When a horse stops working and shows his teeth at you, then what? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 19 Old 07-22-2013, 12:10 AM Thread Starter
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I didn't realize until recently that the lifting of the lip was called Flehems. I had just read that not too long ago. I've seen horses do it at random times. Like there is one horse at the barn who likes to paw his food dish until it flips over and then he'll do the lip thing. Another horse there will turn her lip up if you offer her watermelon or some food she hates. She also turns her lip if you spray fly spray or put on some kind of stinky salve.
Then I've seen a couple of horses bare their teeth and lunge. I remember at the one barn where I used to live there was a horse who'd pin his ears and bare his teeth if you walked past his stall when he was eating. It was really obvious that it was total aggression on his part.

Yesterday I was just confused and kind of frightened for the moment. There was no doubt brattiness and unwillingness involved. The rolkur-like thing he was doing with his neck, while looked pretty, was the beginning of him starting to slow down and balk. Then when I tried to make him go again was when he did the lip thing. He didn't paw or pin his ears. That I would have been able to read.
He did however, stomp hard a few times around the lunge and there was some tail swishing going on. So I know he wasn't pleased to be working.

Usandpets, that is cute that your wife's horse does that and I'd feel better if I knew it was a "nah nah" thing like tlking1 mentioned and that it wasn't aggression.

Either way, I will definitely take a firmer hand on him next time.
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post #12 of 19 Old 07-22-2013, 12:17 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deserthorsewoman View Post
Arching neck, then the flehmen means a sharp pain, not necessarily lasting long. Flehmen can be a sign of pain, I've seen it with colicky horses.
So, I'd probably have him, especially with him having been a roping horse, checked out by a chiropractor or massage therapist, before thinking about harsher measures.
Really? I didn't know that. I know that he just had his vaccinations earlier in the week but my trainer said he was good to go. Do you think that it could have been the vaccination site?
I will definitely ask my trainer about getting him checked. I know she's going to say he's fine and he was testing me. And I'm sure he was. But if there was pain involved that could explain that weird reaction of the neck and lip.
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post #13 of 19 Old 07-22-2013, 12:19 AM
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If he was stomping, slinging his head from side to side, and pawing, it's him expressing his displeasure about working, either from just pure laziness and his belief that you cannot move his feet if he really gets balky, or from him saying "going this direction hurts me somewhere".
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post #14 of 19 Old 07-22-2013, 12:42 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by tinyliny View Post
If he was stomping, slinging his head from side to side, and pawing, it's him expressing his displeasure about working, either from just pure laziness and his belief that you cannot move his feet if he really gets balky, or from him saying "going this direction hurts me somewhere".
Really thinking about it, I think it's a combination of all three of those. I know he can be lazy. He's not a high energy horse at all. He's got some spunk but overall he's pretty calm and laid back. He also likes to test me now and again and lunging is something that he doesn't do often. But he may have also been pain from the shots. Or pain from something else.

Well I'm going to ask my trainer about checking his neck and back. If he was my horse, I'd absolutely get him vet checked and call a chiro just to be sure. But I will still get tougher on him. I need to get those CA dvds.

Thank you all for helping me brainstorm here. I appreciate it!

Last edited by Heelsdown; 07-22-2013 at 12:44 AM.
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post #15 of 19 Old 07-22-2013, 03:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Heelsdown View Post
Really? I didn't know that. I know that he just had his vaccinations earlier in the week but my trainer said he was good to go. Do you think that it could have been the vaccination site?
I will definitely ask my trainer about getting him checked. I know she's going to say he's fine and he was testing me. And I'm sure he was. But if there was pain involved that could explain that weird reaction of the neck and lip.
I don't think it's from the shot, but it's possible. I think it's a musculo-skeletal thing. Roping can be quite hard on them.
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post #16 of 19 Old 07-22-2013, 08:42 AM
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He may also be responding to a mare in heat as that is typical gesturing. He may have been gelded late. When you lunge him keep it to a couple of circles each direction, more of a warm up and keep it to walking and trotting. It isn't imperative that you lunge him if you do walking and trotting for 10 or so minutes prior to serious work. Do not treat him like a toddler by petting him to soothe him as he sees that as a reward for his unwanted actions. Straighten your shoulders, walk like a soldier and just continue on. Don't talk to him, to the horse it is just noise. No "poor baby" attitude.
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post #17 of 19 Old 07-22-2013, 09:41 AM
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post #18 of 19 Old 07-22-2013, 10:28 AM
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He just lifted his lip but didn't do anything wrong (other than stop)?
Use whip to tell him to move forward - he's just testing you. The teeth mean nothing unless he is flattening his ears to his head.

Have you had a horse chiropractor look at him? Sounds like he may need adjusting to make the one side (direction) easier for him. It may be an uncomfortable/pain issue so punishing him is NOT the way to go.

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post #19 of 19 Old 07-22-2013, 11:29 AM Thread Starter
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tiffany thanks for the tip! I definitely will check that out!

Valentina yes after the neck thing, he just stopped and did the lip thing.

I'm definitely going to have a chiro look at him. I doubt my trainer will mind. She'll just say it's a waste of money but really if I'm going to be working with this horse and possibly buying him, it's worth it to rule out any pain.

But I will still be a little tougher on him. I'm sure he wasn't allowed to get away with stuff before he came to this barn and now he's testing the waters. Horses are so smart that way I'm seeing more and more.
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