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Signs Of A Happy And Healthy Horse

Horse lovers, everywhere, should know the signs of a happy and healthy horse. Whether you own, train, ride, show, or anything and everything in between, you should be able to look at and spend time with a horse and say “that horse is doing well” or “that horse is doing poorly”. Some of the signs are obvious, others are harder to observe consistently, but all are important to know. This list is pretty similar across the board for most horses, although every situation is differen. It can be broken down into a few categories:

Appearance:

- Bright eyes

- Shiny coat

- Strong mane and tail

- Solid, strong feet

- Good weight (not too thin, not too fat!)

- No lameness or stiffness
 

Habits:

- Eating well

- Drinking water regularly

- Good manure

- Playful or relatively active during turnout 

- Going well under saddle (if applicable)
 

Attitude:

- Generally pleasant demeanor towards humans and other horses

- Happy to see you

- Not causing trouble (breaking fence boards, stall manners, etc.)

- Overall good manners (no aggression)
 

Working with your trainer, vet, farrier, and barn staff is an important part of ensuring that your horse is as healthy and happy as possible. Also, keep in mind that every horse will be different when it comes to things like habits and attitude, and older horses or horses with various health conditions may be different in appearance from horses that are younger. And of course previous injuries factor into the appearance category as well. Training can be a big part of helping your horse be happy, as horses are generally happier when they have set boundaries. Routine will also make a big difference in a horse’s attitude and habits. Health and happiness go hand in hand, especially when it comes to horses, and knowing these signs will help you determine how well your horse, and other horses, are doing. 

Emily Liebman
Horse Trainer/Instructor
Published on 2020-02-10