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Does your horse protect you?

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  • Will my hors protect me?

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    03-23-2013, 10:07 AM
  #21
Showing
When one is lying on the ground, the horse will come and stand guard as they do when another horse is lying down. If I stretched out in the sun my shetland mare would come and stand very close until I got up.
He will buck me off, kick me before I hit the ground, and run as fast as he can back to the barn.

He Loves Me
When I sat very low on a tire it was an invitation to my fearful horse to check me out. I was careful to not look him or touch him. After about 5 min. I did look and his nostril was about 4" away from my face. Then he cleared his nostrils all over my face.
He Loves Me
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    03-23-2013, 10:22 AM
  #22
Yearling
Just guessing here, but the last post led me to the following thoughts.

Horses being herd and prey animals are highly adept at sensing elevations in different bodily chemicals...catecholamines in high levels indicate stress/fear/minor injury. They are not so different from animal to human.

When a human has a simple fall and the levels of catecholamines, or stress hormones, are elevated slightly, the horse likely wants to move away to a safe distance, understanding that, either something "scary" is happening to/or about to come OUT OF that human, so, "I'll move a safe distance away and wait to see what comes next." (simple fall, Misty moves away and munches some grass)...

Bad fall = Misty's human is laying on the ground, not responding is ODD to horse...horse is thinking, (probably something like) "Hmmm. No stress hormones (as you may be knocked out, thus no release of epinephrine/fear/stress/pain hormone YET, until you awaken, terrified and hurting!) & thus horse isn't sensing DANGER which she needs to move a safe distance from, but instead, is noting a human on the ground just laying there, being very UN-human-like. A curious mount will likely sniff and hang nearby, waiting to see why her human is acting so oddly, yet isn't getting the "be afraid! Run!" message, or I'd image, no matter HOW DEEP the "love", she'd be running...

Just my partial hypothesis. Not super-well thought out, but could explain some of the situation I'd imagine?
     
    03-23-2013, 01:20 PM
  #23
Trained
My mare "protects" me to a fault. She is a ham, and loves people to watch her do her thing - but she does not want man or beast to come physically between us - especially at liberty. She is well behaved on a lead if I hand her to someone and walk off (if I just stand there, same thing, she doesn't want the person between us), and she will try hard to keep tabs on my whereabouts.

I play a game with her sometimes just for kicks - if she walks off I will fall to my knees and double over and act like I am dying (I did this once w/o knowing DH was about, and he came running to see what was the "matter") - she will always come carefully stand right by me. I did an experiment one time after I slipped, fell and hit my head on a rail which really smarted. I was holding an open container full of her RB and, thinking on my feet, while I was still down I acted like I was knocked out to see if she would just eat the food and pay poor me no never mind. :) She gained a lot of brownie points that day, because she never went for the food, she just kept gently smelled my face, arms, what not. Mind you, I trust her w my life, there are few horses I would try this with....I knew that if she chose to eat the food she would be careful of me.

Do I think some will protect you - absolutely. And, some will "protect" other creatures. My old buckskin loved to have a "pet". He was always head of the herd - no matter what size the herd. I always figured having a pet to him was like a "status" thing. He did not like dogs and was very aggressive toward strange dogs, so it was interesting to watch him protect our dogs to the teeth and let them hang w him. Then one regretable day, we got a goat (ugh). The goat was the devil himself in disguise, but sure enough...the buckskin decided she was his pet. The goat would harass the other horses, and if when they had enough and went for the little demon it would holler - the buckskin would smoke a trail from far off to come protect it. He actually let the little horror eat with him when no other horse in its right mind would go close to his food. So yeah, I think they will protect "others"....sometimes people, sometimes other animals.
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    03-23-2013, 02:44 PM
  #24
Yearling
I think saddlebag is on to something. I lay in the grass with my horses and I never worry because there is always one watching out for the group. I think watching over a member of the herd when it lays down is what all horses do and doesn't denote alpha or beta status.

However, when I horse keeps others away from you, especially when food is involved, IS alpha behavior. One of my problems with my horses is that when they are frightened, sometimes they run toward me, I think for protection
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    03-23-2013, 02:51 PM
  #25
Weanling
I heard a story once that, while wasn't from personal experience, stuck with me. A girl rode on the trails with her mare all the time. Her mare was terrified of the small bears in the area and had bolted off in fear if they ever came near. (I'd be scared too, bears are no joke!!) It happened more than once, but usually they trailed without running into them. Well, one time she was out riding and the girl suspected her mare had a rock in her hoof. She dismounted and picked it up. Her horse started acting funny and she looked up to see a bear standing not 20 yards away. Her horse didn't bolt or anything, but moved so that the girl was away from the bear with the horse between them. That sounds like protection to me.

I've also heard multiple stories of horses that have been somewhat crazy or had issues that end up having mentally handicapped riders and they are complete angels and give none of their usual crap. Seems to me like the horse knows to be good and gentle. Or people who have fallen off or been injured another way get on to ride again after a bad injury, and the horse moves differently, softer, gentle, no aggression. All of that to me sounds like protection.

