Celeste Crisman, Extension Horse Specialist, Virginia Tech
Although the horse’s usual first response to unfamiliar things is flight or fight, its second response is usually curiosity. Horses use all of their senses to investigate their world. During investigation, they tend to be very alert, excitable and ready to flee at any hint of danger. After all, there could be a predator hiding in the object they were examining.
Curiosity is part of the horse’s natural behavior and managers must recognize this and take steps to reduce accidents caused by curiosity.
When a curious horse does get in a potentially dangerous situation, calm, methodical handling will reduce the horse’s tendency to panic and flee.