Do horses experience stress and anxiety? Do they feel depression? The answer isn’t black and white, and it’s not exactly the same as humans. Still, the mental well-being of your horse is vital, and many specific situations can contribute to their stress responses. Here are some things to know about depression and stress behaviors in horses and what to do about them.

The Cause of Stress Behaviors

While we want to avoid projecting human emotions onto horses, the truth is they’re very sensitive animals, and many things can cause them to experience stress. The definition of stress is the reaction to new or concerning circumstances through a combination of physical and psychological responses. For horses, that can be anything from loneliness to fear. A change in location, routine, companions, or any other new experience can cause stress and depression behaviors.

The Herd and Mental Wellness

Horses are not intended to be solitary animals. Evolutionarily, their ability to stick with the herd was vital to their survival. So when they are alone, they react in a way that we might consider depression. A horse can experience physical symptoms such as ulcers when they feel like they’re no longer a part of their herd.

Watch for Behaviors That Indicate Depression

What can you watch out for to catch depression and stress behaviors before they spiral out of control? A study in France observed several behaviors among horses that can indicate stress and depression. This is also an excellent list to consult. Some behaviors include:

  • Immobile posture with unfocused eyes
  • Unresponsiveness to humans or other stimuli
  • Loss of appetite
  • Cribbing, weaving, or other destructive behaviors
  • Lack of sleep
  • Unwillingness to work
  • Increased levels of fear or anxiety; spooks more easily
  • Reduced cortisol levels
  • Avoidance of other horses

Horse First Training and Care

At horseOlogy, we want to ensure that every horse we work with is healthy and happy. That includes including them in a positive horse-first environment. We know that happy horses will perform better, which is good for our investors and partners and the horses we work with. Contact us today to learn more about the horseOlogy approach to breaking and training.

Meet the Ologists

Follow horseOlogy online and on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube to learn more about our team, thoroughbreds, and services. Call us at 855-HORSIES (855-467-7437) to set up your visit to our facility.

All Available Shares

horseOlogy has only limited investment opportunities in this year’s investment group.

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Horses of Racing Age

We love to watch our graduates grow and be successful on the racetrack.

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Yearling to Two Year Olds

We can’t wait for you to come along and experience all that these horses have to offer.

Weanlings Available

Weanlings to Yearlings

Get involved early as there are limited ownership opportunities.

Weanlings Available


Allowing our partners to take part in the breeding process from start to finish.

Developing and Training

Our approach is joining up with each horse so that they understand the process of learning through acceptance and not fear.

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Rehab and Layup

Whether it is to let them rest mentally and/or physically or an injury, wehas the means and skill set.

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Sales Prep

At horseOlogy, we focus on the tiniest details that can set our horses apart in the sales ring.

Weanlings Available


horseOlogy provides a boutique experience while limiting the number of mares and foals.

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We bring years of experience evaluating conformation and pedigree to uncover the best pinhooking prospects.

Small Share Investing

A business model whereby a group of people can participate in the owning horse, which may otherwise not have been feasible.


Bloodstock Advisors

A bloodstock advisor’s services may include but are not limited to, mating, sale placement, acquisition, trainer placement, and overall management of your horse.

Available Shares




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