Why do horses react to the wind?

Why does a normally quiet horse spook in the Wind?

This often happens in the Spring and Autumn when it is particularly windy. So it is important that the rider stays safe and that your horse trusts you.

Let’s try and look at this from the horse’s point of view.

He will hear a noise; wind has a high-frequency which is called white-noise and this to him may sound like hissing.  Horses know that snakes can be life threatening.  It is instinctive that they will avoid snakes and to them this noise causes alarm.  So at the sound of a high wind your horse is often very anxious and the additional noises that wind causes such as banging and rattling only makes things worse.

In their head the wind can mask other noises that a horse would need to hear, which could be the sound of a predator. Everything is heightened when your horse realises that he can’t listen for these noises which evolution has prepared him for, and he feels that he cannot protect himself.

To add to this there is movement all around – branches blowing in the wind, debris blowing around etc.  Your horse views this as everything around him is running away and he feels that he may be attacked.

With all this going on, your horse will sense danger and become very anxious.

So what can we do about this?

Some say not to ride in the wind, others say ride and take no notice of the horse’s behaviour, but most of all you need to reassure and calm your horse.

I think it is up to the individual as to whether they ride or not as no one knows your horse like you do.  But the most important thing is to be safe.