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Red Hawk
Clinician



USA
5092 Posts

Posted - 12/19/2005 :  10:21:41 AM  Show Profile Send Red Hawk a Private Message
I don't know if we're talking about the same thing, but when I scratch certain spots on Terra, she will stretch out her head straight out in front of her with a clicking (snapping) of her teeth with her lips pulled back from her teeth almost like she's trying to smile. Her favorite spots are along or either side of her spine, on either side of her withers, on her shoulder, and on her chest.

When I first brought Terra home, she was 10 months old and looking for a friend in Dove. She went up to him and tried to do mutual grooming. this is when 2 horses will use their teeth to scratch each other's backs at the same time. Unfortunately, Dove wanted none of it, and chased her off.

Then she discovered that I could scratch her favorite places. She loves it, but the first thing she tried to do was groom me back like she would with another horse. She had no idea that it hurt and was actually her nipping me! I put a stop to it right away, though she never did understand why I didn't like to be groomed back since I am part of her family... her 'herd'. So, since she isn't allowed to try and chew up my shoulder, she will click her teeth in sheer enjoyment of me scratching her favorite itchy spots. This is the way she satisfies her need to return the favor I'm doing to her since she's no longer allowed to 'groom' me in return.

So, when your horse is wiggling that upper lip with her neck stretched out as far as it will go and starts clicking her teeth together, it's a sign of enjoyment instead of displeasure.

"God forbid that I should go to any heaven in which there are no horses"
--Robert Browning

Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow. Don't walk behind me, I may not lead. Just walk beside me and be my friend.
-- Author Unknown
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Red Hawk
Clinician



USA
5092 Posts

Posted - 12/19/2005 :  10:21:41 AM  Show Profile Send Red Hawk a Private Message
I don't know if we're talking about the same thing, but when I scratch certain spots on Terra, she will stretch out her head straight out in front of her with a clicking (snapping) of her teeth with her lips pulled back from her teeth almost like she's trying to smile. Her favorite spots are along or either side of her spine, on either side of her withers, on her shoulder, and on her chest.

When I first brought Terra home, she was 10 months old and looking for a friend in Dove. She went up to him and tried to do mutual grooming. this is when 2 horses will use their teeth to scratch each other's backs at the same time. Unfortunately, Dove wanted none of it, and chased her off.

Then she discovered that I could scratch her favorite places. She loves it, but the first thing she tried to do was groom me back like she would with another horse. She had no idea that it hurt and was actually her nipping me! I put a stop to it right away, though she never did understand why I didn't like to be groomed back since I am part of her family... her 'herd'. So, since she isn't allowed to try and chew up my shoulder, she will click her teeth in sheer enjoyment of me scratching her favorite itchy spots. This is the way she satisfies her need to return the favor I'm doing to her since she's no longer allowed to 'groom' me in return.

So, when your horse is wiggling that upper lip with her neck stretched out as far as it will go and starts clicking her teeth together, it's a sign of enjoyment instead of displeasure.

"God forbid that I should go to any heaven in which there are no horses"
--Robert Browning

Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow. Don't walk behind me, I may not lead. Just walk beside me and be my friend.
-- Author Unknown
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alidansma
Tenderfoot

7 Posts

Posted - 12/19/2005 :  11:56:32 AM  Show Profile  Visit alidansma's Homepage Send alidansma a Private Message
Okay that's it! I am going to have to set up my video camera and go thru a whole grooming session with her and then play it back so I can see what is actually going on. It is tough to pay attention to the horses head when I am picking feet...maybe that will give me more information in what is actually going on. The other day I saw her trying to itch a spot on the front of her shoulder and she couldn't quite tuck her head in enough to do it, so I scratched for her and I think it was the first time I ever saw her look greatful with her neck out and her top lip curled up...It seemed like she was thinking - wow the human is actually good for something other than food - weird!

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alidansma
Tenderfoot

7 Posts

Posted - 12/19/2005 :  11:56:32 AM  Show Profile  Visit alidansma's Homepage Send alidansma a Private Message
Okay that's it! I am going to have to set up my video camera and go thru a whole grooming session with her and then play it back so I can see what is actually going on. It is tough to pay attention to the horses head when I am picking feet...maybe that will give me more information in what is actually going on. The other day I saw her trying to itch a spot on the front of her shoulder and she couldn't quite tuck her head in enough to do it, so I scratched for her and I think it was the first time I ever saw her look greatful with her neck out and her top lip curled up...It seemed like she was thinking - wow the human is actually good for something other than food - weird!

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Frost
Beginning Rider



USA
115 Posts

Posted - 12/19/2005 :  1:55:40 PM  Show Profile  Visit Frost's Homepage Send Frost a Private Message
..."with her neck out and her top lip curled up" The lip curl is actually a sort of "sniff" so to speak. Horses have extrasensory smell precetion and they do this to enhance or smell something unique. It's called a Flehmen response. Now you can go to your horse encyclopedia and look that one up.

