International Journal for the Study of Animal Problems


The behavior problems of horses are frequently related to management practices. Behaviors termed stall vices appear to be either stereotyped behaviors that occur in reaction to stress or patterns that emerge when natural behaviors such as grazing are prevented. The behavior cases presented to the New York State College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, were tabulated: 27% were stall vices, and 27% were some form of aggression. The stall vices were circling, digging, kicking the stall, chewing wood, swallowing air, or self-mutilation. Management of horses on

pasture rather than in stalls prevents the development of many of these stall vices. It should, therefore, be considered a more humane treatment, particularly for those horses that do not adapt well to confinement.