Can horses be intentionally mean? - Page 3
 
 

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Can horses be intentionally mean?

This is a discussion on Can horses be intentionally mean? within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category

     
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        06-28-2011, 10:58 AM
      #21
    Started
    I know a thoroughbred mare, never on the track, who has a lovely owner. I knew this mare from the time she was a foal to present day. She was never subjected to abuse or neglect. However, you do have to watch your back with her. She can be sweet (when you have a peppermint) but that is about it. She hates being petted or loved on (petted doesn't sound right). She will try to kick and bite you if you walk pass her. She acts this way to other horses too, more so in her stall. There has not been any reason for this behavior based on her passed experiences. But yet she continues to act out. I never want to say she's mean (but some would I supposse). She's just not loving. If she was a person, she would be a biker chick dressed head to toe in leather smoking a cig. That's just her personality.
         
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        06-28-2011, 11:02 AM
      #22
    Doe
    Weanling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MHFoundation Quarters    
    I agree. I don't think that horses can be "mean" as we humans perceive it. It comes from somewhere. Though in his case I truly believe he had a few wires crossed in his brain. He had a very experienced owner (I met him in the early 80's and he'd been raising horses & working with stallions for decades.) He went through dozens of trainers & handlers all with various methods from very tough to awww, let's be friends, most not lasting a day. He had been pastured but could not be contained, he went through every fence and went after any horse, human, dog, etc that was around.

    A bit off track, but I own stallions myself and there has always been a stallion in our barn since 1958. We've never had one that was aggressive or dominant. I've met lots of studs that I'd call rank but fixable, there wasn't any fixing that one. If treated like any other horse & taught right from jump they can be very upstanding citizens. My guys can be pastured with the mares, worked together, lined up head to tail between 2 mares in heat and won't so much as squeal. I'm not so naive to think that herd leader drive isn't in there but the oldest stud is 29, lived here his entire life and has not ever acted like the proverbial stud. My boss mare displays more dominance and herd control than the boys would ever think about doing and she lets them know it
    MH I suspect that's more about your handling of the stallions than anything else. Indeed stallions are just horses, they simply have more 'horse' about them than the typical gelding. As such a good horseman can work with them fine as you have demonstrated.

    As anyone who has worked with mules will know, they are just like horses except more extreme in every respect.
         
        06-28-2011, 02:21 PM
      #23
    Trained
    Horses are incapable of moral thought or premeditated action. They base their actions on instinct, prior experience and other external factors like how much pain they are in, smell, sounds and overall perceived danger. Domestication has altered what we expose the horses to and what they perceive as normal, but not the basic brain structure. Some horses are born with difficult personalities. Some horses have diagnoseable medical issues causing aggression. None are inherently "bad" or "mean", they are simply reacting to the environment.
    It irks me when people over humanize their horses and place inherently human thoughts and emotions on their horses.
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        06-28-2011, 02:33 PM
      #24
    Green Broke
    I don't believe so. Horse's behaviour towards humans is a direct reflection of their prior experiences with humans.

    We create their attitudes towards us. If a monster is created then there is probably a human to blame somewhere along the way.

    "When you point one finger at the horse, three fingers point back to you."
         
        06-28-2011, 02:34 PM
      #25
    Foal
    I hear reports all the time of horses who are difficult personalities being exceptionally kind to children or people with disabilities. I have seen it myself. So if you (general you) think horses can be exceptionally kind (above and beyond the normal) in certain situations, shouldn't the converse be true? Or is it that horses have a greater propensity to be "kind" than they do to be malicious?

    People are often "mean" out of instinct as well. My father is startled easily and without thinking will smack anyone who surprises him if they are in arm's reach. As a child, I thought this was mean. Do horses premeditate their actions? I don't think so. Can they be mean (overreact to certain stimuli because they can) in the moment? I think so.
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        06-28-2011, 02:40 PM
      #26
    Trained
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sarahver    
    I don't believe so. Horse's behaviour towards humans is a direct reflection of their prior experiences with humans.

    We create their attitudes towards us. If a monster is created then there is probably a human to blame somewhere along the way.

    "When you point one finger at the horse, three fingers point back to you."
    Yes I agree, this is what I have said. This is logical thinking, not moral decision making. The horse thinks, "two legged thing made me feel pain" so next time it sees the two legged thing, its on the defensive because it associates two legged thing with pain. Not "two legged thing did not donate money to the humane society and so I will kick it", not "two legged thing doesn't have a high school education and there fore is dumb and must be punished". Maybe "what is this two legged thing? It is behaving like a predator." And then the fight/flight response kicking in.
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        06-28-2011, 02:47 PM
      #27
    Trained
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Serendipitous    
    I hear reports all the time of horses who are difficult personalities being exceptionally kind to children or people with disabilities. I have seen it myself. So if you (general you) think horses can be exceptionally kind (above and beyond the normal) in certain situations, shouldn't the converse be true? Or is it that horses have a greater propensity to be "kind" than they do to be malicious?

    People are often "mean" out of instinct as well. My father is startled easily and without thinking will smack anyone who surprises him if they are in arm's reach. As a child, I thought this was mean. Do horses premeditate their actions? I don't think so. Can they be mean (overreact to certain stimuli because they can) in the moment? I think so.
    Posted via Mobile Device
    Reacting to stimuli is not being mean by any stretch of the imagination. If the horse spooks and lands on your foot he isn't "out to get you", maybe a bit disrespectful of your space because you were not dominant in that situation, but it wasn't mean spirited. To be mean requires premeditated thought and planning. It requires spite to think, I don't like x and therefore will for no reason intentionally cause them pain or discomfort.

    And as far as the nice thing, I think that's overhumanizing the horse. They are herd animals and instinct tells them to protect and nurture the young in the herd. They are also a naturally curious animal and want to investigate things. When they are not harmed or made uncomfortable by a situation, or even rewarded for being in a certain situation they seek further reward or associate the situation with something positive and seek that.
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        06-28-2011, 02:50 PM
      #28
    Banned
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ~*~anebel~*~    
    Horses are incapable of moral thought or premeditated action. They base their actions on instinct, prior experience and other external factors like how much pain they are in, smell, sounds and overall perceived danger. Domestication has altered what we expose the horses to and what they perceive as normal, but not the basic brain structure. Some horses are born with difficult personalities. Some horses have diagnoseable medical issues causing aggression. None are inherently "bad" or "mean", they are simply reacting to the environment.
    It irks me when people over humanize their horses and place inherently human thoughts and emotions on their horses.
    Posted via Mobile Device
    I do not disagree with this.

    But I do think there are animals (horses, dogs, etc) that are born not right. Not stable mentally so their reactions to situations do not fit the norm.
         
        06-28-2011, 03:00 PM
      #29
    Trained
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Alwaysbehind    
    I do not disagree with this.

    But I do think there are animals (horses, dogs, etc) that are born not right. Not stable mentally so their reactions to situations do not fit the norm.
    Which is usually a diagnosable issue, either a chemical imbalance it malformation of something. Or a difficult personality which was not handled correctly. There is always a reason.
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        06-28-2011, 03:03 PM
      #30
    Banned
    I have met two dogs in my life that no reason was obvious. One was a puppy who had serious aggression issues for no apparent reason. It was put down and necropsy did not reveal anything.
    Truly mentally unstable.

    If humans can be born with a brain that tells them that murder and other such things are OK I do not see it as a leap that dogs, horses and other animals can also be born with that same screw loose.
         

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