Pain or Meanness?

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Pain or Meanness?

This is a discussion on Pain or Meanness? within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category

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    10-09-2010, 09:35 PM
Pain or Meanness?

I came home for the weekend from college. I had been watching saddle fit videos and reading about it, and I wanted to see how the saddle fit my mom's horse. He hasn't been ridden since college started. I caught him, tied him, sweet as he could be (he is a 7 yr old paint gelding Warrior). Fly sprayed him, things were good. Sat the saddle on his back, he was fine, other than a little more resistant that usual.

I took it off, discovering that the saddle, while clears the withers, is too tight and would restrict shoulder movement causing pinching. I walked over to the tack room, a good 12 feet away and put it up. I turned around, Warrior was loose. The halter was completely off his head. I approached him and he turned to me and struck out with both front legs.

I was scared and started backing up and he came at me again in the same manner.

Then he took off in the direction of the road. My neighboor stopped his truck and walked over to him. Warrior knew what he was supposed to do, and stood there, relaxing a foot, though his ears were pinned. He struck out at my neighboor trotted off back to the gate. Here, we got a halter on him and the neighboor (who is a strong male and horse savvy) held him and we assesed what could have set him off. He swears the gelding was just being a jerk.

I think it was something pain related. There were a few wasps randomly buzzing around, they could have stung him? I also noticed he had a slight limp.

Did I push him into acting that way? Or was it out of meanness?
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    10-10-2010, 04:56 PM
There's no real way to say for sure without a vet exam to rule out pain. There was a nest of ground hornets in daughter's stallion's pen. They would swarm him and he'd run to the barn and hide. I'm sure he got stung a few times, but he never struck at us. The only time my mare has ever done that was when I was spraying her for flies and wouldn't back off when she wanted me to. She got to do the backward shuffle for that little hissy fit!

I don't know that pain would cause a horse to strike like that when he wasn't cornered, though. If the vet exam doesn't turn up anything, you might want to re-evaluate his feed program. Maybe he's getting too much grain?
    10-10-2010, 11:33 PM
I wouldn't expect one of my horses to strike at me, no matter what. I don't think there is a good excuse for striking with the front legs. To me, that is an aggressive behavior. What a brat! I LOVE my horses, but I think I would beat the tar out of a horse that did that to me.

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