While aggression is a normal part of horse behavior, horses are not an overly aggressive species by nature. The most dangerous horses are those that show aggression towards people. Human-aggressive horses are rare, but the problem can get serious.
Causes of Aggression
Horses are generally not inclined to fight when they are startled. Their first instinct is to run away from danger. If a horse feels that there is no way out or is trapped, it will show aggression by kicking, showing teeth, or charging. They are acting out in fear of being hurt or killed.
A more common cause of aggression is a simple lack of boundaries. Many horses will offer to kick, strike, or bite because they know that’s how they can get their way. They can sometimes view humans as submissive herd mates and don’t realize how strong they are compared to us.
Some horses’ playfulness can be mistaken as a sign of aggression. Anyone who has watched colts playing in a field will know that horses play-fight roughly, and what the horse thinks is a fun sparring match can be a deadly experience for a human.
How to Deal with the Aggression
Help Your Horse Relax: Fear-based aggressive horses can benefit from a calming supplement. There are some over-the-counter products you can give your horse to relax when they are scared or nervous, like a cool paste supplement or a pellet style supplement. Most of these products will not radically change horse behavior, but they can be used to settle a horse down when an aggressive episode arises.
Set Boundaries: Dominant aggressive horses need to learn that they’re safe with you as their leader. The easiest way to do this while working on the ground is to use a pressure halter, which applies a little more pressure than an ordinary halter but releases quickly to reward the horse for good behavior.
Bond with Your Horse: A horse that gets scared easily needs to be reassured that you will never hurt them. Taking the time to bond with your horse when you are in a good and calm mood can make all the difference in their behavior.
The best place to bond and spend quality time with your horse is in a portable horse run-in shed. This type of shed allows you to brush and work on aggression coping tactics with your horse in a private setting away from distractions. A 12’ run-in horse shed gives you and your horse enough space to make quality behavioral progress.
At Deer Creek Structures, we can construct and customize a perfect horse shed that will fit you and your animal’s needs. Call (254)546-2276 to give your horse a space where it can feel safe and secure to work on improving its aggressive behavior.