Editor's Postcard

Is Your Horse Happy?

Is Your Horse Happy?
Catherine Madera

Wellness is a Mind/Body Connection

by Catherine Madera

 

A happy Cowboy. Photo credit Catherine Madera

Is your horse happy? A hundred years ago no cowboy, or girl, would waste time pondering this question. Today, most horse owners I know are concerned about the mental state of their horse, specifically if it is “happy.” What does this mean and should we be concerned about it? While people disagree on the range and importance of equine emotions, it is pretty easy to discern if a horse seems happy. True wellness, for humans and horses equals health in both mind and body.

When our horse, Cowboy, injured his hock a year and a half ago he needed stall rest—a lot of stall rest. I was shocked to watch the changes in this normally stoic, easy going gelding that had “been there and done that” and taken several beginners on their first horseback ride. He developed stall vices including cribbing, pawing and, my “favorite,” banging the front of his stall incessantly whether it was feeding time or not. In addition he became pushy and subtly anxious. It was pretty easy to detect his unhappiness, all due to a simple change in husbandry. Though we added a tiny run to the 12×12 enclosure, he wasn’t himself until he returned to full pasture turn out. Interestingly, my more complicated and spirited Arabian stallion takes stall confinement (when it’s necessary) pretty much in stride. Horses are individual in their reactions to environment and training. The responsible owner will, within reason, give a horse what it needs for both mental and physical wellness. A happy horse is a pleasure to own and handle. 

This month our annual wellness issue contains lots of great information to help you solve the sometimes complicated equation of equine health. Be sure to check out the cover story on SciencePure nutraceuticals on page 6 for information on building a healthier horse from the inside out. Email me at: editor@nwhorsesource.com.

May your horses be happy!

 

Published October 2012 Issue

Click to add a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Editor's Postcard
Catherine Madera

Catherine Madera attended Walla Walla University in Eastern Washington where she majored in communications/journalism. After winning a national competition for Guideposts Magazine in 2004, Catherine concentrated on non-fiction inspirational stories. Since then, she has published numerous personal and ghosted stories for Guideposts and their affiliate publications. Catherine has published in many regional and national magazines/newspapers and her work is included in several anthologies. She specializes in equine-related topics and profiles and serves as editor of The Northwest Horse Source. In 2010 Catherine’s non-fiction story, A Hero’s Work, received the Merial Human-Animal Bond award given by American Horse Publications. She has also authored three works of fiction and provides editing/writing assistance through Word Horse Writing Services.

More in Editor's Postcard