Not getting along with nearby horses can be a reason for lethargy too.
Is your horse spending too long in it stable? If your horse is spending more than 20 hours in its stable, it could be getting bored. Stereotypical behavior for horse boredom is box walking, being over energetic at the start of exercising and galloping out of its box.
Does your horse socialize? If your horse isn’t making enough contact with other ponies it may become lethargic due to lack of interaction.
Is your horse too slow despite good physical condition and diet? If this is the case, always take a full overall health check including: temperature, heartbeat, breathing, blood analysis and teeth condition. Over training can cause your horse to ‘burnout’.
When your horse is behaving very hectically, adjusting the feed is one of the first things to try. When horses are worrying about unusual circumstances such as other new neighboring horses, new territory, traveling or competitions – they can become difficult to handle. It’s important to know that hard feeds (rich in oils) will have a calming effect on your horse at these times. These sort of feeds will give your horse energy, but not too much. You can look out for oil rich equestrian supplements that will calm down your horse but if entering a competition be aware of the doping rules.
If your horse is behaving too sluggishly and you have already visited their circumstances with no avail, consider that overweight horses can be very calm and lethargic. Could this be the case?
Sometimes horses are just like humans and when they’ve been working too hard they need a break to recharge their batteries. Again equestrian supplements may be beneficial to give them the extra energy they need, but simply adding more oats to a feed is a well-known way to give a horse an immediate boost. Although some argue that the fast releasing energy of oats can raise hormones of your horse and cause over-energetic behavior instead. The balance of calcium/phosphorous is not great in oats either; always feed oats with care and don’t overdo it.
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