Vern

Former Nebraskan...
"The quickest way to double your money is to fold it over and put it back in your pocket."

'May the HORSE be with you!' Gentle as possible, yet firm as necessary.
"I like to ride bareback, and sometimes I even wear a shirt!"
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Frost
Beginning Rider



USA
115 Posts

Posted - 12/19/2005 :  1:55:40 PM  Show Profile  Visit Frost's Homepage Send Frost a Private Message
..."with her neck out and her top lip curled up" The lip curl is actually a sort of "sniff" so to speak. Horses have extrasensory smell precetion and they do this to enhance or smell something unique. It's called a Flehmen response. Now you can go to your horse encyclopedia and look that one up.

Vern

Former Nebraskan...
"The quickest way to double your money is to fold it over and put it back in your pocket."

'May the HORSE be with you!' Gentle as possible, yet firm as necessary.
"I like to ride bareback, and sometimes I even wear a shirt!"
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OnTheWay
Clinician

1433 Posts

Posted - 12/21/2005 :  10:38:35 AM  Show Profile Send OnTheWay a Private Message
I have a question about the ears back where Hook wrote, "If you feel uncomfortable with the ear position make sure she know that you "DON'T LIKE IT" and she will learn quickly how to please you to get her feed.

Let's say a horse has its ears back farther than you want to see (showing annoyance, not pinned as in "warning"). Cloud will sometimes do this when I go to put a halter on her, particularly if she's in her indoor pen. Does the horse KNOW that her ears are back and that if you correct her, that's what you're objecting to? Sometimes I will do a verbal along the lines, "No, get those ears forward," and will actually push them forward. Can I assume she knows I'm talking about attitude?
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OnTheWay
Clinician

1433 Posts

Posted - 12/21/2005 :  10:38:35 AM  Show Profile Send OnTheWay a Private Message
I have a question about the ears back where Hook wrote, "If you feel uncomfortable with the ear position make sure she know that you "DON'T LIKE IT" and she will learn quickly how to please you to get her feed.

Let's say a horse has its ears back farther than you want to see (showing annoyance, not pinned as in "warning"). Cloud will sometimes do this when I go to put a halter on her, particularly if she's in her indoor pen. Does the horse KNOW that her ears are back and that if you correct her, that's what you're objecting to? Sometimes I will do a verbal along the lines, "No, get those ears forward," and will actually push them forward. Can I assume she knows I'm talking about attitude?
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ree7
Advanced Rider

USA
164 Posts

Posted - 12/21/2005 :  10:49:51 AM  Show Profile  Visit ree7's Homepage Send ree7 a Private Message
Just be sure not to micro-manage a horse. Sometimes I find that whistling a tune, humming or singing/talking will bring the ears forward and get the horse to relax and forget a cranky 'tude. Constantly worrying/analyzing about position of the ears will drive you and the horse nuts. Relax and enjoy time spent with the horse instead of searching for tiny signs that might, or might not, be disrespect. A true show of disrespect will be pretty evident, as stated by others, with the stiff neck etc. and a change of voice "stop that", and then going back to calm whistling/talking seems to work for me. Micro-managing every little ear twitch is not good. JMHO
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ree7
Advanced Rider

USA
164 Posts

Posted - 12/21/2005 :  10:49:51 AM  Show Profile  Visit ree7's Homepage Send ree7 a Private Message
Just be sure not to micro-manage a horse. Sometimes I find that whistling a tune, humming or singing/talking will bring the ears forward and get the horse to relax and forget a cranky 'tude. Constantly worrying/analyzing about position of the ears will drive you and the horse nuts. Relax and enjoy time spent with the horse instead of searching for tiny signs that might, or might not, be disrespect. A true show of disrespect will be pretty evident, as stated by others, with the stiff neck etc. and a change of voice "stop that", and then going back to calm whistling/talking seems to work for me. Micro-managing every little ear twitch is not good. JMHO
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Frost
Beginning Rider



USA
115 Posts

Posted - 12/21/2005 :  9:52:35 PM  Show Profile  Visit Frost's Homepage Send Frost a Private Message
You can't disipline a horse for having it's ears back further than you like if you are doing someting to the horse at the time. They won't undestand, and will assume it is totally unrelated to their ears. Which is like disciplining a child for raising it's eyebrows when you reprimand it for something. A horse that is repripanded for having ears back while bridling/haltering will "assume" or put 2+2 together and think it's punsihment results fromt he bridle/halter and will soon learn a conditioned response of apprehension anytime it sees a bridle or halter.


