Can Horses Go Down Stairs? A Quick Answer

Can Horses Go Down Stairs? is a common asked question by horse lovers. Going up and downstairs is tiring for humans and few animals can do that.

Animals like cows and goats etc prefer to live and walk on plain surfaces. Can horses go downstairs? This question comes into our mind as they are sweeping generations and are pretty adaptable. So they can or can not be made to walk downstairs?

It’s kind of hard to walk them downstairs

Yes, you have read it right. Like cows, they are bigger animals and they find it almost impossible to go downstairs. 

Can Horses Go Down Stairs?

Can Horses Go Down Stairs? Yes, Horses can go down stairs with training. They are afraid in a start just like humans as they observe the new thing. You have horses and cows going up and down in the circuses. They are just like all their cousins, no exception. If Training made it possible for them it can make it possible for your horse too. But how can you train them? We will discuss this at the end of this article.

What makes it hard for horses?

Pet horses are much more difficult to handle than the wild horses when it comes to climbing the stairs. They have been spending their life on even ground in the backyard and they have pretty much never faced such situations before. Besides this, it is impossible for all horses for a number of reasons. And they are:

Body structure

The body structure is one of the main reasons why horses and cows find it impossible to go downstairs.  Their inability to see the ground, inability to bend knees like humans, the design of their hips, knees, head, and everything about their body makes it a hard nut to crack.

Weight distribution

Weight distribution is also another reason that makes going downstairs a life-threatening thing to do. Going up and downstairs is easy for humans because they have the ability to shift weight. Weight management is something a horse and cow will never be able to learn. So, you better avoid thinking of taking up and downstairs.


Like us and all other animals, they are afraid of trying new things. It’s new and hard at the same time as they have spent most of their life walking, running, and moving on plain surfaces. 

horses going down stairs


They are pretty heavy. Their weight comes in the way when walking downstairs. Staying stable with most of their weight on their front legs makes it almost impossible.

Structure of bones and joints

The structure of their bones and joints are not even a bit like humans. And their joints and bones are also not that flexible to get them downstairs.

They are for humans

Stairs are for humans, not for animals like horses and cows. They are made keeping the structure of the human body in mind. We can shift weight, we can see, and we can bend our knees but horses can not. 

But you can still make it possible

Yes, it can be made possible by following these safety steps

How to Train Horses Going Down Stairs

Desensitization Training

The first thing you need to do is to throw their fear out of the window. Desensitization training helps in overcoming the fear of new things. By the end of this training, your horse will be ready to face unusual situations. 

Make them walk on unparalleled ground

Take them to new places and make them walk on less even surfaces. Keep doing this until you are satisfied.

Take them up and down on extra wide and less steeped stairs

Extra-wide and less steeped stairs can give this whole process a good start. Make them go one or two steps higher one day, add one more step the other day. Don’t be cruel, gradually add this routine to their life.

Arrange an alternative

As you are walking your horse for the first time. Make sure you have an alternative way to come down. It could be a lift or something.

Train them in bright sunlight

You may think it’s not that important, but it is. As we know horses and cows cannot see the ground in such situations. They are already a victim of poor visibility so making them do this daunting task after sunset or on a rainy day is simply asking for more trouble. To make it less difficult for them you have to train them in the bright sunlight. And your stairs should also not be slippery.

Take help

Human aid is necessary to take them up and downstairs. Have two or three of your friends by your side to avoid injuries.

Have patience

It will take days for some and weeks for others to get used to this new routine. So have patience, let this poor creature take some time to accept this challenging task.

Why is this training necessary?

Their life is as important as ours. We have seen horses and cows walking up and down in circuses in no time. Have you ever wondered why is it not hard for them? Practice made it possible for them. These safety measures are important to keep them and their owners safe.

Risks, you need to be aware of

Yes, there are some risks you really need to be aware of. Number one is injuries obviously. Your horse may lose control and you and your horse may fall off the stairs. You and he can face head and neck injuries. The other risk attached to it is the horse’s unusual behaviour. Because of this not so easy task and the blood pressure build, they can behave differently. So get ready to face some challenges.

can horses climb

A piece of advice for the horse owner

Do not make them do this if it can be avoided. But if it’s still a need of the hour build a better horse-friendly staircase. It should not get slippery, less steep, and extra wide. If possible, find an alternative way of coming down as going up is a little easy.

More Facts About Horses


Going downstairs is nearly impossible for horses that are not used for unusual situations. Their body structure and inability to handle weight are the biggest hindrances. But with training, it is somewhat possible. If I have to answer if they can go up and downstairs or not? I think saying they can go up and downstairs is more appropriate if the stairs are horse-friendly(wide and less steep).


Hi, I am Waqar and active in the horse world since 2012. I have MSc (Hons) in Agriculture from the University of Agriculture Faisalabad. I love to solve equine health care issues and note down in the form of research papers. I have written hundreds of equine health care, accessories, names, and history-related blogs. My equine related work is watering a lot of horse-related magazines and blogs.

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