I believe horses do and can and will protect a rider.
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    03-23-2013, 03:01 PM
  #26
Yearling
I have the Chicken Soup Horse Rider books or whatever they are called, and they have ALOT of extraordinary stories in them. One I remember is that a girl was riding down a slope with her horse and a rockslide started and it took our her horse (breaking a leg I believe) and also broke the riders leg or something. The horse stayed by her, and she ended up taking a piece of the rock (it was unique to the area) and put it in a saddlebag strapped to the stirrup. She told the horse to go home and get help, and the horse limped miles home. Long story short, her parents found the rock in the saddlebag, knew the area, and got help. Both survived.

I believe horses will protect their riders. (Even though I've had handfuls of hooves flying at me, and horses dumping me on the ground)
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    03-23-2013, 04:00 PM
  #27
Yearling
So a couple stories:

1) My mare will hide behind me literally and use me for protection. She also knows I'm alpha of the entire herd 5-10 horses depending on what horses are rotated where and I can move every horse with a flick of my wrist (shooing motion in the air). She is also low on the totem pole so that makes a difference too. But she knows I am the herd leader and she expects me to protect her no matter what. If she is nervous or unsure she will look to me and basically ask how she should react. I doubt she would ever protect me.

2) The same mare is a pain to ride. Not a bucker or rearer and her bolt is no more than a fast trot but she will NOT listen to adults. She will do her own thing, toss her head, crow hop, and completely ignore you. After a war and if you really know what your doing, she comes around and starts to listen. Its such a battle that we end lessons as soon as she starts to listen. Now throw a kid on her... She acts finished and is a perfect angel. My trainer is using her for pretty advanced 8-10yr old kids lessons. She knows when a kid is on her and she knows to be good. Keep in mind I didnt teach her this. She just naturally is a kids horse. And I think she likes her job too. Would she protect a kid, maybe... I watched my niece practice her balance, bareback, on the lunge at a trot, so both her arms were stretched out sideways and she was trying to post. She slipped went sideways and my mare sidestepped like she was trying to keep my niece on her back. I've also seen her trip and fall to her front knees with a kid on her back and the kid sat it just fine, got her up, checked her out (nothing wrong. Still not sure why she tripped, that was months ago) But my mare seemed very concerned about the kid. She kept smelling the kid everywhere. Is this protective, I dunno but its a change from when she dumps an adult.

3) I recently read Hope Rising and A Bridge Called Hope by Kim Meeder and it is full of amazing horses who have helped save troubled kids both from physical and emotional trauma. Its fun to humanize their actions and to believe its all rainbows and butterflies but even the author knows that she was blessed with miracles and most horses are just that, horses. Its extremely rare to have that "bond" everyone associates with horses.

So to summarize my post: I have mixed feeling on the subject but I do agree we humanize them too much, the point about being alpha is valid as you read how my mare is, and I think it depends on each unique situation.
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    03-23-2013, 05:20 PM
  #28
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Back2Horseback    
Just guessing here, but the last post led me to the following thoughts.

Horses being herd and prey animals are highly adept at sensing elevations in different bodily chemicals...catecholamines in high levels indicate stress/fear/minor injury. They are not so different from animal to human.

When a human has a simple fall and the levels of catecholamines, or stress hormones, are elevated slightly, the horse likely wants to move away to a safe distance, understanding that, either something "scary" is happening to/or about to come OUT OF that human, so, "I'll move a safe distance away and wait to see what comes next." (simple fall, Misty moves away and munches some grass)...

Bad fall = Misty's human is laying on the ground, not responding is ODD to horse...horse is thinking, (probably something like) "Hmmm. No stress hormones (as you may be knocked out, thus no release of epinephrine/fear/stress/pain hormone YET, until you awaken, terrified and hurting!) & thus horse isn't sensing DANGER which she needs to move a safe distance from, but instead, is noting a human on the ground just laying there, being very UN-human-like. A curious mount will likely sniff and hang nearby, waiting to see why her human is acting so oddly, yet isn't getting the "be afraid! Run!" message, or I'd image, no matter HOW DEEP the "love", she'd be running...

Just my partial hypothesis. Not super-well thought out, but could explain some of the situation I'd imagine?
I agree with the theory in this BUT in my case I wasn't knocked out, I was temporarily paralyzed and lying there screaming my lungs out. Plus my parents were there completely freaking out too, so there would've been LOTS of stress/pain/fear floating around that Misty would've been feeling too, not to mention all the screaming.

Many horses would've bolted for safety in that situation but she didn't, which was out of character, so I don't know if she was "protecting" me or she was just so shocked that she didn't know what to do.
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    03-23-2013, 05:48 PM
  #29
Foal
Day Star was like that! Every time someone tryed touching her she would always run away and pin her ears back. Once when someone tried ridding her when I wasn't there she bucked them off. Each time I ride her she does so well.
     
    03-24-2013, 07:24 PM
  #30
Yearling
Yikes! Unbelievably scary situation, Misty's Girl! I guess my hypothesis is proven false! :0)

I truly hope you are well and 100% again! That must've been quite terrifying, for you, your parents, and for Misty!!
     

Tags
love of horses, protector, trust building

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