Vet’s tips to help calm an anxious horse *H&H Plus*

Is your horse stressy and anxious? Simple management strategies should help him settle, explains Kieran O’Brien MRCVS

While many horses adapt well to the limitations of domestication, some find coping more difficult. These are generally thought of as stressy types. Such animals may show behavioural traits such as volatility, restlessness, poor trainability and stereotypies (stable “vices”), or veterinary problems such as stomach ulcers, all of which reflect their maladaptation.

Although skilled management can ameliorate many of these issues, there are individuals in every breed – especially thoroughbreds and Arabs – for whom special adaptations must be made to keep them sane and happy.

As well as those who are intrinsically hyper-reactive, horses who are otherwise more placid can become stressed and anxious when placed in certain environments – on box rest, for example, or when separated from favoured companions.