Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Listening To Your Horse

I have noticed that my horses seem to truly appreciate it when I take action after one of their complaints. For instance, I noticed Lostine scratching her splint boots with her nose and teeth after I lunged her. Though I was ready to hop into the saddle and ride, I took the time to investigate the problem she was pointing out with her splint boots. Upon removing them, lots of dirt fell out. I shook out the boots, brushed down her legs, and reattached the boots before riding. Now we have this wonderful method of communication and a basic trust between us. She knows that if something is scratching her legs, she can tell me and I will fix it.

Another common complaint from horses is head shaking after a bridle has been put on. My horses know that I will always adjust their forelocks so that the hair isn't caught on anything, I will adjust the browband so that it isn't pulling the side straps into their eyes, and I will adjust the bit so that it isn't pinching on either side of their mouths.

Does anyone have other examples of horse complaints, how they are communicated to you, and how you fix them?

Does anyone have a great caption for this hysterical picture of Gabbrielle?


Original L said...

No caption, but that is a funny picture!

Last year I was trying yet another brand of fly spray on my mare, Mira, to see if this kind would be at least semi effective. Normally she is a very good girl about sprays, but this time she started dancing around and snorting. And then she deliberately sniffed her legs where I had just sprayed it and snorted loudly. She did that a few times, and I'm pretty sure she just hated the smell. She was trying to tell me politely, and I did listen and scuttled that fly spray also. It was really hilarious - she didn't try to get away, just made her point!

It's really cool when a horse tries to communicate with you like that.

Callie said...

Interesting, how we get real good at reading their cues. It's good that they have you and you are so in-tuned to them.

Jenn said...

Gabe will stand next to me and lean towards me if he wants his withers soon as I start scratching he'll take a step forward or backward to let me know EXACTLY where the itchy part is.

If he wants his ears rubbed, he puts his forehead against my chest and just stand there twitching his itchy ears until I comply

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

You're such a terrific Horse Mama :)

"HAAAHAHAHA! That Mr Ed really cracks me up!"

Not long ago I was getting ready to take Baby Doll out for a ride and was in the middle of brushing her when she started lifting two of her feet up, one after the other.
I dropped the brush and picked up the hoof pick and check out those two feet. In both of them were grape sized rocks inbedded in dried mud in the space between her frog and sole.
I can just imagine how painful it would have been to her if I would have mounted her without picking her feet first.
So, that was a really good reminder to always check feet before....and after riding.

Another time Val and I had been out on Baby Doll and her Appy/Paint/Arab, Scout. He had backed up into a cholla.
We got back to the barn and set him out in the arena, but decided later to go for a nite ride.

When she started brushing him he began stomping his front foot and fidgeting...seeming very irritated. She was considering not taking him out, but something told us to check his skin.

We were shocked to find numerous cholla thorns imbedded all over his rump and side!

No wonder the poor guy was so irritable.
Once we got all the thorns out he was a happy camper again.

How's that for good communication?


Angela B. said...

I love this! Yeah, my big guy was out grazing, and I was mowing the lawn... I saw one of those huge fly/bee things landing repeatedly on his rump. It was chopper sized! Anyway, he started running and then rolling, then bucking, but he couldn't shake it. I shut off the mower and went out just to see what he would do... he was so riled at that point, I doubted I could get close to him. As soon as I entered the paddock, he charged, slid to a stop in front of me, swung around and stood quietly while I reached up and killed the thing. He never moved. Once the irritant was gone, he went on eating. It was as though he had no doubt that I would, and had taken care of the problem. It was very cool!

IamRockinHorse said...

Yes, that is true, Scout was throwing fits! Stamping and pawing like he never had before. Poor thing, I can just imagine how the brush must have irritated his skin.

Another time he was going wild shaking and tossing his head, I checked inside his ear and there was a little spider.

A long time ago, I had a dutch door in my "L" shaped barn that I used to leave half open. There was a mirror on the wall positioned so that I see my mare in her stall even when I was around the corner from her. I'd yell when she pawed or kicked impatiently for food or boredom. She quickly learned she could see me too. I used to see her watching me. ;)

Now, I have noticed my mare will look towards my kitchen window across the field when my lights are on in early morning and late at night. I'm sure she can see me whenever I move around in the kitchen.

dp said...

Tonka is like a giant cat. If I hold out my hand he will position himself so that it's resting on the place he wants scratched. It is very endearing.

Grey Horse Matters said...

i'm sure she's happy about you emptying out the sand from her boots. That's like have sand rubbing in your bathing suit, irritating. I can usually tell what my herd is thinking, they seem to point out things pretty well. Especially spots they need scratched, they touch it with their noses and wait for the rub.

Denise- LessIsMore17 said...

Sorry, no caption for that lovely pic! :-)
I know when Lester runs around screaming like a baby in his pasture that that is his way of asking me nicely to come get him out of the heat and bugs:-)

Tongue out means give me a treat please.

But I know what you mean, they are telling us things all the time and it's our jobs to listen and help them out!

Katee said...

About a week ago I started riding my horse in a drop nose caveson again. We'd been riding without it for about a year, but it was time to start using it again. He hasn't been thrilled about it, but has been behaving himself nevertheless.

Until last night. As soon as I touched the reins he threw his head in the air and tossed his nose around. I went another lap of the arena, but every time I moved his reins I got a head toss. Was he just being ornery or was something wrong? I gave him the benefit of the doubt, hopped off and after quite a bit of work (he kept tossing his head when I'd touch the caveson) I managed to get it off. I found a long, fresh cut under his jaw right where the caveson was resting. Ouch!

Took the caveson off, got back on, and he was perfect. I agree that listening to your horse is a GREAT thing to do.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Those are all great examples. Thanks for sharing.