To look, or not... - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 04-01-2009, 05:53 PM Thread Starter
Weanling
 
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To look, or not...

I have read conflicting information on whether or not you should look a horse in the eye...what do you think? Will this help or hurt your interactions with a horse?
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post #2 of 12 Old 04-01-2009, 07:32 PM
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Depends on the horse and what you want to accomplish. If its a wild horse or unhandled and you are trying to gentle it so it trusts people, then normally you would not look it in the eyes right away - especially while trying to get that first physical contact.

However, with a horse that is tame and friendly then looking it in the eyes is not a problem.

All I pay my psychiatrist is cost of feed and hay, and he'll listen to me any day!

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post #3 of 12 Old 04-01-2009, 07:44 PM
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Hmm, that's a good one. I've always heard not to "stare" a dog in the eye, because it means you want to fight or something lol.

I think with horses it's alright to look them in the eye at anytime. I always thought they read you mostly on body language? (I don't think I said that right lol)

For example, if I was standing calmly looking my horse, any horse in the eye I don't think there could be a problem. On the other hand, if I were staring at another horse with my body language showing that I was tense, upset, angry, etc. the horse may react differently.
I don't know if that's right, I'm just sort of guessing on this one lol.

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post #4 of 12 Old 04-02-2009, 11:04 AM
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Well my horses come over and look me in the eye, so I look right back. Never really thought about it to tell the truth.
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post #5 of 12 Old 04-02-2009, 11:19 AM
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before you've gained the trust of a horse, looking them in the eye is not a good idea. This is because predators in the wild will look into their prey's eyes to psych them out. However, once the horse has a trusting relationship with humans, looking them in the eye can even be a good thing sometimes because the horse fully understands that you are not there to eat them.

"The art of riding is keeping a *horse* between you and the ground."
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post #6 of 12 Old 04-02-2009, 11:27 AM
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Looking them in the eye is a form of body language -- Mostly with scared/wild/nervous horses do you have to pay attention to it though.
I can look into my horses eye fine. But not with a horse that thought I wanted them for dinner.
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post #7 of 12 Old 04-02-2009, 11:36 AM
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Funny you should ask I read a study on this some time ago. I'll try to find it if I can and post a link. It was to see if looking in the eye made a difference when trying to catch a horse. The study concluded that it made no difference what so ever. I thought that was pretty interesting.

I found it http://www.thehorse.com/ViewArticle.aspx?ID=12052


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Last edited by Vidaloco; 04-02-2009 at 11:47 AM.
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post #8 of 12 Old 04-02-2009, 11:56 AM
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I do when on ground. Never had an issue.
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post #9 of 12 Old 04-02-2009, 12:21 PM Thread Starter
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Vida..i read that same article..which is what sparked my interest in what people thought. I understand the prey idea..which makes sense. I have always looked horses in the eyes, and never had a problem.
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post #10 of 12 Old 04-02-2009, 12:34 PM
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I honestly don't pay enough attention
I don't lunge my horses (just a tiny bit with the babys) and don't have trouble catching any of them. I like looking in their eyes because they are so beautiful, but that's when I'm already in their face.
I do like a horse that will look me in the eye, maybe its just a personal thing . I pay more attention to butts and ears


"Until one has loved an animal, part of one's soul remains unawakened..."
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