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

Savage Stallions

Q: I have worked with many different breeding stallions, including Thoroughbreds and Warmbloods back east, then mostly Arabians and Quarter Horses in Texas. We now have a halter stallion that does something I've never seen Read More

Can Horses Be Carnivorous? (Book Excerpt)

My horse has become carnivorous! She eats roadkill such as dead birds, and now I've discovered her stomping on a live rabbit in her stable. She picked it up in her mouth, bashed it against the stable wall, and ate it. Read More

Horse Learning

In a web site advice column written by a veterinarian, he claimed that if a blacksmith trims or shoes a horse incorrectly so that the horse becomes lame within a couple of weeks of work, the horse will make the connection that the blacksmith was Read More

Superstition

I have a BS in animal science and am now taking graduate courses in animal behavior while working to save up for vet school. A topic we are discussing in class is comparative cognition in a psychology and neurobiology program. This has to do wit Read More

Sexual Misbehavior Vaccine?

I am looking into ways to settle down a colt that is showing full-blown sexual interest already at a 1 1/2 years of age. He's just too much for us to handle, but we are not ready to geld him. If you try to correct him when he's all excited, he Read More

Cribbing Weanling

I have a client with a foal that was weaned a few days ago, and it has started cribbing. Within only a few hours after it was separated from the mare, it was seen doing something funny that the owners now appreciate was cribbing. Once they Read More

Pony Girthing/Mounting Issues

My 11-year-old daughter is having trouble with her pony nipping at her when she is girthing him, and when she goes to mount without an assistant. He also smacks his tail and pins his ears, almost looking like he might cow-kick at her sometimes. Read More

Semen Collecting from a Blind Stallion

We have a Standardbred stallion that had a minor neurologic episode a few months ago that was never really figured out. He has recovered slowly back to normal, except that he has gone completely blind. He does well at pasture and you would hardl Read More

Licking/Chewing=Learning?

I'm studying for an MSc in Equine Science and am researching equine behavior. Having studied scientific literature, including your catalog of horse behavior (The Equid Ethogram, A Practical Field Guide to Horse Behavior), I cannot find any Read More

Keeping Horses in Harems

I am a veterinarian in Atlanta with a special interest in behavior. I also own and raise Arabian horses. I have a 2 1/2-year-old stallion, and I would like to keep him in a harem situation. He is now pastured with another gelding and is quite Read More

Kicking Problems

My horse constantly kicks his stall, and in the pasture he's very rough with other horses, biting and kicking them. How can I stop this behavior?          Jess; Boulder, Colo.

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Deliberate Abuse?

I hope you remember me from psychology graduate school back in the early '80s. Time flies. Anyway, I still have horses and enjoy your contributions on behavior to The Horse magazine and web site. Sometimes I wish I had gone into horse or dog Read More

Transportation Trio: Kicking and Pawing

Why would my horse kick the lorry (van or truck) and paw at the floor, both with company or when alone? Read More

Transportation Trio: Runny Nose and Cough

Every time we trailer our horse, he arrives with a cough and runny nose. Our vet has suggested that he is sensitive to the dust from bedding in the trailer or bits of hay from the hay net bouncing around in front of his nose. It has been Read More

Transportation Trio: Loading Trick

I found an amateur video clip in our tack room and nobody knows where it came from. It shows an amazing demonstration of loading two horses on a trailer. The horses, without a lead or halter, went right into the trailer, one after the other, whe Read More

Eating Poop

Our first foal is 10 days old and has already been spotted eating manure. We have accepted the fact that eating manure is normal foal behavior and are trying to ignore it. A quick question: When should he get over this behavior? via e-mail Read More

Barn Aversion

 Our elderly Connemara gelding was unfortunately exposed in his stable to multiple bee stings on more than one occasion over a period of two weeks before the problem was figured out and fixed. He used to be very calm and content in the stable, Read More

A Stallion as a Problem Breeder

We purchased a stallion for breeding at nine years of age. He had bred before, but curiously had very few offspring for his impeccable credentials. He was a lovely stallion, very well-behaved, and a perfect gentleman to work around. When we Read More

Finding a Stallion Handler

We have expanded our semen collection/shipping facility, so we can now keep up to eight stallions in residence and accommodate local stallions trailering in just for semen collection as needed through the season. In the past we have depended upo Read More

Is My Horse Psychotic?

I bought my gelding as a stallion from a local sulky racetrack a year ago (where he never got out of his stall except for training). He had just turned three and was very excitable, so we had him gelded. After several months, he seemed to calm Read More

Foals of Non-Milking Mares

I have a gorgeous palomino Quarter Horse mare that I would like to breed, but I have a problem. She ran into barbed wire as a yearling and she cannot produce milk as a result of that accident. The man who owned her before bred her twice, and he Read More

History of the Horse

There are many scientists who have studied and theorized about how man and horses came to be together. Read More

Stallion Washing Aversion

My husband and I run a business of shipping semen from a few stallions that we board. We have some started ourselves, and some have started elsewhere. Most of them do really well with our simple collection routine. We bring them to the breeding Read More

Men vs. Women Handlers

Your answer to the question about the fellow with the peculiar method of "dominating stallions" (December 2003, www.TheHorse.com/ViewArticle.aspx?id=4749) led to a very long Read More

Breeding Your Stallion On Cue

Our stallion has a great pedigree, and we have kept him intact hoping he could eventually become a breeding stallion. We’ve put a lot of effort into getting him to show well enough to be worth breeding. He has always done really well except for Read More