On horses and listening to them

Discussion in 'Horse Training' started by CarlisleChipper, Jan 9, 2019.

  1. CarlisleChipper

    CarlisleChipper Senior Member+

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    So biting or threatening to bite is what I know to be a signal of “stop that, you’re hurting me.” If not in the obvious violent manner.

    I’ve introduced 2 new boarders on my property. All 4 horses have lived together before, before I bought Henry. Well there was some scuffling and Henry was promtly put at the bottom of the herd, he actually is separated because they were driving him from hay and injuring him. They ripped off his shoe and his bell boot! Anyways. Back at the barn to ride and have shoe put back on. Brushing his chest and he threatens to bite. Switch to a softer brush, still threatening. So I palpate for any injuries to his chest and there may be some bruising that is obviously not visible. No breaks to the skin. Is this a likely scenario? Do you reprimand for threatening to bite if it’s used to communicate pain? He has never bit me but has threatened to in situations like this. Perhaps it is my fault he has escalated to this level when there are obvious other way to communicate such as body tension and ears that I probably missed before.
    Thoughts? To clarify I did not reprimand him just now or give threatening body language in return, I stopped to listen and change what I was doing for his benefit. Also don’t want to take crap from him either if you know what I mean.
     
  2. Mcdreamer

    Mcdreamer Senior Member

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    First off, good on you for being able to step back and be curious about why your horse is doing something so that you can better listen. :cheerleader:

    If my horse suddenly does a behavior out of the ordinary (like biting) my first instinct is to check for pain. If oliver ever threatened to bite me I would know that something was amiss as he has never once in his whole life been aggressive in anyway shape of form. Any sudden change in behavior should always be investigated for pain or discomfort on some level or stress. Your Henry might be super stressed with the new boarders coming in and taking it out on you. Or he might be hurting somewhere. A mare I worked with before HATED her chest touched or brushed. She ended up having navicular. As soon as she had special shoes all the grumpy behavior went away.

    There are a few horses out there that are jerks just because they get away with it but most of the time, there's a good reason for it.
     
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  3. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    If my horse landed a bite on me I'd have to punish him. If he pinned his ears and made a gesture at me to show me he was hurting and 'don't touch that', I'd say 'no', but would still check the area.

    Except for Wuss Horse, who points to 'things that hurt.' He points his nose to parts of himself that require attention. He will come and get you, touch you with his nose, and then touch the part of him that is hurt.

    He's done this enough times now that it can't be considered coincidence.

    Then no matter how gently you touch the part, he's all OW! OW! Don't touch it! (lifts his head or pulls his leg away or whatever).

    "Don't you want me to look at it?"

    "NOOOOO!!!!!"

    "Then why did you tell me about it?"

    "I... I don't know..."

    "Alright, I'm going to put salve on it....this will make it feel better."

    "NO.....!"

    "Does it feel better?"

    "Why...yes..."
     
  4. emali06

    emali06 Senior Member

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    He likely has been repeatedly kicked to the chest so I would assume he is painful. Poor guy! I am glad you separated them. I honestly would not be able to handle having my horse in a group situation unless all the brats were mine.
     
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  5. DocsLglyBlonde

    DocsLglyBlonde Senior Member

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    Same here as others! I'd reprimand if they actually made contact with me, but likely just give an "AH-AH" noise for threatening, before carefully examining the area in question. Even if something is painful I don't want to get bitten, and don't want them thinking biting is acceptable ever, but I also don't want to make them think they cannot express when they're in pain. Good on you for listening! I agree he likely got kicked in the chest or something similar.
     
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  6. CarlisleChipper

    CarlisleChipper Senior Member+

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    Well the farrier reset his shoe without issue. Got on to ride and he was fine at the walk but very off on the right front at the trot. So I got off. Our best guess is stone bruise from getting off the trailer without that shoe even though he tested negative with the hoof testers. Hoof tester not great at testing the heel bulb because he has a 2 degree wedge and a bar shoe there.

    Timeline of events yesterday at 340pm lofty floating trot through the pasture without a shoe (didn’t notice yet but have video to prove his soundness!) Not yet separated from herd.
    Quick trip to tractor supply, gone for an hour. Get back and separate them immediately, no more injuries and still seems sound.
    This morning going to put him on the trailer he is fine. First step getting off the trailer very Ouchy. Followed by threatening to bite when touching chest area. My riding instructor assessed him and found him to be ouchy around the girth area between his front legs and his chest.

    Our best guess is stone bruise in the hoof from being without his shoe for less than 24 hrs and stepped on a stone when unloading. Not sure how to assess the damage of a kick to the chest or shoulder when it wasn’t enough to break the skin. The 2 new geldings don’t have shoes.

    Farrier said if it’s a shoeing issue his pain will get worse over the next two days. How long does it take a stone bruise to heal? Was hoping to reassess next Tuesday before our lesson. He’s never been off or lame before.
     
  7. DocsLglyBlonde

    DocsLglyBlonde Senior Member

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    Sounds more like soft tissue to me. Remember it can certainly be worse a day or two after the injury. I'd do some very gentle massage in the area, increasing pressure as tolerated. I'd also check your girth. My mare got incredibly sore pecks from a girl that was no longer working for her.

    With that said, it can also be a stone bruise. They can vary how long they take to heal, and you just want to ensure an abscess doesn't form. I've had them feel better after a bruise anywhere from a week + and have had the farrier put pour in pads in (like a silicone packing) as well as nothing and all healed fine.
     
  8. Dona Worry

    Dona Worry Senior Member

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    My horse was cast in her stall recently, and a couple of days after had a farrier visit. She was STIFF. She was OUCHY. She didn't WANT to give up her feet. And she told us alllllll about it. Not mean, just pulling her feet away and mad faces.
    A sympathetic tone of voice, a couple of very gentle pats, and keeping the feet low to the ground, and she was good as gold again-- she just wanted her discomfort acknowledged.
    As long as your horse doesn't actually bite, I think let him have his say, then use your most sickly sweet sympathy tone and investigate the area indicated by whatever means necessary.
     
  9. manesntails

    manesntails Senior Member

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    I only read the OP.

    FIRST, tell me you didn't put them all together at once. I don't care if they knew each other before, they need to be socialized over a fence for a couple weeks. You never throw horses out together that haven't been together because it mucks up herd dynamics. Niw they all vie for position in the herd.

    He probably got the tar kicked out of him. They didn't remove his shoe and bell boot, he did.

    You DO reprimand biting, by blocking. You never hit a horse back for attempting <<<<ATTEMPTING, to bite, you block instead. Hitting back makes it a game of play. You only hit FIRST if you are about to be grabbed by the neck. Otherwise, you “hit first“ by putting your elbow up to block it. Never strike back after a horse tries to bite.

    Do not put them back out together. Let them get to know each other for a couple weeks, THEN, let the two, that RESIDE there, in with the new ones. Posession is 99% of the law: the new ones do not invade the old ones spaces. The ones who were already there, go into unfamiliar territory, with the new ones. Less fuss that way.
     
  10. CarlisleChipper

    CarlisleChipper Senior Member+

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    Yep lesson learned. Glad no serious injuries. I watched them for a while when I let them out, there was no immediate issue. The two new ones rode back home in the trailer with Henry no problem (Tuesday). They get right along fine with Ever, Henry’s pasture mate. It’s just Henry that was cast out!
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2019

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