Equinophobia: It’s for real

And even 6-foot, 211-lb. NFL players are not immune. Let’s have a look at what is it, how it begins and why it’s not the strangest animal phobia by far.

Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry is one of the NFL’s hardest-hitting defensive players. But there’s one thing that strikes fear in his heart, even when he’s wearing his helmet and pads. Berry, a first-round draft pick and two-time All American at the University of Tennessee who was selected to the Pro Bowl in his rookie season (that’s like the All Star team for the NFL), has “equinophobia” (also referred to as “hippophobia.”) Which is problematic since the Kansas City Chief’s team mascot, a horse named Warpaint, traditionally trots around the field whenever the Chiefs score.

Earlier this week, NFL Films took an in-depth look at Berry’s aversion to horses. Click the image below to view the video at NFL.com:

People who suffer from equinophobia may experience feelings of terror, anxiety, trembling, panic, palpitations, shortness of breath, a sudden increase in pulse rate, nausea or crying when they think of a horse or a horse is near them.

The phobia often begins with a negative experience with horses during one’s childhood. In Berry’s case, he got bitten by a horse at the petting zoo. Many times, after having a bad experience, people avoid the trigger (in this cases horses) and gradually the fear develops into a full blown phobia.

Berry isn’t the only celebrity who suffers from equinophobia. Actress Kristen Stewart, a self-professed equinophobe, ran into trouble while filming Snow White and the Huntsman.


Stewart, who had to gallop along a beach in Wales for the role, told PeoplePets.com: “I was really, really not happy about having to do all that [horseback riding]. I don’t like that–I hate that.”

She went on: “I hate ‘em. I fell off a horse once and hurt myself really badly. I broke and dislocated my elbow when I was, like, nine.”

Here is Stewart discussing her fear of horses on the Jay Leno Show:

Equinophobia is actually one of the less strange animal fears that people harbor. A few other unusual celebrity phobias:

  • Jake Gyllenhaal has a fear of ostriches (struthiphobia)
  • David Beckham has a fear of birds (ornithophobia)
  • Eminem has a fear of owls (alektorophobia)
  • La Toya Jackson has a fear of cats (ailurophobia)
  • Orlando Bloom has a fear of pigs (swinophobia)
  • Lyle Lovett has a fear of cows (bovinophobia)
  • Nicole Kidman has a fear of butterflies (lepidopterophobia)
  • Tyra Banks has a fear of dolphins (delfiniphobia)
  • Katie Holmes has a fear of racoons (agrizoophobia)

Go Riding!


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