EQ Lesson 1- Equine Behavior

Large animals have very specific behaviors that, if noticed, might help you decide how to approach and handle them. Large animals are more likely to try and run away when posed with a threat so be aware of your surroundings. You need to look at the environment from the p perspective of the animal. How would they try to “get out” of this situation? Often they cause further harm to themselves through their reactions, so management of the situation is key. Of course, once you become accustomed to recognizing the fight or flight behaviors and subsequent body language, you will be more competent to handle a tense and potentially dangerous situation.

Horse behavior is best understood from the view that horses are prey animals with a well-developed fight-or-flight response. Their first reaction to a threat is often to flee, although sometimes, when flight is untenable they will stand their ground and defend themselves or their offspring, such as when a foal would be threatened.

Because of their physiology, horses are also suited to a number of work and entertainment-related tasks. Humans domesticated horses thousands of years ago, and they have been used by humans ever since. Through selective breeding, some breeds of horses have been bred to be quite docile, particularly certain large draft horses. On the other hand, most light horse riding breeds were developed for speed, agility, alertness, and endurance; building on natural qualities that extended from their wild ancestors. Horses’ instincts can be used to human advantage to create a bond between human and horse.

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