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The domestic life of the horse

The counterpart of domestication

If domestication provides comfort and security to the horse which, for example, no longer needs to find its own food, it also brings its share of negative consequences. Indeed, this life in contact with Man is considerably impacted…


The nutritional needs of the domestic horse, fed with very rich food, are met very quickly.

He spends much of his day in
"Forced rest".

The absence of fiber in its diet (grass, hay, etc.) is also detrimental for the horse whose digestive system is designed to be permanently active.

Related risks: Gastric ulcers, colic, too much energy, obesity, thinness ...


The individual box is still, today, the most widespread type of accommodation. If he protects the horse from bad weather and insects and offers him a clean and comfortable bedding, it also deprives him of movements and social contacts, essential to his well-being.

Related risks: Apathy, aggressiveness towards humans or others ...




In natural conditions, the horse travels about ten kilometers a day, mainly at a walk. In contrast, the outings that a rider offers to his mount are short, intense and based on much brighter gaits: trotting and galloping.

Related risks: Relieving when working mounted or on the lanyard, lameness, back pain

a sign of malaise

Described as repetitive movements without apparent purpose or function, they would allow the horse to support its domestic environment. It is therefore strongly advised not to prevent it from biting but it is better to look for the cause.

Some examples: tic in support, tic in the air, tic of the bear, serpentine tongue, strolling…

One of the most common equine stereotypes is supporting tick. The horse rests with its incisors on a support and contracts its neck producing a husky sound.


Texts by Déborah Bardou and Hélène Roche, ethologists - Photos Hélène Roche