Nervous Horse Behavior : Why, How, What To Do

There are several reasons why a horse might act nervous, and there are ways you can deal with it. Let’s see how. 

Horses can be nervous if they are in a new environment or are in physical discomfort. In such cases, you can calm them down by either rubbing their backs or interacting with them. In addition, you can consult a vet or horse expert who can guide you in their behavioral patterns. 

Remember, the end goal is to make your horse comfortable. Let’s look at some frequently asked questions about a nervous horse’s behavior. 

Image Credit: Mare and foal by Pixabay

Why is my horse so nervous?

Horses are generally social creatures. But, sometimes, they may go through periods of nervousness. Let’s find out why. 

Horses can be nervous owing to a bad experience or an accident. If they are hurt, they might become increasingly anxious. Similarly, if they are separated from their herd, they may suffer from separation anxiety. 

There’s no fixed reason why a horse acts nervous, but it is essential to employ certain tricks to calm them down. 

What do horses do when they’re nervous?

Horses are pretty impulsive and may react in different ways. Let’s see what they do when they’re nervous. 

Horses usually retreat when they’re nervous and look for ways to run away from the situation. They either back into a corner or might become very aggressive. In addition, some start shaking or tremble, and some others bolt when they’re being ridden. 

When your horse is nervous, it is best to look for ways to calm them down and give them some space. 

How do you tell if a horse is stressed?

Image Credit: Quiet Horse Portrait by Pixabay

There are several ways of telling that a horse is under stress. Allow us to tell you more about it. 

Some common signs of a horse being stressed are:

  • Sudden weight loss.
  • Behavioral changes in the horse.
  • Excessive teeth grinding.
  • Increased heart rate of the horse.
  • Withdrawal of the horse from any social interaction.
  • The horse blinks very little.
  • Excessive yawning of the horse and rolling of the eyes.

It is essential to keep a close watch on your horse and detect these signs to ensure their utmost well-being. 

Why has my horse’s behavior changed?

If you have noticed a sudden change in your horse’s behavior, there can be several reasons for it. Let’s find out more about it. 

Often, a horse’s behavior changes due to the following reasons:

  • It is experiencing some physical discomfort.
  • The horse has undergone a recent bad experience. 
  • There’s a change in its living arrangements. 
  • Presence of new handlers.
  • Hormonal changes. 
  • The weather is really warm. 
  • A change in the horse’s diet.
  • The horse is overburdened with work. 
  • The horse feels unsafe or threatened. 

Once you get to know the exact reason for a change in the horse’s behavior, it will be easy to deal with it. 

What makes a horse hyper?

There can be multiple reasons why your horse is hyper. Let’s look at some of the reasons why. 

Your horse can become hyper if it is being overfed or loaded with more work than it is capable of handling. Overfeeding calories can lead to a temporary increase in their glucose levels and make them act hyper. Similarly, the excessive workload can make them highly hyper. 

It is essential to feed a balanced diet to your horse and not overload them with work to ensure they remain calm. 

How do you calm a horse?

Image Credit: “Horse and Flag” by Mitch Loeber is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Calming a horse requires a proper understanding of its behavior. Allow us to tell you more about it. 

To calm the horse, follow these tips:

  • Speak to the horse in a low voice.
  • Carefully observe its movements. 
  • Give the horse space to move around. 
  • Rub the horse’s back gently and pet it.
  • Ensure that the horse is not threatened by you.
  • Don’t be aggressive or loud.
  • Don’t overburden your horse with work.  
  • Loosen the horse’s rein. 

Calming a horse is no rocket science. You just need to give it some space and reiterate the fact that you pose no threat to it through your actions. 

How do you calm a spooky horse?

There can be various reasons why your horse might appear spooked. Let’s check out how you can calm a spooky horse.

To calm a spooky horse, you should stay calm as horses can easily read emotions. In addition, you should gently rub the horse’s back and pet its mane as it helps in calming its muscles and gives them a sense of ease and security. Also, do not tighten the horse’s rein more than necessary. 

These simple steps can be pretty reassuring for your horse and calm them, thus ensuring they cooperate with you and do not get aggressive. 

Catching a nervous horse

Image Credit: Horse and owner by Pixabay

Catching a nervous horse is pretty challenging. Let’s see how you can go about it.

To catch a nervous horse, you should approach it with feed, like carrots, and the horse will come running to you. Often, people try to chase a scared horse, but that makes them more aggressive. Do not mishandle the horse but stand in the same spot with the feed and gently pet the animal. 

Once you learn how to handle a nervous horse, it becomes easier to catch them and deal with them. 


As a horse owner, it is essential to understand the things that make them nervous and avoid it at all costs. 

Creating a congenial environment for your horse that makes them feel calm is essential if you want them to stay active and work to their full potential. Do not overburden your horse or push it to do something that clearly makes it uncomfortable. 

Once you learn the things that increase your horse’s anxiety, it’ll be much easier to work with them and allow them to function properly. Remember, horses are sociable creatures and make excellent pets, if treated right. 


I am Vandana, A budding lawyer and an animal lover. I spend my spare time with my pets and also love to research different animal behaviors. My constant learning attitude keeps me exploring new understandings of Animals and my penchant for writing keeps me encouraged to do so. Apart from writing, I also like listening to soulful music, reading books, and being around animals.

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