Why Is My Horse Moody?

Does it sometimes seem like your horse is having a bad day? Here are the possible reasons behind equine mood swings.
Share
Favorite
Close

No account yet? Register

ADVERTISEMENT

Moody Horses
Factors such as medical conditions, anxiety, stress, hormonal changes, and disrupted sleep can affect a horse's mood swings. | Photo: Erica Larson/The Horse

Q: My gelding, whom I bred and raised, has always seemed moody, especially compared to my other horses. I swear he came out of the womb with his ears pinned! One day he’s happy and ready to work or eager for attention, the next he’s sour and grinding his teeth. Some days he’s anxious, and some days he’s calm. There’s no rhyme or reason to it. I know some people feel mares are moody, as well. Is there any research about horse moods and how they influence training?

—Nicole, via e-mail

A: Emotions have a powerful influence on how an individual behaves and views the world.¹   The negative emotions that go along with mood swings can lead to pessimistic thinking and impact quality of life. Exactly what causes moodiness isn’t well understood. Various aspects of a horse’s environment and biology affect its emotional state, and a few of these are presented below

Create a free account with TheHorse.com to view this content.

TheHorse.com is home to thousands of free articles about horse health care. In order to access some of our exclusive free content, you must be signed into TheHorse.com.

Start your free account today!

Already have an account?
and continue reading.

Share
Favorite
Close

No account yet? Register

Written by:

Sue M. McDonnell, PhD, is a certified applied animal behaviorist and the founding head of the equine behavior program at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine. She is also the author of numerous books and articles about horse behavior and management.

Leave a Reply

Related Articles

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with

FREE weekly newsletters from TheHorse.com

Sponsored Content

Weekly Poll

sponsored by:

Do you use slow feeders or slow feed haynets for your horse? Tell us why or why not.
341 votes · 341 answers

Readers’ Most Popular

Sign In

Don’t have an account? Register for a FREE account here.

Need to update your account?

You need to be logged in to fill out this form

Create a free account with TheHorse.com!