Stress in Horses

We hear about the harmful effects of long-term stress in people.  We often hear of ways to reduce stress in our lives.  Stress management in people is a fairly common topic.

What about horses?  Do horses experience long-term stress like people do?  If so, what are the long-term effects on their body?

Wild horse researcher, Mary Ann Simonds, wrote a book about stress management in horses.  Unfortunately, it is only available in German.  She said the Germans were more receptive to the topic than the English speaking world.

Equine nutritionist, Juliet Getty, PhD, in her book, Equine Cushings Disease – Nutritional Management, writes about stress and its relationship to cushings.  The following excerpt is a fascinating look at stress inside the horse’s physical body:

Stress is a normal part of being alive, whether horse or human.  However, a long-term chronic stress state can cause damage to the physical body.

In my work of rehabbing old horses, I see the effects of long-term chronic stress when a horse first comes to me.  The good news is simple measures can be taken to reverse the downward spiral of diminishing health.  Given the right environment, nutrition, exercise and emotional/mental support, senior horses can thrive in their golden years.  What an inspiring process to witness.

My first horse the day I picked him up. 26 years old.
My first horse the day I picked him up. 26 years old.
Same horse six years later. Age 32.



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