How to Recognize and Understand Your Horse’s Behavior

It is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the signs of a healthy horse as this makes it easier to identify signs of pain or infection in their early stages. To keep a horse healthy, it is vital to know how it looks, feels and behaves normally, so spend time watching and just being around your horse to help you understand and recognize its usual behavior.


Horses are naturally very bright and alert. They are curious animals and show a great interest in their surroundings.

Ears and eyes

Ears should always have great mobility and prick quickly toward any new sights or sounds. The eyes should be clear, bright and free of any discharge. The same applies to the nostrils, although a small amount of clear fluid is acceptable.

Understand  Horse’s Behavior

Coat and condition

The coat ought to be clean and have a good shine with healthy, supple skin underneath. During the warm summer months the coat will lie completely flat, but during the winter it will naturally stand out—a mechanism for trapping air between the hairs for extra warmth. A horse in good condition should have an adequate covering of fat over all its body but not to an excessive level. The best indicator of this is to be able to see just the outline of the ribs without being able to feel them easily.


Most horses enjoy their food and display a good appetite. Droppings should be passed regularly, be brownish in color, and break easily upon hitting the ground.

Body processes

The breathing rate of a resting horse is barely noticeable at 8-16 breaths per minute. When at rest, the heart rate/pulse should be at its slowest, with a normal range of 32-48 beats per minute. The body temperature is taken via the rectum and should remain constant at between 98.6-100.4°F (37-38°C). Any increase in these statistics is an indicator of poor health and must be closely monitored.

Good management

It is good practice and more cost-effective to maintain your horse’s health. A regular worming program, teeth care, vaccinations and hoof rasping are all necessary regardless of whether the horse is ridden or a retired companion.

Filed Under: Pets & Animals


About the Author: Fred Goodson has a passion for pets and animals. He has 4 dogs and is planning to have another one. He is also a blogger who writes about pets and animals. Currently, he is living in New Jersey.

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