When Horses Have Trouble Getting Along

Horses are particularly prone to getting injured in scuffles when there's a change in stabling arrangements, a study concludes. Researchers questioned horse owners in Switzerland to determine the frequency and triggers of serious kicking and biting among their horses.

Out of 3000 horses included in the survey, 50 had needed veterinarian attention to an injury caused by another horse's aggression. That accounted for over one-fifth of all the horse injuries identified in the group.

A substantial portion of the altercations resulting in damage had occurred in conjunction with changes to the horses' housing. How accustomed the horses were to living in groups made no difference to the prevalence of battle wounds.

The study also revealed that certain breeds are more liable to get hurt during physical arguments with their stablemates. Warmblood, thoroughbred and Arabian horses suffered from bites or kicks four times more frequently than did other breeds of horses.


J.M. Knubben, A. Furst, L. Gygax and M. Stauffacher. 2008. Bite and kick injuries in horses: Prevalence, risk factors and prevention. Equine Veterinary Journal. 40(3): 219-223.

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