Horse is extremely afraid of pigs. - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 20 Old 11-24-2013, 10:09 PM Thread Starter
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Horse is extremely afraid of pigs.

My gelding Luca is perfect in traffic, he doesn't mind sheep, cows, other horses, dogs etc, is gentle with little kids (not adults, though ) and an overall great horse. However, whenever he smells or sees a pig (even from a distance) he goes all rigid and tense, wide eyes, doing these quiet, trembling snorting sounds. He is literally on the verge of bolting. When I keep leading him, he'll try to look back at the pig/s in a worried manner and he'll try to get away as fast as he can.

Last time we encountered pigs was yesterday. We were out for a little afternoon trek along the road and there was this pig by the side of the road, behind a fence, but still close. Luca stopped and stared. I talked to him in a calm voice and got off, intending to lead him past. Luca tried to rush past the pig, causing him to nearly run into a road marker (one of those red and white pole thingies). He kept trying to burst into a trot, but I turned his head towards me, disabling him to bolt.

This happens EVER TIME, and I'm sick of it. Are there any ways to desensitise him to pigs? We can't avoid those pigs when we go out on farm treks, so I need some way to help Luca overcome his fear if I want to keep riding around the neighbourhood.

Suggestions are greatly appreciated.


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post #2 of 20 Old 11-24-2013, 10:21 PM
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I don't blame him. Pigs are terrifying. (just kidding.........)

I am sure that your horse can learn to ignore the fact that pigs are terrifying if you expose him to them repeatedly. I would lead him back and forth by the pigs over and over again until he realizes that they won't kill him.

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post #3 of 20 Old 11-25-2013, 03:18 AM
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My horse is the exact same way with llamas. He even remembers the field where he has seen them in te past and gets a panic attack even when there are no llamas there! I don't have acess to the llamas or know the owner. I make him settle down when we approach the llamas and get over his anexity everytime we go by but everytime it's still bad but getting slightly better.

I read that uncut male llamas give off the same hormone as stallions which is why horses have such an issue with them. Maybe pigs are similar and your Luca thinks there are stallions nearby. That's what I think my geldings issue is as well.

My advise is keep working on it make your horse settle down before continuing on past the piggies. It's frustrating I know. Our best trail head goes right past a pen on llamas so we feel your pain.
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post #4 of 20 Old 11-25-2013, 04:13 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks so much for your replies, we'll keep working on walking/riding past those pigs.


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post #5 of 20 Old 11-25-2013, 08:38 AM
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I don't blame him -pigs stink. None of the horses I've ever owned like the smell of pigs. They all reacted to some degree or another.

The only way I can see getting him over that is to own one so he can smell it every day.

If you think that's bad, wait until you ride up in the mountains and come upon a still-steaming pile of bear dung -- then you will really see Betty Davis Eyes on your horse - lol lol

Llamas are intimidating, especially the males. I have one horse that needed oxygen when he encountered the male llama on an organized ride. I have another horse that I dropped the reins and said "get him" and he did but his No Fear reaction is rare. That llama had already gotten 3 or 4 people dumped of their horses that day.

Quote:
My gelding Luca is perfect in traffic, he doesn't mind sheep, cows, other horses, dogs etc, is gentle with little kids (not adults, though ) and an overall great horse.
IMHO, he could be cut some slack for the pig issue, based on ^^^^ :) :)
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Last edited by walkinthewalk; 11-25-2013 at 08:40 AM.
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post #6 of 20 Old 11-25-2013, 09:30 AM
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I have a friend who recently came off her horse when a wild pig was rooting around adjacent to a path she was riding on. She said that she didn't hear the pig until she was on the ground, but assumed her horse reacted to the smell as well.

She has llama's on the property adjacent to hers, but the llama's are both females and both her horses seem to be fine with them.

*****

We have quite a few turkey buzzards (not sure if that is what they actually are, but that is what people call them in our area - https://www.google.com/search?q=pict...w=1093&bih=498) that like to clean up road kill. Generally, there will be 3-4 of them around a carcass. The last two times we rode pass a group of them, at least one flew away into the woods and made a huge ruckus. My 16.2 QH got very 'up' and white eyed, but I was able to get him pass the birds and any issues by making him walk on & keeping him occupied.
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post #7 of 20 Old 11-25-2013, 09:58 AM
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My horse also used to freak out over llamas. But the best thing I found to do is just ride him through it. I don't think its beneficial to get off; that's just going to get you hurt. Stay on him and try to calm him down. The WORST place you can ever be is in between a horse and something he's either A. Mad at or B. Scared of because that's when their natural "Fight or Flight" instincts kick in and most of the time, that instinct will overtake the horse (at least for a little while) and he will forget how close you 2 are to either run or protect himself.

So my advice is stay on him and make him stand there until he calms down. And by calm down I mean that he isn't tense and will follow your commands completely. When they scare at an object the best thing to do is make them touch it. My best friends horse use to freak over inadament objects (anywhere from a ball or log to tarps and such). We finnaly broke him of that by simply making him calm down and making him touch the object or walk over the tarp, e
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post #8 of 20 Old 11-25-2013, 10:03 AM
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My horse also used to freak out over llamas. But the best thing I found to do is just ride him through it. I don't think its beneficial to get off; that's just going to get you hurt. Stay on him and try to calm him down. The WORST place you can ever be is in between a horse and something he's either A. Mad at or B. Scared of because that's when their natural "Fight or Flight" instincts kick in and most of the time, that instinct will overtake the horse (at least for a little while) and he will forget how close you 2 are to either run or protect himself.

So my advice is stay on him and make him stand there until he calms down. And by calm down I mean that he isn't tense and will follow your commands completely. When they scare at an object the best thing to do is make them touch it. My best friends horse use to freak over inadament objects (anywhere from a ball or log to tarps and such). We finnaly broke him of that by simply making him calm down and making him touch the object or walk over the tarp, etc...

Maybe you could get a pig and pin him across from where your horse is kept. That way, he will desinsitize while you're not there for him to push around. Then eventually, after a lot of work, I would want him to be calm enough for the pig to enter into his space without him running from or attacking it...
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post #9 of 20 Old 11-25-2013, 11:55 AM
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I am sure that your horse can learn to ignore the fact that pigs are terrifying if you expose him to them repeatedly. I would lead him back and forth by the pigs over and over again until he realizes that they won't kill him.
Don't be so sure. Some horses just don't get over pigs. I have 2 of them. They are controllable but they do not accept pigs without getting tense and making a rider take hold of them and making them not turn around or try to leave.

I have gone so far as to buy a pig. She lives in an old barn with a big tree and pen out in front of it. I cannot tell you how many days these horses have been tied to that tree for hours at a time learning to 'like' the pig. This has worked with some of them but two still think she is a horse eating monster. [She is danged ugly. She might scare me if I just ran across her.] I also can't tell you how many thousands of trips they have made going back and forth past the pig pen until they walked quietly past it. Then, the next time, I had to do it all over again.

If you find a way to get one completely over it when it is like this, I would like to know how, myself. The reason I would like to know how to do this is because we run into feral hogs in the hills and canyons we ride in. Some of them have showed fear of hogs for 5 years or longer. That is how long we have had 'Lipstick' and they still hate her.

The guys around here that hog hunt on horses or mules, raise them around pigs. Then, they could care less. Otherwise, some just don't like them and don't trust them.

We keep some Bison. All of our horses could care less about them. New horses frequently are really fearful of them, too.

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post #10 of 20 Old 11-25-2013, 12:43 PM
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Cherie, I got attacked by a sow when I was in school, and I totally sympathize with the horses that are afraid of pigs.
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