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Why Horses Paw and How to Prevent It

Equine psychologist Antonia J.Z. Henderson, Ph.D. explains the reasons why your horse may be pawing and what you can do to prevent this unwanted behaviour.

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By: Antonia J.Z. Henderson, Ph.D. |

If you are a regular reader of my articles you may believe that I have only one insight to offer for all equine behaviour problems. And…you may be right. Almost ALL behavioural issues can be solved by allowing horses to live as they were evolutionarily designed to do. Increasing time outside of the stall (eliminating stalls altogether would be my vote), allowing for more social interaction, increasing foraging time and reducing concentrates will resolve many of the undesirable behaviours we see in today’s pleasure and sport horses. That said, there is certainly more sleuthing we can do to discover the source of your horse’s pawing and how you might stop it. Gastric ulcers are a common cause of pawing, kicking or flank biting, and since ulcers are so ubiquitous in sport horses (rates run from 50 per cent to 90 per cent) this is a good place to start. Ulcers…

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