08 February 2009

Bad horse behaviour or Pain????

More and more I'm being asked to deal with a horse's 'naughty behaviour' when in fact a good vet would be better qualified to help in the first stage.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - a horse is a horse - they do not think or behave like us humans. Generally they want a peaceful and easy life and will put up with our ways in order to get it. They don't wake up one day and think . . . .
'I think I'll start to buck just to see if she's a good rider'.

So when a horse or pony "suddenly starts to rear/buck/kick/bite/spook/barge for no reason", please take a little time and try to work out why. Nine times out ten you will probably find it is pain related. It could be his teeth, tack, shoes, diet, any number of muscles, ligaments, tendons, infections etc etc. They have no other way of communicating to us other than by being out of character.

If we think of any and all the ailments we humans can get - why can't a horse get the same. If we trip over something don't we pull a muscle or bruise or slip a disc or fracture a bone or strain a tendon? Sometimes it takes days or weeks for us to be effected by an accident and it's the same for them.

If a horse suddenly starts to demonstrate unwanted behaviour there is probably a very good reason for it. It is in our duty of care to eliminate pain or discomfort long before we consider rectifying behaviour.

Remember - bad behaviour in a horse is a symptom.

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