03 September 2008

Carrots and Horse Behaviour

Over the years I have advised many clients who feed their horse carrots to try an experiment and stop feeding carrots for a week to see if there was any change in their behaviour.

On average 9 out of 10 horse owners would report back that they had indeed noted a change in their horse. Sometimes it would be a small change and with others it would show a definite improvement in their behaviour. An experience from a few years back highlights the above.

An owner came to see me saying his horse would nap dangerously if they ever hacked a route they had done before; he couldn’t even hack out of the yard. He would have to transport the horse to a totally new destination in order to ride. I was fully booked for the next two weeks and made an arrangement for a visit sometime after. During our conversation I asked what he was feeding the horse and he mentioned carrots to which I suggested he cut out the carrots for a week. I made no other recommendation as I felt I would need to witness the horse’s behaviour. Four days later I received I phone call cancelling our appointment as he could now hack out of the yard.

So, if you have a problem horse or he/she shows a certain behaviour pattern, try cutting out the carrots. It’s free, does no harm and you never know - it could well make a difference to you and your horse.


Anonymous said...

I have had experience with carrots not only affecting a horses behaviour, but also making my horse sweat heavily after even limited exersize. Once the carrots stopped, he did not sweat up and seemed a lot more comfortable.

Sarah said...

Has it been discovered why carrots affect some horses this way do you know?

Steve. said...

Not yet Sarah, I'm still hoping some scientific type bod will look into it and let me know.