Signs of Pain in HorsesBy Kentucky Equine Research Staff · March 21, 2011

Horses that repeatedly assume a stretched-out posture as if to urinate but do not produce urine may be indicating they have some sort of abdominal pain or discomfort. The pain could be originating from the digestive tract or from other areas of the horse's body. Horses that show this sign should be checked by a veterinarian to determine the source of the discomfort.

Signs of colic are more likely to be caused by gastrointestinal pain rather than from a problem somewhere in the urinary tract. Discomfort is rarely a result of so-called “kidney colic.”         

Back pain is another common cause of changed behavior such as bucking, jigging, refusing to work, teeth-grinding, tail-wringing, and stiff gaits. Back pain doesn't have to be severe to cause resistance and unwillingness to work. Some back discomfort can be hard to diagnose, even with a careful examination, so don't rule out the possibility until the horse has been thoroughly checked by a veterinarian.