Horse behaviour problems

Do you think your horse is too "dominant", deliberately antagonises you, leads a miserable life or is a danger to you and or others (animals or people)? Than a behaviour consult is definitely something for you and your horse!!
Equine behaviour consultations are carried out at The Department of Equine Clincal Sciences at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University. To make an appointment phone 030-2531111 or click here.
Equine welfare consultations will be carried out on location at your establishment. To make an appointment please fill in the contact form.

Examples of equine behaviour problems that can be diagnosed and treated include:

  • Aggression to people or horses or other animals (biting, kicking, fighting, striking, ...)
  • Flighty behaviour, easily frightened, nervous/anxious
  • Stereotypic behvaiour: crib biting, wind sucking, pacing, head shaking, other ...
  • Trailer loading/unloading problems or problems in the trailer whilst trailer is loaded and moving
  • Resistance or refusal to work in hand or under the saddle e.g. refusal to move or jump fences
  • Rearing
  • Bucking
  • Bolting under saddle or in front of the cart
  • Kicking objects e.g. stable door, buckets
  • Separation anxiety, Noise phobia
  • Reproductive problems: libido, impotentce, refusal to cover (stallions)
  • Stallion like behaviour in mares
  • Extreme oestrous behaviour in mares
  • Self-mutilation

During the consultation:
The initial consultation will last approximately 1.5 - 2 hours depending on the complexity of your horse’s case. During that time, we will:

  • Take a detailed history of your horse’s behavioural and medical history
  • Perform a physical examination (if appropriate) on your horse, and discuss any additional testing that may be needed 
  • Make one or several behavioural diagnoses 
  • Present you with a management plan that will include any necessary medication, behaviour modification, environmental enrichment and management recommendations.

Comprehensive (Standard) Horse Behaviour Consultation:
Due to the complex nature of behaviour problems, the owner education and involvement necessary to treat them, horse behaviour appointments require a large block of time, usually up to one and a half hours.  In some cases, 30-60 minute in clinic follow up consultations will be recommended during the course of therapy for re-assessment. Usually 3-4 of these will be necessary in the first year for successful management of more complex behaviour problems. However, the need for follow up visits varies from case to case and we will advise you whether they are warranted in your particular case.

Follow up Behaviour Consultation:
After your initial appointment and depending on the nature of the problem, you may advised to set up a Follow up Consultation so your pet’s progress can be monitored, adjustments to the treatment plan and/or medicationmay be made and so that guidance may be provided for long term management. The need for follow up visits varies from case to case. A Follow up Consultation must occur within 6 months of any of our other behaviour consultations otherwise a new comprehensive (standard) horse behaviour consultation will be required.

Telephone or Skype Consultation: Short telephone consultations are available for people, who have questions or concerns regarding the treatment of their horse and who do not wish to wait for their follow-up consultation. This consultation is only available for clients who I've seen with their horse within the previous 6 months. This service is not available for clients who I've never seen. However, vet-vet consultations may be an option for them.

It is necessary to see the client and the animal in person in order to establish a legal veterinary client relationship and to be able to fully assess the animal and the problem. If it is not possible for a face-to-face consultation than you can have your veterinarian consult with me using a Vet-Vet Consultation through the telephone or preferably through Skype.

Vet-Vet Behaviour Consultation: This is a veterinarian–to–veterinarian consultation service to assist veterinarians in the diagnosis and treatment of animal behaviour problems. Your animal’s veterinarian (referring veterinarian) and you provide me with a written account of the behaviour problem via behaviour history forms that I will send to the referring veterinarian prior to the telephone/Skype consultation. Your veterinarian will return the completed questionnaire to me along with your animal’s medical history at least 3 days prior to the appointment. 

The telephone/Skype consultation will last 1 hour. I will e-mail or post a written report to the referring vet within 2 weeks of the consultation. If you wish your veterinarian to avail of a Vet-Vet consultation than they should contact me via the contact form on this website.

Equine consultations
Equine behaviour or equine welfare consultations are available for individual horses or equine establishments.

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Make an Appointment?

Tel: 0317 419120
Dutch Veterinary Referral Centre de Wagenrenk

Horses and other species:
Contact Form