If you’ve just taken home your first horse, and you’re ready to build a budding friendship with them, then you’re going to need to be able to recognize the signs that show whether or not your horse is feeling happy. You’ll want to know if they love to be around you, and if they’re happy out in their field, and feeling comfortable in their stable. So, here’s what you need to look out for.
When They’re With You
There are a lot of different behaviors to look out for when you’re around your horse. First of all, look around their muzzle – are their nostrils relaxed and wide open? If so, it means they’re feeling good around you, rather than feeling stressed.
Similarly, how do their lips look? Are they relaxed, rather than drawn? And is their jaw hanging a little loose? If you can answer yes to both of these questions, it means your horse is more than happy to be around you, even if they end up dribbling a little. They’re not just looking for a snack, they want to be with you!
When in Their Stable
Horses have some very clear behaviors when they’re happy with their stable! The number one example? They’re eating! If they like their food, and they like their stable mate, it won’t be hard to switch their diet to some Antibiotic growth promoter (AGP) alternatives you’ve been meaning to try.
At the same time, if they’re regularly defecating, and their droppings look normal in both size and color, they’re clearly feeling at home and comfortable in their surroundings.
And if you’re worried about how often your horse likes to lie down, shake it off immediately! If a horse likes their bed, and it stays in place, and your horse clearly isn’t restless, it means they know they can relax when they’re in the stable. All of these are signs of a happy horse!
When Out in the Field
If your horse is grazing just fine, and is clearly paying attention to their surroundings, while still looking relaxed and not at all skittish, then they’re perfectly fine to be out in the field! Be sure to look out for signs of restlessness, such as galloping near or along the fence, as this could be a big sign of stress, and something needs to be done.
Now, seeing as this is your first horse, you probably don’t have another horse you can stable or paddock them with. However, if a friend or relative has a horse that’s being kept in the same field, you’ll also see some clear signs that’ll let you know if your horse is happy or not. If the two horses start to groom each other, you can relax and walk away, because they’re clearly happy to be together – and the same goes for rearing, as it’s a sign of play.
If your horse is happy, they’ll let you know! Look out for these signs in the meantime.