Is Your Horse Afraid of the Dark?

As odd as it may seem, many horses are afraid of the dark. Horses, being prey animals as well as herd animals, often need the company of other horses to feel secure, especially in the dark.

Don’t believe it?

Here’s an example that might make a believer out of you, an 8-year-old quarter horse mare who belongs to a friend of mine. During the day she is kept in the far pasture, out of sight of my friend’s house and other horses, and she is just fine.

However, if left in the far pasture at night, she will run the fence line and whinny all night long. If my friend brings the mare up to the top pasture closest to the house for the night, which borders a pasture with other horses, the mare remains calm. And this horse is by no means the only one who acts as if she is afraid of the dark. Many horses are.

At the same time, not all horses are afraid of the dark. It really depends on their horse personality type.

Horse Personality Types and Fear of the Dark
Although every horse is a prey animal and a herd animal, not every horse is afraid of being alone in the dark. Why is this? It is because some horse personality types are more likely to be herd-oriented, while others tend to be loners. The herd-bound types are more likely to be afraid of the dark while the loner-types tend to be fine alone, dark or not.

The horse personality types that tend to stick close to the herd are:

– Earth: they like company
– Water: they tend to be fearful
– Wood: they like to have others to play with

The types that tend to be less herd-bound are:

– Metal: they love to be alone
– Fire: they like plenty of personal space and are fairly self-confident

These are, of course, generalizations based on the Five-Element horse personality typing system I developed called Horse Harmony. Depending on a horse’s life experiences, you can always have oddballs that don’t fit the pattern. For instance, I know of one Metal horse who is afraid of the dark, but only because he was trapped in a completely-enclosed trailer for many hours as a youngster.

Horse Personality Types are Fascinating
There is so much you can predict about a horse based on his personality type, plus it is endless fascinating. Find out more by checking out these Horse Harmony resources, including a free online horse personality test. Enjoy!

Horse Personality Type Test

Horse Personality Type Information

Horse Personality Type Book

Horse Personality Type Ebooks

Horse Personality Type Educational Audios

If you enjoyed this post, consider subscribing to this blog feed, joining the Holistic Horsekeeping newsletter list, or leaving me a comment!


3 thoughts on “Is Your Horse Afraid of the Dark?

  1. Pingback: uberVU - social comments

  2. Letabug

    Wow, my brain just went “ding” when I read this. I never put 2 and 2 together until now. By way of explanation: my 33-year-old Earth horse, Copper, exhibits different behaviors each evening when we go let him out of his enclosed feeding area, and I never could figure out why. He

    a) is in no hurry if it is either still light and his 2 mare herd mates have gone on out to the pasture, OR if it’s dark but they are munching on hay right next to his pen; or

    b) he is whinnying to be let out and then runs to the pasture like his tail is on fire if it is dark or near dark and girls are nowhere in sight.

    Thanks for this elucidation! Duh . . .

  3. Madalyn Ward, DVM Post author

    Very interesting. Some people turn their horses out during the night in the summer so they don’t get so hot. It would sure be important to make sure they have companions or it might be very stressful for some type horses. Madalyn

Leave a Reply