Depressed or Just Passive?
Dr. Weiss, I bought a nine-year-old quarter horse about eight months ago. The minor health problems he had when I got him have successfully been treated, and our vet says he’s in reasonably good healthbut to me, he seems depressed. Our other horses dominate him, and he remains passive. He eats well and loves human attention, but I’m still worried. Can horses take anti-depressants? Is this just his personality?
Your horse is probably just fine, Ashley! Like humans, there are horses who naturally are more passive than others. When living in a herd situation, some horses are more likely to be “leaders,” and others “followers,” and you just happened to get a follower.
Research on other species that live in groups seems to indicate that the dominant animal in the group is likely to have a higher level of stress than the others in the group. So take heart, Ashley: Your horse’s laid-back ways may actually be making him healthier! I would suggest that the passivity you see might not be depression at all, but simply what I call your horse’s “Equine-ality!”