Will Coyotes Really Attack Horses?
Even if they’re not yet attacking your herd, coyotes will absolutely attack horses if the circumstances are right. While a horse typically weighs about a thousand pounds (compared to a coyote’s 40), a vulnerable horse can easily become a target — to more than coyotes. Your job, then, is to eliminate any opportunity for attack — and not just coyote attack, but any smart and mobile predator attack — in every way you can.
While coyotes used to be found mainly west of the Rockies, they’re now found throughout North America, as far east as the coast. Coyote get bolder as we humans continue to encroach on their native territory. A coyote’s ability to adapt intelligently to its surroundings — and capitalize on opportunity — is nearly unparalleled.
So do coyotes attack horses? While adult horses are absolutely more of a challenge for a coyote because of their size, the sizes of foals and miniature horses are less frightening. The damage and injury to horses — especially defenseless foals — from any nocturnal predator can be serious. The trauma inflicted on these well-loved animals when a predator attacks is heartbreaking to witness, and the costs can be immeasurable. Physiological stress, behavioral stress, and crippling bodily injury often occur.
Comparative Threats of Coyote, Coydog, Cougar & Wolf
Will a coyote attack a horse? Coyotes are most likely to threaten foals and injured or less mobile horses. Coyotes are less likely to attack a healthy, full grown horse except out of desperate hunger, which then requires the help of a pack. And coyotes don’t always run in large packs, but instead as singles or in groups of two or three.
Any night predators, of course, will chase horses even if they’re not going in for the kill, causing the horses to bolt into or through fencing and resulting in serious injuries. These night predators are all intent on finding another meal and often become more aggressive if they are having a tough time finding enough food, such as during a difficult and snowy winter. Such circumstances put horses more at risk and the threats are very real to any horse owner whose herd has experienced predator attacks.
The lone roaming of coyotes is not the case when it comes to larger animals such as wolves or coydogs (cross between a coyote and a dog). Coydogs are especially threatening as they do run in packs, won’t think twice about taking down an adult horse, and attack much more aggressively. Even though adult horses might be able to defend themselves by stomping or kicking their predators to death, coydogs remain ruthless in their predatory behavior.
Cougars are clearly large and strong enough to do severe damage or kill any type of livestock — including horses — even on their own. Horses can sense the threatm and have been known to display obvious signs of fear when cougars are about.
Wolves almost always run in packs and are also efficient and patient killers, so horses won’t be safe unless they’re actively being protected.
Keep Horses Inside or Outside?
While the protection of your animals is essential, does it really matter where you keep them?
The extra labor required to bring livestock into buildings or protected paddocks each night is considerable. Also, being indoors can be hard on the animals during the extreme heat of summer.
Another option is to leave livestock out during the night hours; however, the risk of opportunistic predators prevents many people from taking the chance. Studies have shown that even an odor of coyote, wolf or bear will stress out the herd. A faint whiff is enough to increase the heart rate of horses, especially when predator movement is is also sensed.
Develop a Horse Predator Deterrent Strategy
It does seem that horses can sense the difference between predators and accurately assess threat levels. For instance, coyotes coming into or near a paddock or pasture during the day seem to have little effect on horses, but a cougar is a different story. Perhaps horses see a coyote as just another dog, whereas a larger-bodied cougar or wolf presents more of a threat. The timing of a predator visits also changes the threat level; nighttime predators are more alarming.
Even though horses have an accurate “horse sense,” proactively protecting them from harm is a constant concern. With the right safety system in place, you and your animals can live in ease and harmony.
Most predator deterrents on the market require the predators to be close enough to either activate the device (motion-activation) or sense a repellent smell. But the closer a predator gets, the less wiggle room you’ll have, and the less reaction time for a second chance at protection should the first deterrent fail.
Your best insurance against predators attacking your horses is for a deterrent to stop these predators at a distance. Nite Guard Solar does just that.
What is Nite Guard Solar?
Nite Guard Solar® is the original predator light, designed to stop horse predators before they get close enough to risk causing harm. Using solar energy for power (sunlight or daylight), Nite Guard Solar lights automatically activate at dusk, giving off a powerful flash of red light that replicate the blink of human or predator eyes. Animal behavior experts have confirmed that this flash of light effectively appears to be an “eye” at night, meaning potential predators assume they’re being watched and/or threatened and won’t venture closer.
Nite Guard Solar’s red light flash is not a nuisance to neighbors, pets, nor livestock. The flash is emitted through a weatherproof, soundless unit that appears to be a security system to any casual (or not so casual) observer —a secondary benefit that most users greatly appreciate.
Proof: Nite Guard Solar Protects Your Horses
Horse owners across the country are discovering the benefits of Nite Guard’s amazing product. One example is Dr. David Ranson, the racing manager at Equivest Racing in Charleston, WV. Ranson said this about Nite Guard Solar:
“Occasionally in the plethora of new farm/stable products that come along there is one that truly is revolutionary and useful. In my geographical area, my farm has been haunted by coyotes which would endanger my mares and foals during their nighttime turnout schedules. Since I have placed Nite Guard in my pastures and paddocks, I have not seen nor heard these predators which could harm my valuable livestock. I can now rest well at night knowing that my pastures are safe. Many thanks from Equivest Racing for the product Nite Guard.”
Meet Jim Meyer
This article was originally written by Jim Meyer. Jim Meyer is the owner and founder of Nite Guard, LLC, a company that manufactures Nite Guard Solar® and Nite Guard Repellent Tape. He has written many articles concerning predatory animals and how to repel them. His company is recognized as one of the top consulting firms on animal predation in the country.