Neighing on my nerves! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 05-09-2014, 05:39 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Texas
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Neighing on my nerves!

I tried to think of a cute title and didn't do so well. My apologies. Anyway it describes the issue I am having (if it IS an issue).

I've owned quite a few horses and have never had one be as vocal as my semi-new five year old TWH, Reb. Background: I bought Reb in November. I haven't gotten to know him as well as I would have liked by now because we had a horrendous winter here that kept me from doing a lot of horsie stuff (this might be the root of this issue). Reb is an adorable horse with the sweetest personality ever and he is a wonderful ride.

However Reb is a HUGE talker. I have never had a horse neigh so much in my life. He isn't constantly neighing but it's enough that it's concerning me.

He neighs and neighs when I have him out of his pasture; it's the "is anyone else around here?" sound because he will be looking around while doing it, and other horses will respond. After they respond once, however, they usually don't respond again, but that doesn't stop Reb! He continues neighing (in my face a lot of times which is far from fun).

In the saddle Reb has neighed a few times when we pass other horses but he is an excellent listener and goes past without a fuss when I ask him to pass them. On the ground when I am saddling up or grooming or bathing or even doing groundwork at times, it's another story.

Today for example: I gave Reb his first bath of the year. Reb stood well and didn't dance around but he was constantly turning his head and neighing, looking and listening for other horses. I noticed a few times that he definitely wasn't paying attention to me and I'd have to poke him gently to make sure he knew I was going around him with the nose in case it might frighten him etc. That was irritating because I wanted his full attention on ME and where I was around him during bath time so I wouldn't "appear out of nowhere" in his eyes and cause a possible accident.

(Here's a picture of Mr. Neigh Happy after his bath today:)

Does anyone have any advice about this? I think this might be a "I do not see you as my leader and do not trust you to keep me safe - I need another horse with me!" If that's the case, I probably need to do more groundwork with him and spend more time just loving on him so he will see me as a leader.

(Some people say that he is just a talkative horse... but I've had talkative horses before who loved getting into everyone's business. This isn't what Reb is doing.)

What do you all think? Am I on the right track or could this be something different entirely?

Thank you!
Jenny :)
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post #2 of 10 Old 05-09-2014, 06:16 PM
Join Date: Nov 2010
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I don't allow my stallions to "talk" unless they're breeding. We start on this when they're colts and my command is, "NO Talking". I put a shank on them and give them a bump under the chin, followed by the command every time they "speak up". Pretty soon just saying, "NO Talking" is enough to get them to cut it off mid neigh. That will help him see you as in charge and doing more ground work and making him move his feet will help too. It sounds like he's insecure, but I know how nerve fraying a constant screamer can be.
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post #3 of 10 Old 05-09-2014, 06:30 PM
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^^that^^. But be consistent and get after him EVERY time whether riding or in hand. When you are working with him, grooming, etc, INSIST he keep his attention on you.
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post #4 of 10 Old 05-09-2014, 06:52 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2013
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Thank y'all for the advice!! I didn't even think to use a shank on him and tell him to quit. Doh!
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post #5 of 10 Old 05-09-2014, 06:58 PM
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Ugh. My boy used to do this too!!! I didn't think that there was really much I could do about it, so I just went about things as usual as long as he wasn't doing something else naughty. After a few moths of consistent work and gaining trust it stopped almost completely. He'll still call out on the trails a bit when we're headed home but that has been better too since I make him turn around or do lateral work when he calls to discourage it. It will come with time, and even faster if you actually enforce it. It does get better, I promise!
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post #6 of 10 Old 05-09-2014, 07:08 PM
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Does he live alone?
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post #7 of 10 Old 05-09-2014, 07:09 PM Thread Starter
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Nope, he lives with my other horse in a pasture.
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post #8 of 10 Old 05-10-2014, 12:18 AM
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He's buddy sour, herd bound, herd sour...whatever you want to call it. If you take him from the field, his attention isn't on you at all. Its on other horses and trying to communicate with who he's left behind.

He doesn't view you as important enough to pay much attention to. Seeing as you haven't worked much with him since you got him, its not a surprise. On the bright side, he could be totally rancid and be dragging you back to the pasture or mowing you over. He's not, he's just calling.

Do interesting things with him where he needs his attention on you to complete something. When you lead him, stop him and back him up. Turn him this way. Turn him that way. Walk, stop. His attention will have to be on you to do these things. If he doesn't do them quickly, get on to him about it.

Challenge his brain, work with him, get him thinking. A horse who is focused on a task doesn't talk a whole lot. He's problem solving.

That, coupled with a correction every time he calls, should clear it right up.

My mares in season and becomes angry when I correct her for calling. So if she calls and reacts negatively to the correction, she gets some work piled on top of her. Although she's still distracted, we can still get some training done anyways because she gave herself her own work load. By the end of it all she discovers its a lot easier to be patient and work on the task than it is to call back to the boys in the pasture.
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post #9 of 10 Old 05-10-2014, 02:53 AM
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My word is "hush" and to teach them what the word means I'll place my hand on their nose if I'm on the ground or a light bump with one rein if I'm on their back. They usually figure out the command pretty quick and while my riding gelding isn't a constant neigher it still gets on my nerves when he does neigh because it's so high pitched he sounds like a little girl screaming in panic and it's heck on my ear drums.
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post #10 of 10 Old 05-10-2014, 11:48 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Texas
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He's buddy sour, herd bound, herd sour...whatever you want to call it. If you take him from the field, his attention isn't on you at all. Its on other horses and trying to communicate with who he's left behind.
I figured as much. And you're right - it could be much worse! :P
I will start really getting after him on the ground and doing exercises until we are clear about who his attention needs to be on.
Thank you all for your help!
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