The Magazine November 2023

Needs must

Posted 28th September 2023

Enrich your horse’s life this winter by taking care of his social requirements. Here’s what to consider

Social-needs-in-winter

Just like us, horses have basic needs in life and it’s our job to ensure these essentials are in place. Aside from the obvious requirements, such as food, water and shelter, horses enjoy forming relationships and will generally be a lot happier in the company of good friends.

Let’s look at some of the reasons why horses thrive best with others and discuss the simple things you can do to stimulate your horse’s psychological wellbeing this winter.

Compatibility counts

On the whole, horses tend to be happiest when they’re allowed full contact with friends. This means not only being able to see other horses, but also having the chance to communicate with them through touch.

Safety’s best in numbers, which is why horses feel more secure in a herd environment than when they’re on their own. Also, being with friends allows them to perform important interactive behaviours, such as mutual grooming, bonding and play.

But don’t forget that when it comes to choosing friends, horses are no different to humans – they’ll get on well with some but won’t be so keen on others. It’s never as simple as putting your horse out in a field with another and assuming they’ll be great buddies.

Studies carried out on horses in the wild have shown that once there’s a special relationship in place, horses often become life-long friends and, in an ideal world, it’d be the same for our domesticated equines, too.

TOP TIP

If your horse lives alone, consider if your budget could stretch to taking on a companion pony from an equine charity.

Discover more of our top tips for keeping your horse happy this winter in November Horse&Rider – out now!

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