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Horse Facts and Tips
First Posted: Sept 12, 2013
Sep 12, 2013

Temple Grandin/Keeping Horses Calm During Handling

Below is an exerpt from Temple Grandin's wisdom on keeping horses calm during handling. To read the article in its entirety follow this link: Grandin on Keeping Horses Calm During Handling

  • "...Watch animals' ears for warnings of impending responses to stimuli. Horses tip their ears toward whatever they're monitoring, a sort of 'ear radar' an owner can monitor.
  • Animals tend to want to travel from dark to light (as from a dark barn toward the light of outdoors), but they do not react well in a transition to blinding light.
  • Nonslip flooring in facilities is essential because animals get agitated when they begin to lose their footing.
  • Animals differentiate between screaming and yelling more than equipment noise. (Bottom line, don't scream and yell around horses and other livestock.)
  • Never surprise an animal
  • Don't do tickle touches. Make it feel like mama's tongue. Don't do hard pats.
  • Slow, gradual movements are best...
  • Factors impacting an animal's 'flight zone' (a term generally used with sheep and cattle to describe how close a handler can get to an animal before it flees) include genetics, previous experience with handlers, amount of contact with people, and the quality of that contact. Tame animals generally don't have a flight zone.
  • Avoid making sudden, erratic silent movements. She gave the example of the cinematic team not getting a cow acclimated to a Styrofoam board (used for reflecting light) before the cow reacted in fear...."

Temple Grandin also discussed scary situations, new experiences and the fear factor for horses. Read the complete article for more information.


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