The Effects of Stress on Your Horse’s Brain

The Effects of Stress on Your Horse's Brain

The Effects of Stress on Your Horse's Brain
The Effects of Stress on Your Horse’s Brain

The Effects of Stress on Your Horse’s Brain

The Effects of Stress on Your Horse’s Brain . Hello again! Today I’d want to describe how we are making steady progress into an area of dealing with horses that, up until this point, has been largely disregarded; that area is the treatment of emotional stress in horses. I hope you’ll join me for this discussion.

But before we can even begin to address the management of emotional stress and how it impacts your horse, we need to take a look at how the brain of your horse works and compare it to the way that our own brains function.

To begin, horses do not think in the same way that humans do; the structure of their brain is completely different from ours, and the way in which your horse uses their brain, in conjunction with the input that you provide, becomes the primary cause of the various levels of stress that your horse may experience.

The “frontal lobe” is the region of the horse’s brain that is examined and compared to that of our own, and we find that this region is the most significant difference between the two.

Because this is the part of our brain that enables us to be able to process all of the information that we receive on a daily basis and that contributes to our personalities as well as our ability to develop cognitively or reasoning abilities, the frontal lobe of our brain is extremely large and very well developed.

The exact reverse is true for your horse, when we compare the same area: the frontal lobe of your horse’s brain is far less developed, and as a result, it does not provide them anything that comes near to the ability that you and I have to reason through an issue.

The bulk of the other regions of your horse’s brain, including those that are responsible for movement and general athleticism, have grown in the same manner that human frontal brain has.

If you place your horse in a scenario where they need to reason their way out of it, the most probable outcome is that you will end up with a horse that is in full flight mode, which will result in your horse running away in order to defend itself from the danger. Not to mention the extremely high amounts of tension that might be produced as a result of the circumstance.

In case you’re curious about how everything fits together and communicates with one another, the answer is that it’s all coordinated by a single, very minor region of the horse’s brain. In point of fact, the region to which I am talking is about the size and contours of an almond. This region of the brain is known as the “Amygdala,” and it is associated, more or less, with the area that controls your horse’s emotions, which is directly tied to the emotional stress experienced by your horse.

When looking at the brain of the horse, the emotion that is being referred to here is one that is based on fear and wrath; this emotion is not the sense of being sad, being proud, or any other thing that humans may experience. It is a region that is known to be primal in its nature as well as instinctual in how it reacts when stimulated; the genesis of the “fight or flight” reaction may be found in this region.

The primitive part of the horse’s brain known as the amygdala is a part of what is known as the “limbic system.” The limbic system is the part of the brain that is responsible for many of the unresolved issues that your horse has, as well as the part of the brain where these issues have a tendency to be retained.

The memories of all of the things that have happened in the past that have had an impact on them, particularly the things that they were unable to comprehend or relate to, are kept in this location and can be called up at any moment.

Being able to relate to the true problem helps to both understand the root of the problem and gives us a path to follow that will help to maintain the problem that was created by their emotion area response. The importance of this area stems from the fact that it is one of the main and controlling areas of emotional stress-production. Stress is what produces fear, and fear produces a “flight or fight” response.

The size and growth of your horse’s frontal lobe, as well as the manner in which your horse makes use of their frontal lobe, are the primary contributors to the varied levels of stress that can be produced by any given event.

Your horse’s body will develop a condition called stress, which, if it is allowed to progress unchecked, can lead to chronic health problems.

Cortisol, also known as the “stress hormone,” is a hormone that is secreted by the adrenal glands of a horse and can be found in the horse’s bloodstream as well as its saliva when the horse is under pressure, just as it is in people. When a horse is under pressure, just like in people, the hormone cortisol is released.

Some horse trainers are under the impression that using a specific type of bit when dealing with a horse will assist reduce the horse’s level of stress and make it easier for the animal to deal with the challenges it is now facing. This group discusses the implementation of a “Sweet Water” bit in order to get the desired outcome. To explain, a sweet water bit is one that has untreated steel for the centrepiece, which is the part that goes in the mouth. It has been shown that the untreated steel enables the horse to create a greater amount of saliva, which in turn enables the release of the stress hormone cortisol and causes the horse to be much more calm in stressful situations. In addition, it has been shown that the untreated steel allows the horse to create a greater amount of saliva, which in turn allows for the release of the hormone

Your horse’s metabolism, their electrolyte balance, and any inflammation may all benefit from proper, healthy usage of the cortisol hormone, which is caught up by numerous cells located all throughout its body and is then used in a beneficial way to manage all of these functions.

Even while cortisol is highly essential for helping to manage the general health of your horse, it is possible for it to become imbalanced from time to time, which is often what causes problems with the horse’s health.

When cortisol levels are high in a horse, it actually lowers the horse’s natural defensive mechanism, which is their immune system. As a result, the horse is much more susceptible to various issues caused by bacterial illnesses, such as thrush, abscesses, or even rain rot.

It has been our experience that once a significant percentage of the emotional tension has been released, more physical difficulties come to light. These problems include concerns with lameness, bodily discomfort, gait abnormalities, and a wide variety of other circumstances. We have a predisposition to assume that this is the method in which the body makes it possible for the immune system to begin functioning at a greater level than it did previously.

Long-term stress, also known as chronic stress, and short-term stress, also known as acute stress, are the two primary types of stress that may be seen in horses. These two types of stress are respectively referred to as chronic stress and acute stress.

If you are able to differentiate between the two classifications, you will be better able to control the stress that your horse is experiencing.

In order for you to have a better understanding of the distinctions between the two forms of stress, I will discuss some of the symptoms that are associated with both acute stress and chronic stress. These symptoms include the following:

Signs and Symptoms of Acute Stress

Muscles that are tense and trembling.
Carriage with a Shying Bolting High Head and Neck
Chronic Stress Indicators, Such as Wringing of the Tail and Pacing
Changes in Your Horse’s Attitude and Aggression Type While Stall Walking or Weaving the Horse Behavior
Ulcers of the Stomach
Skin infections caused by teeth grinding
Colic Caused Coat to Become Dull, Which Reduced Performance

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