Getting Acquainted: Things Horses Hate

Last Updated on August 3, 2020 by Allison Price

You may have just bought a horse. And you may be asking the things that horses hate and scared of.

Or you may be taking horses for quite some time already. You will notice that most of the things they hate are those unknown or foreign to them. They are not big fans of the unknown.

To get to know more about horses, here are the objects and creatures that are an issue to horses:


Horses are very large creatures. So, it’s comical that they would be frightened of something as small as a butterfly. And yet, it is true to some horses. Those small and unexpected flash of colors can easily spook them.

But butterflies are not the only small creatures that can startle a horse. They can also be startled by birds, crickets, frogs. And anything else that might appear before them suddenly.

Cats, dogs and other animals

Not only to small critters, horses can also take issue with larger animals. Like cats and dogs. That is when they haven’t been introduced to these animals before. Their natural reaction might be to tick or bite.

So, it is important to lay a solid foundation before bringing your pets around them.


Children are on the list. For the reason that they have a tendency of making sudden loud noises. And running around. Some horses don’t have much experience with children. It means they can view children as potential hazards.

Things laying on the ground

Anything unknown to them that is laying on the ground. It has the potential of freaking out your horse. Ropes, plastic bags, and even their own shadows. They are the things that you should be mindful of when working with horses.

If you are working with a new horse, make sure that the ground is cleaned up around the area that you’ll be working. So, you can prevent any issues.

Cars driving by

Cars can also be very frightening for horses. Especially if they spend most of their time in a secluded field away from roads. Because they seldom see something as large and loud as a vehicle.

They should be introduced slowly so they will get used to it.

How to help a horse who doesn’t like foreign objects and creatures

Instead of keeping your horse from facing the things that will make them uncomfortable… the best approach is to train them on how to handle unexpected situations in a safe man. It is through desensitization training or bomb-proofing. A lot goes into this training process. But the results that you’ll see will be worth it. And it will improve your riding relationship with your horse for their lifetime.

Sounds weird to horses

When it comes to things that horses don’t like, sounds are included.

Bizarre sounds are likely to spook a horse as a butterfly or misplaced rope. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with some of the common ones that horses don’t like.

A rider sneezing

A sneeze from a horseback rider might also be a battle cry. Telling them to take off as fast as they can.

Mind your sneezes. Until you’ve done the work with your horse on the ground. This is to ensure they will not react in a negative way.


The sudden zip of a zipper behind their ears can also frighten your horse. So, zip with caution!

Plastic bottles

The crackle of plastic bottles can drive horses crazy.

If you plan on bringing some water to your horse during a trail… think about using a bottle that will not make as much sound.

Musical instruments

Flutes, guitars, harmonicas… if your horse hasn’t heard it before, they won’t appreciate an unexpected concert. Keep this in mind.

Helping a horse who doesn’t like weird sounds

Horses will adjust. And become used to sounds over time. If your horse is struggling with a particular sound… gradually introduce it to them until it no longer phases them. It’s good to introduce new sounds to your horse on a regular basis. It will help them prepare for anything.

Other things that horses hate

Below are the other things that horses hate. And horse owners should be aware of these:

Shoes that don’t fit

Please get your horse’s shoes trimmed if you don’t know until now what good shoeing is and how to identify it. Shoes that are too small or set on so bad are damaging to your horse.

24/7 stall confinement

If you don’t live in a horse-friendly area, get to the barn daily. And get your horse turned out, and not just a ride and work. If your horse gets enough turnout, he is less likely to offload their humans surprisingly.

Humans who can’t read horse language

When the expression of your horse changes out of nowhere, it means something. You need to figure that thing out. Don’t ignore it. And get mad when your horse is unintentional in hurting you.

Horses have few ways to let you know when they are not feeling well or irritated. It is our responsibility to learn to read their eyes and body language so that they can interact with us.

Humans making sudden and unnecessary movements

These are movements that can be distinguished as aggression on the part of the human. Like chasing your horse with a plastic bag tied to a whip.

Humans without constant discipline

It is important to have the same constant behavior with your horse. Because it is not your horse’s fault if you have a fight with another human. And it resulted to a temper tantrum of whipping and yanking.


If you own a horse for a long period already, you know that there are certain things that make them unhappy. And they hate it. Your horse may hate all or some of those things mentioned above. But for new horse owners, these things can be a total surprise to you. So, it is best that you try to understand them better. By knowing what sets them off. And how to fix your attitude around horses. Sometimes they hate a specific thing as humans do. Or they simply get spooky from these different objects.

Allison Price
Allison Price

I’m Allison, born and raised in San Diego California, the earliest memory I have with horses was at my grandfather’s farm. I used to sit at the stable as a kid and hang out with my Papa while he was training the horses. When I was invited to watch a horse riding competition, I got so fascinated with riding!