Abstract Horses displaying an oral stereotypy were tested on an instrumental choice paradigm to examine differences in learning from non-stereotypic counterparts. Stereotypic horses are known to have dysfunction of the dorsomedial striatum, and lesion studies have shown that this region may mediate response-outcome learning. The paradigm was specifically applied in order to examine learning that requires maintenance of response–outcome judgements. The non-stereotypic horses learned, over three sessions, to choose a more immediate reinforcer, whereas the stereotypic horses failed to do so. This suggests an initial behavioural correlate for dorsomedial striatum dysregulation in the stereotypy phenotype.