Vern

Former Nebraskan...
"The quickest way to double your money is to fold it over and put it back in your pocket."

'May the HORSE be with you!' Gentle as possible, yet firm as necessary.
"I like to ride bareback, and sometimes I even wear a shirt!"
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Frost
Beginning Rider



USA
115 Posts

Posted - 12/21/2005 :  9:52:35 PM  Show Profile  Visit Frost's Homepage Send Frost a Private Message
You can't disipline a horse for having it's ears back further than you like if you are doing someting to the horse at the time. They won't undestand, and will assume it is totally unrelated to their ears. Which is like disciplining a child for raising it's eyebrows when you reprimand it for something. A horse that is repripanded for having ears back while bridling/haltering will "assume" or put 2+2 together and think it's punsihment results fromt he bridle/halter and will soon learn a conditioned response of apprehension anytime it sees a bridle or halter.


Vern

Former Nebraskan...
"The quickest way to double your money is to fold it over and put it back in your pocket."

'May the HORSE be with you!' Gentle as possible, yet firm as necessary.
"I like to ride bareback, and sometimes I even wear a shirt!"
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Saddletramp
Trail Boss (Moderator)



USA
2546 Posts

Posted - 12/21/2005 :  11:29:04 PM  Show Profile  Visit Saddletramp's Homepage Send Saddletramp a Private Message
OTW-
Usually the ears will go back softly when haltering (or bridling) as a protective measure. The horse wants to "protect" it's ears (which also allows the halter to slip over very nicely) and will kind of get them out of the way for you...is this what might be going on with Cloud? If this IS the case, I don't reprimand them for this slight act of self-preservation.

-Saddletramp

"She never moved the stars from their courses,
but she loved a good man and she rode good horses"
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Saddletramp
Trail Boss (Moderator)



USA
2546 Posts

Posted - 12/21/2005 :  11:29:04 PM  Show Profile  Visit Saddletramp's Homepage Send Saddletramp a Private Message
OTW-
Usually the ears will go back softly when haltering (or bridling) as a protective measure. The horse wants to "protect" it's ears (which also allows the halter to slip over very nicely) and will kind of get them out of the way for you...is this what might be going on with Cloud? If this IS the case, I don't reprimand them for this slight act of self-preservation.

-Saddletramp

"She never moved the stars from their courses,
but she loved a good man and she rode good horses"
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Hook
Trail Boss (Moderator)



Canada
6115 Posts

Posted - 12/22/2005 :  05:11:00 AM  Show Profile  Visit Hook's Homepage Send Hook a Private Message
Just use some common sense. The ears alone are not the sole indicator of a horse attitude. I am sure that you will know when the horse is upset or agressive or just curious. Trust your instincts.

Hook(ed)......on Horses

"The best things in life are nearest: Breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you. Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life's plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life. " Author: Robert Louis Stevenson
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Hook
Trail Boss (Moderator)



Canada
6115 Posts

Posted - 12/22/2005 :  05:11:00 AM  Show Profile  Visit Hook's Homepage Send Hook a Private Message
Just use some common sense. The ears alone are not the sole indicator of a horse attitude. I am sure that you will know when the horse is upset or agressive or just curious. Trust your instincts.

Hook(ed)......on Horses

"The best things in life are nearest: Breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you. Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life's plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life. " Author: Robert Louis Stevenson
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OnTheWay
Clinician

1433 Posts

Posted - 12/22/2005 :  08:15:50 AM  Show Profile Send OnTheWay a Private Message
Oh no, ST, this is ears back before I've even looped the rope over her neck, or as I am. This doesn't happen out in the paddock when I'm getting ready to halter her. Only when I approach her with it in her indoor pen. (She has some sort of little "attitude" when she's in her indoor pen.) It's not severely laid back, but it's definitely a show of annoyance.

I guess that was my question right there. When ears go back --not laid back, but definitely oriented back, and this is when not otherwise explainable by a halter going over them or whatever-- is that to be taken as her purposely giving a meaningful cue? Or is it just some unaware physical manefestation that goes along with, "Oh dang, a halter." I see the same thing if I'm putting a saddle on her, but I don't know if it's just a reaction, or if it's in the category of body language communication.
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OnTheWay
Clinician

1433 Posts

Posted - 12/22/2005 :  08:15:50 AM  Show Profile Send OnTheWay a Private Message
Oh no, ST, this is ears back before I've even looped the rope over her neck, or as I am. This doesn't happen out in the paddock when I'm getting ready to halter her. Only when I approach her with it in her indoor pen. (She has some sort of little "attitude" when she's in her indoor pen.) It's not severely laid back, but it's definitely a show of annoyance.

