Horse Behavior – Skin Sensitivity
Skin sensitivity is highly developed in horses, which enables them to detect things such as flies landing on their hide, cold, heat, and pain. The most sensitive areas in a horse are its mouth, flank, feet, legs, neck, and shoulders. Some horses are more sensitive than others. When grooming these parts of a horse, care must be exercised.
Horse Behavior – Herd Instinct
The herd instinct is another inheritance from the wild horse ancestors. That being the others of its own kind gives the horse a sense of security. In a herd situation, every horse has its place in the social hierarchy, so there is the boss of the group and other members of the group will bully another.
This has implications for horse trainees to understand horse behavior. Adding new horses to a group will upset the pecking other temporarily so horses must be watched carefully during this time to make sure that they do not injure each other.
Bad Horse Behavior
They must also be watched throughout confinement in a small yard as well as at feeding time since these are situations when dominant horses reinforce superiority and the herd instinct is combined with a strong instinct for submission. In the wild, a herd has a single leader exerting authority over the rest.
It is this instinct that gives the horse a natural tendency to look for leadership and accept the dominance of the handler, if that person exerts the necessary dominance and calm. A rider should let the horse feel that it is dominant and he will have a great deal of difficulty making the horse do what he wants to.
Their herd experience means that the horses are quick to sense fear or hesitation. While the ears pick up the slightest tremor in the voice, the nose picks up the smell of fear. A placid animal also can react adversely if they feel that their rider is nervous and uncertain.