Yawning- good or bad? - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 18 Old 04-06-2013, 04:05 PM Thread Starter
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Yawning- good or bad?

I got my mare in August and I've noticed that every time I go to reach for the bridle she starts yawning. I always just thought that it was funny and cute. I recently read that yawning can be a sign of ulcers, and since she is prone to ulcers, I started wondering. (By prone I mean that she eats a lot of grain, is nervous about a lot of things, and is worked a lot. But, she also has free choice hay all day everyday). I also know that yawning is a sign of relaxation and her being calm.

So which is it? Yawning for relaxation or yawning for ulcers?

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post #2 of 18 Old 04-06-2013, 04:15 PM
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When I yawn I always say "just re-oxygenating the brain." I think horses do the same thing. I think it's more of a sign of relaxation. Nothing to worry about as far as I know. If they start hanging their front teeth on something (cribbing) then it's time to worry.


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post #3 of 18 Old 04-06-2013, 04:18 PM Thread Starter
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I have a gelding that cribs- its a horrible habit. So I guess she just gets really relaxed when it's time to put the bridle on then?

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post #4 of 18 Old 04-06-2013, 04:26 PM
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Could be. Do you put the bit in after grooming, saddling and cinching? She may know the final stage is at hand.


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post #5 of 18 Old 04-06-2013, 04:54 PM
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I have four geldings. While they will yawn if I come in the barn unexpectedly and turn the lights on (waking them up), the only time any of them yawn (as I have learned) is if they are in some sort of discomfort.

While it is ulcers with my Arab, it doesn't have to be limited to ulcers. It can be anything.

I have one horse who foundered pretty bad and ended up with torn ligaments from a trim gone bad. He did a lot of yawning until he healed.

As far as only yawning when she sees the bridle coming at her, that could be a learned response from an old issue.

Maybe she had tooth issues that went un-noticed and the bridle bothered her.

Maybe she has something wrong in the poll area to where the bridle makes her uncomfortable.

Or maybe she's sandbagging you so you won't put the bridle on her.

Are you able to contact the previous owners to ask them if she did this with them?

If this behavior is consistent, the only way to know what's up with her is to have her examined

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post #6 of 18 Old 04-06-2013, 05:15 PM
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Good article- Bored, Tired, or What? Why do Horses Yawn? | EQUINE Ink


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post #7 of 18 Old 04-06-2013, 05:26 PM
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Another good one- The Horse | What Makes a Horse Yawn? | TheHorse.com
Now you have my curiosity kicking in


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post #8 of 18 Old 04-06-2013, 06:11 PM
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I have seen many of the horses yawn after they have been ridden for a while in the time between you take the bridle off and put the halter on- I think it's just because their heads are free and horses are silly :p

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post #9 of 18 Old 04-06-2013, 06:17 PM
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The horse I ride always yawns with the bridle on but it's because he always bites the inside of his cheek (because he has a bad tooth, he's getting them floated soon) but that's the only time he yawns is when he has a bridle on. Check her teeth?
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post #10 of 18 Old 04-06-2013, 06:21 PM
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Darn, I just noticed that The Horse article won't open unless you're signed in. Sorry. That is a great horse health site to join. I can copy and paste the article if you're just dying to read it .


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