Thursday, November 11, 2010

Why Would Horses Kill Their Own?

My cousins horses are all geldings and have been together for around 4yrs in the same pasture. I happen to witness the 4yr old and 12 yr old beating up the 20yr old. One would grab his neck while the other kick him. BY time I ran to get my cousin to help they had fractured the shoulder of the horse and he had to be put down. It was the worst thing I have seen. The horse they killed was a wonderful horse. I have horses of my own for many years and have never seen this kind of aggression. What would cause this?

Cheryl, I will confess that I am not sure about the answer to this.....I am doing some research into the question to give you a better reply. One person I asked expressed disbelief about the whole incident, but at a barn where I teach the same type of thing happened though I did not witness it.

There was an aged horse in the pasture-they had been turned out for a while together, and suddenly one of the younger geldings attacked this horse so brutally that the horse had to be euthanized.

The only answer that the owners came up with sounds implausible to me, but it was that horses can sense when a horse is nearing its own death, by age or a condition that we may not even yet know about. For some reason this results in them attacking the old or ill horse. This certainly sounds “unhorse-like", but these guys definitely had enough apace and room, etc.

I will continue to research this, and if you find out anything, please email me at

Thank you.

Mitzi summers

Monday, November 8, 2010


I have a mare that I have not ridden outside of the pen because every time I take her out she acts up. The other day she reared up on me and then bucked and trough me off. She makes me nervous because I don’t know what she will do next. How can I stop her bad behavior when I’m on her?

You need to do quite a bit of ground work with your mare before you ride her again. She is simply not ready, even if you have ridden her a bit.

I really need much more information from you before I give you more definite answers. How old is she? How long have you owned her? What experiences has she had before you? Is she in any physical pain? Horses have reasons for everything that they do. She at least needs to learn to be lunged correctly. If you are not familiar with correct lunging techniques you need to learn them. It is really a skill and an art. It is designed not to tire the horse. but to teach the horse a basic discipline in all three gaits, to learn what your body language and voice mean, and to lower the animal's energy...NOT by chasing it around and making it tired, but by establishing "submission" in a good sense.

Then once lunging is easy and almost boring to her, you will have an experienced ground person lunge you on the mare. Then she has two people telling her the same thing. You need to go back several steps. In the end, it will save you time and trouble and you need to be safe and fair to the horse.

I could give you more definite,

Mitzi Summers