Why Does My Horse Yawn During Bridling?
Q: Right before I put my horse’s bridle on, he always starts yawning. He just had his annual dental exam last month, so his teeth are fine. What could be causing this? Is he in pain, or is he just being a pain? What can I do to resolve the behavior? —via email

A: Horses often yawn when they are drowsy, hungry, or stressed. Pain is one source of stress, but anything that increases arousal—including physical discomfort, fear, excitement, or mental challenge—can induce yawning. Physiologically, yawning is a response linked to increased cortisol levels, elevated body temperature (called the “brain cooling” theory of yawning), or gastrointestinal discomfort.

Yawning is an involuntary

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