Sue McDonnell, PhD, Certified AAB

Sue M. McDonnell, PhD, is a certified applied animal behaviorist and the founding head of the equine behavior program at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Veterinary Medicine. She is also the author of numerous books and articles about horse behavior and management.

Articles by Sue McDonnell

Watching the Herd

How can watching horses interact in a herd help improve my relationship with my horse? Read More

Identifying Physical vs. Psychological Issues in Horses

How does a veterinary behaviorist know for sure something is or is not a psychological problem? Read More

A Positively Playful Young Horse

My 5-year-old gelding is very playful. Can I turn his playfulness into an advantage when I train him? Read More

Minimizing Foal Stress Levels in the Breeding Shed

What would be the best plan for handling a foal whose dam is being covered by a stallion? Read More

Stubborn as a Donkey?

One behavior expert explains the differences in behavior between donkeys and horses. Read More

Common OTTB Behavior Traits

I'm considering purchasing an ex-racehorse. Are there any common behavior problems in OTTBs that I should be aware of? Read More

Lollying Around: Why Does My Horse Play With His Tongue?

What could be the cause behind this young horse's strange tongue lollying at feeding time? Dr. Sue McDonnell answers. Read More

Stressed in the Stall

My horse recently started pacing and digging holes in his stall. What could be causing this behavior? Read More

Schoolmasters as School Horses

Do retired, well-schooled horses really make good beginners' horses? Read More

Toning Down Playtime

How can I make my horse a less attractive target for his pasturemate, who likes to tug at halters and fly masks? Read More

Can a Horse's Leg 'Fall Asleep'?

What might cause a horse to scratch or drag a leg while he's lying down? Read More

Studying the Obvious

Why do researchers spend time studying basic equine behavior questions when the answers seems so obvious? Read More

Aggression or Confusion?

Food-aggressive horses' "asking gestures" can escalate to a form of food-guarding behavior. Read More

Habituation vs. Learned Helplessness in Horses

Learn about a welfare-friendly way to desensitize horses. Read More

Older Creature Comforts

I'm concerned about my senior horse's mental happiness. How can I keep him comfortable and happy? Read More

Scared Horse? Try Counter-Conditioning

Learn how to teach your horse an alternate response to triggering stimuli. Read More

Equine Behavior Changes Before Death

Have horses been known to show significant behavior changes right before death? If so, why does this happen? Read More

Spooky Objects: To Dwell or Not to Dwell

Should you let a horse dwell on a spooky object? Read More

Are Appeasing Pheromones Effective in Horses?

How effective are appeasing pheromones for reducing nervousness or anxiety in horses? Read More

Is There Such Thing as a Highly Sensitive Horse?

Is it possible that some horses, like people, are born with a highly sensitive nervous system? Read More

Behavior Contest Winner: An Obsessive Licker

Our "Why Does My Horse Do That?" winner wants to know why her mare's buddy licks the mare after meals. Read More

Unbridled Discomfort

My horse is "reverse bridle shy." What can I do to help this habit? Read More

The Science Behind 'Licking and Chewing' in Horses

What does "licking and chewing" really mean? Read More

Spontaneous Rearing and Food Aggression in Horses

One mare's rearing habit around her owner might be play initiation. Read More

Common Senior Horse Behavior Problems

What is the most common behavior problem or case you see in aging horses? Read More