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

Touching a Tickle Spot?

I own a 5-year-old Friesian cross mare that I have had since her birth; she i Read More

Rescue Horse Rehab

Do you have any advice on the emotional rehabilitation of horses coming to rescues from abusive situations? Read More

The Equine Compulsion to Crib

Sue McDonnel, PhD, answers questions about equine cribbing. Read More

Panicky Horse? Vitamin B Might Help

Sue McDonnel, PhD, tells us what we can do to decrease the likelihood of a horsey panic attack. Read More

Naughty, Nipping Pony

Sue McDonnel, PhD, tells us why ponies bite and how we can put a stop to the painful behavior. Read More

New Gelding Trouble

Sue McDonnel, PhD, tells us how to deal with a new gelding who won't take orders. Read More

Foal 'Stealing'

Our pregnant mare thinks another mare's colt is hers. Is it common for pregnant mares to adopt others' foals? Read More

Learning to Load

At what age is it safe to start introducing a young horse to loading on a trailer? Read More

Rescued Horses: Looking For A Universal Companion

Sue McDonnel, PhD, tells us how to choose rehabilitation companions for rescued horses. Read More

Basic Horse Temperament and Behavior (Book Excerpt)

Those who have worked with different breeds of horses almost always have their opinion as to basic temperament and behavioral characteristics of certain breeds. Few would not agree that in general the warmblooded breeds, such as Thoroughbreds a Read More

Tongue Lolling

My Friesian filly will sometimes try to bite at her chest and stick her tongue out when I saddle her. Read More

Student Research on Horse Behavior

Q: I am a third-year veterinary student at Guelph's Ontario Veterinary College. I am working on a paper for my Equine Health Management class, and I am focusing on equine behavioral stereotypies (cribbing, weaving, stall/box walking) and pasturing... Read More

Student Research: Weaning, Foal Response to Mare Breeding

Questions: What is the best age to wean a foal? Is it a good/bad practice to take the afterbirth away from the mare right away so the veterinarian can check it? In the covering barn, why does the foal always get upset when the stallion...? Read More

I'm Knocking, But Don't Answer!

Behaviorist Dr. Sue McDonnell discusses how a horse owner can get rid of her horse's incessant door-banging behavior in a week. Read More

Pregnant Personality

I have a 7-year-old Morgan mare who is pregnant for the first time. She was orphaned at foaling but got a nurse mare quickly, and has always been overly friendly and sweet. However, at several months in foal she has become aggressive and nippy. Read More

Odd Posture to Poop

Reader question about why her horse assumes a contorted body position when defecating, and an answer by Sue M. McDonnell, PhD, Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist. Read More

Foaling Among Peers

We have a 20-year-old Paint mare due to foal soon. Her pasturemate is a 15-year-old open mare who has had prev Read More

Empty Leg and an Attitude?

Q:Please help. No matter who we talk to we can't seem to figure out what's going on with my daughter's 14-year-old American Saddlebred gelding. He is losing weight, but he is eating everything in sight, and Read More

Dominance Issues

I have a 2-year-old Fox Trotter gelding that seems to always be in a bad mood. He hardly ever puts his ears f Read More

Gelding Still Acting Like a Stallion

Q: My friend has a 14-year-old gelding who was gelded late (I'm not sure how late, but he did sire some foals) and is pastured with a 23-year-old mare. Last spring they were fine pastured together. This spring, however, Read More

Tongue Troubles

I have a filly who occasionally will stick her tongue out the side and loll it at times when I do ground train Read More

Compulsive Urinating on Hay

Dr. Sue McDonnell works with reader whose horse urinates on his hay as a marking behavior. Read More

Nip Nipping in the Bud

A few of our therapy horses are very mouthy. When they are in session and have a child on their back they try Read More

Earning Back Trust

I have a 15-year-old Thoroughbred gelding, Simon, that I have owned for five years. I need some real advice be Read More

Self-Mutilation or Pain?

I have a horse that I believe is displaying a form of self-mutilating behavior, and I'm wondering if you have Read More