'Behavioural' Issues




Is my horse deliberately being ‘naughty’?
This is NEVER true.
Is it a people problem?
This is sometimes true and learning good horsemanship is an integral part of achieving calm, healthy horses.
Is the horse trying to tell you something?
Yes, this is always true and you need to take heed.


How bad is it for the unfortunate horse, who has genuine pain or who is simply ‘not right’ and therefore cannot perform, but whose owner thinks the horse ‘has attitude’ and therefore toughens up, tightens up the noseband, adds more forceful gadgets, digs in the spurs and stings with the whip under the false idea that you can’t ‘let them get away with it’.

How tragic when it turns out to be the very grass the horse is eating that is the root cause of all the issues.

Does the horse’s problem stem from the diet?

This is true in an astounding number of cases, yet it is a cause that is completely over-looked.

While I have categorised the problems here so you can easily go to the ones that concern you and your horse, in many cases they are very easily remedied by a simple change of diet.

This can be hard to believe with the ‘musculoskeletal’ problems for instance because they appear to be ‘physical’ problems when in actual fact they can be physiological problems.

Over the years there has proven to be a strong correlation between the pasture the horse is eating and the raft of health and behavioural problems many horses exhibit.

'There is no such thing as resistance - only the desperate need for communication'
Dr Deb Bennett PhD.

This video shows a classically 'Grass Affected' Horse.

Many people would mistake this for 'bad behaviour'.

What is it About the Grass?

Changes to the chemistry of the grass cause disturbances to the chemistry of the horse which directly and adversely affect their metabolism, causing them to become 'Grass Affected’

Some horses are only affected at certain times of the year, some chronically over years and some acutely with very sudden onset.

Sometimes normally amenable, quiet geldings become aggressive, when other horses become irrationally herd bound, others become nappy or spooky (when they were fine last week), others become belligerent, stubborn, resistant, then a person has to wonder why.

Why do horse owners frequently experience unexplained changes in their horse's temperament and personality?

If you are like me and know for sure that horse do NOT 'plot against us' and are definitely NOT 'dirty', 'nutty', 'mongrels', 'bitches', 'pigs', 'have got attitude' (the list goes on!), then there must be other reasons for this kind of behaviour.

When I started out as a Horsemanship Instructor in 1996 I was taught that 'horse' problems were really  ‘people’ problems.

I thought that if the person improved their horsemanship skills then the horse problems would go away. How wrong this proved to be!

The best course of action when horses are affected is to follow the CalmHealthyHorses diet recommendations and LEAVE THEM ALONE until they are back to normal.

Persisting with trying to 'work through' issues can inadvertently become a 'torture session'.

It is your responsibility to keep them out of trouble until they can think their way through situations again.

  • Avoid tying them up

  • Be very careful going through narrow spaces like gateways as they are liable to rush through

  • Confined spaces like horse floats can cause panic attacks so best not to travel them

  • Don't ride them as it is too risky!