I guess that was my question right there. When ears go back --not laid back, but definitely oriented back, and this is when not otherwise explainable by a halter going over them or whatever-- is that to be taken as her purposely giving a meaningful cue? Or is it just some unaware physical manefestation that goes along with, "Oh dang, a halter." I see the same thing if I'm putting a saddle on her, but I don't know if it's just a reaction, or if it's in the category of body language communication.
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fracturedbones
Clinician



3424 Posts

Posted - 12/22/2005 :  11:31:22 AM  Show Profile  Visit fracturedbones's Homepage Send fracturedbones a Private Message
Takes time to know what your horse is really getting pissy about, and if being nasty enough to follow up with pissy type actions. My mare....I KNOW!! The geldings pretty subtle and really don't see it...(better behaved) Think I'd give benefit of doubt if not sure. watch and learn.
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fracturedbones
Clinician



3424 Posts

Posted - 12/22/2005 :  11:31:22 AM  Show Profile  Visit fracturedbones's Homepage Send fracturedbones a Private Message
Takes time to know what your horse is really getting pissy about, and if being nasty enough to follow up with pissy type actions. My mare....I KNOW!! The geldings pretty subtle and really don't see it...(better behaved) Think I'd give benefit of doubt if not sure. watch and learn.
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OnTheWay
Clinician

1433 Posts

Posted - 12/22/2005 :  12:08:08 PM  Show Profile Send OnTheWay a Private Message
That's what I'm thinking. She was really snitty a couple of weeks ago when she'd be in her indoor pen and I'd be outside of it on the other side of the tape and wasn't moving towrd the hay fast enough, lol. But I've made a point since then to be in it with her more often, and when I bring her hay, instead of just pushing it in (for my convenience actually) I get in WITH it, and make her back up before I'll set it down. It's actually been kind of positive training, because in this specific case, she does what I want, she gets hay. No more crowding me.

She's a hard horse to get to know. She's not the affectionate type. That's good in a way, because she keeps extremely well without a barn companion. But the other side is that she's just kind of aloof by nature. It's just her. Moody also. I now know what "marish" means. LOL.
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OnTheWay
Clinician

1433 Posts

Posted - 12/22/2005 :  12:08:08 PM  Show Profile Send OnTheWay a Private Message
That's what I'm thinking. She was really snitty a couple of weeks ago when she'd be in her indoor pen and I'd be outside of it on the other side of the tape and wasn't moving towrd the hay fast enough, lol. But I've made a point since then to be in it with her more often, and when I bring her hay, instead of just pushing it in (for my convenience actually) I get in WITH it, and make her back up before I'll set it down. It's actually been kind of positive training, because in this specific case, she does what I want, she gets hay. No more crowding me.

She's a hard horse to get to know. She's not the affectionate type. That's good in a way, because she keeps extremely well without a barn companion. But the other side is that she's just kind of aloof by nature. It's just her. Moody also. I now know what "marish" means. LOL.
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fracturedbones
Clinician



3424 Posts

Posted - 12/23/2005 :  11:36:32 AM  Show Profile  Visit fracturedbones's Homepage Send fracturedbones a Private Message
My TB mare is more affectionate with the kids than with me...also with MEN! Just loves them and makes me think perhaps first owner was a male. Aloof some days. Take joys in those subtle displays of affection and trust. They sure are all different, just like folks.
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fracturedbones
Clinician



3424 Posts

Posted - 12/23/2005 :  11:36:32 AM  Show Profile  Visit fracturedbones's Homepage Send fracturedbones a Private Message
My TB mare is more affectionate with the kids than with me...also with MEN! Just loves them and makes me think perhaps first owner was a male. Aloof some days. Take joys in those subtle displays of affection and trust. They sure are all different, just like folks.
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OnTheWay
Clinician

1433 Posts

Posted - 12/23/2005 :  6:50:15 PM  Show Profile Send OnTheWay a Private Message
Bones, she's totally aloof, but one night I was brushing her, and I have this super soft brush I do her face with. When I first got her, she was funny about having her face done, but she quickly got to where she trusts me to be gentle, even to pick off the little stuck on "sleep" from the corners of her eyes. Well, as I was doing her face, her eyes were getting more and more relaxed. I got up by her ears, scratching, and she started leaning into my hands, obviously liking the whole thing. After all that, she lowered her head and very gently pushed it into my chest. Not in any way pushy, it was like a really soft, gentle contact, and she held it for a while, just sort of a time out. She NEVER does that, so I was duly flattered. I wish she'd be more like that, it was really loveable.

I've read that horses also tend to respond well to the sound of laughter. Maybe it sounds like a whinny to them or something, but when I laugh, she seems to perk up and notice. It's all really pretty cute. I'm AVOIDING even seeing a mini up close, I think I'd be a real sucker for one of those. I'd actually get one if I had the right kind of fencing, but knowing me, it would be in the house sleeping on the couch with the dog.
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