Ways to Handle Aggressive Horse Behaviour

Aggressive Equine - image of a grey horse for illustration

Discover ways to handle aggressive horse behaviour in this article that wraps up 5 top pieces of advice. 

Even as equines share great bonding with humans, you cannot be too sure about animal behaviour. The calmest of horses can become aggressive when you are least prepared. The sheer size and strength of these animals make them dangerous when out of control. It makes sense to have a plan for dealing with horse aggression, whether the animal is calm or dominant by temperament. It can help you manage the situation better and save yourself from injuries. Here are some easy ways to handle an aggressive equine.

Understand the cause of aggression

Some equines are dominant by temperament, but most animals show aggression due to a reason. As an owner or trainer, you must understand the triggers leading to this behaviour. It may be a reaction to fear or pain, or the animal may simply be mischievous. At times, the horse may be sick or uncomfortable. Knowing the cause will help you deal with the situation better.

The best advice here is to connect with your vet, physio, chiropractor, saddler and dentist. All areas of the horse should be checked over and potential problems ruled out. Remember, horses are prey animals so it is not in their nature to become aggressive for no reason.

Help the horse to relax

Once you know the trigger, devise a plan to help the animal relax and start working on rectifying the behaviour. Soothing words and physical contact go a long way in calming it down, however, remain mindful of any risks. If a health condition or pain is the underlying cause, a vet can prescribe treatment. Follow it, and you will notice a change for the better sooner rather than later. You may even ask the vet for a calming supplement that is safe and effective.


Routine can offer a horse comfort, as simple as visiting once a day at the same time can offer some form of relaxation to the horse.

Seek professional help

It makes sense to seek professional help if the problem is difficult to resolve. A dangerous horse can easily become a threat to people around. The last thing you should do is try to handle it on your own. Experts recommend getting a professional trainer to understand and control the animal. You can trust them to work on the animal’s behaviour so that you can handle it yourself eventually. They will also have some helpful horse training tips you can follow later in life. It is vital to recognize danger signs and get help before things get out of control.

Set some boundaries

Aggressive horses need to accept and respect their owner or trainer. You must set boundaries through the training phase to make the animal comfortable with the idea of obedience. Being gentle yet firm will enable you to teach discipline to the horse. Make sure it follows orders and becomes used to the routine. Maintaining a regular feeding and exercise schedule is also a part of setting boundaries and inculcating discipline.

Bonding is important

Whatever the reason for equine aggression is, bonding with the animal can make life easier. Spend quality time to strengthen your bond and build trust. An empathic approach convinces the horse that you will never hurt it. Provide constant good experiences to the animal and ensure that it never feels threatened in your company. As an owner, you must be patient and calm to pass positive vibes to the animal.

Dealing with aggression is something every horse owner should be ready for. A sudden tantrum may take you by surprise, but good preparation makes things safer and easier to manage.


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