French researchers who examined riding horses using five standardized behavioral tests have found that at least 75% of those with vertebral problems demonstrated aggressive behavior toward humans. The findings could help “alter the perception humans have of ‘bad tempered’ animals. Chronic pain should not be overlooked as a cause of aggression in horses,” the lead researcher said.
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I’ve noted this in only a couple of horses over the years. If your horse’s behavior has changed recently, and unexpectedly, it might be worth a thorough physical exam. Chronic pain is, well, a pain.