Equine Video Ethogram

Written by Lauren Fraser CHBC

Understanding body language is one of the core skills anyone living with animals needs in order to make the best decisions about their care. If you can see that what you’re doing is making your animal uncomfortable, that’s important information to help make predictions about what might happen if you continue doing it. Twice a year, we’ll be featuring short video clips of horses engaging in normal behaviors, with an interpretation of the behavior from IAABC’s Horse Division Chair, Lauren Fraser.  This is the Equine Video Ethogram.

Mutual grooming—members of the same species simultaneously grooming one another. Relieves itches that can’t be reached alone, helps remove loose hair during shedding, and enhances social bonding between participants. Mutual grooming can also occur between members of different species, as seen at the end of this clip.

Behavior category: Maintenance (grooming and insect control), and social behavior.

Play fighting—a mutually enjoyable give-and-take interaction between horses that mimics real fighting.

Behavior category: Play

Stamp (aka stomp): A rapid striking of the ground with a hoof.

Behavior category: Maintenance (grooming and insect control), or inter-male interactions, or play.


All this issue’s videos were supplied by Felicity George BSc MPhil SEBC PTC CHBC


Lauren Fraser is an IAABC Certified Horse Behavior Consultant, and is also the organization’s Horse Chair. She provides horse behavior consultations and educational events for both horse owners and equine professionals.