Behaviour specialists offer top tips to help needle-shy horses

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Equine behaviour experts are presenting a webinar looking at how to how to help a horse or pony with needle shyness, with tried and tested methods.
Equine behaviour experts are presenting a webinar looking at how to how to help a horse or pony with needle shyness, with tried and tested methods.

Equine behaviour experts are presenting a webinar next week looking at how to how to help a horse or pony with needle shyness.

When a horse or pony is needle shy it is usually because they are worried about having an injection. Their fear response may be shown through avoidance behaviours such as pulling away, pushing handlers out of the way, rearing or trying to escape. When a horse is needle shy this can be a very stressful and frightening experience for them. The problem often escalates when injections are attempted while they are feeling afraid.

The webinar is part of the Confident Horse webinar series hosted by The Mare and Foal Sanctuary.

The charity’s behaviour experts have put together a guide to helping horses who are worried about having injections. Using a real-life example, the team will show tried and tested methods that will take the fear out of vet visits. The guide is packed with useful and practical tips to help owners work with their horses towards a permanent solution.

Anna Haines, Equine Behavioural Lead at the Mare and Foal Sanctuary, said there were many situations where horse owners simply hope for the best when the time arrives for veterinary intervention.

“We have lots of experience of handling unwanted behaviour like this. We’re keen to share our Confident Horse series with as many people as possible so they can benefit from our knowledge. Time and time again we have seen our methods make a real difference.

“This training doesn’t need to take up lots of your time but can instead just become part of your normal daily routine with your horses. Ensuring that our horses remain calm and relaxed during our training sessions with a focus on them having a positive, enjoyable experience can help us to create horses who are confident in a variety of different situations.”

The Confident Horse series of videos and webinars was launched earlier this year as a way for horse owners around the country to tap into the sanctuary’s wealth of experience and knowledge.

A donation of £10 to register for the webinar will help the charity provide lifelong, life-changing care to horses and ponies in need. Some 634 horses and ponies are currently under the care of the Mare and Foal Sanctuary, which works for all horses and ponies but has particular experience in managing and training feral or unhandled horses and ponies and caring for mares in foal and orphaned or abandoned foals.

» Register for the “Helping the needle shy horse”, on December 8 at 7.30pm (GMT).

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