odd horse behavior question...should I try and stop it? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 06-09-2011, 02:05 AM Thread Starter
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odd horse behavior question...should I try and stop it?

I have a 5 year old paint mare I have had her for a year now and she is into everything. If she can touch it and pick it up she will and she is the most observant horse I have ever seen. I could walk out of her sight put a penny in the dirt and she would find it in 2.5 seconds its crazy.

And she watches everything. She will turn her head and watch me groom her and watch me tack her up. She watches the farrier do her feet she goes as far as bending her body in almost a 90 degree angle to get her hind feet as close to her head as possible so she can watch him trim her back feet.

The other day I was installing a electric fence and I was putting up the insulators she followed right behind me and tried to pull each insulator off after I put it up. I have never had another horse like this. I've always just let her be this way she doesn't spook ever cause she is more then willing to check anything out. I have just always been careful to move anything she can't have out of her reach. But tonight I notice that she has a broken front tooth and I'm concerned that she did this grabbing on to some thing. So should I try to stop her from grabbing and playing with things?

Another one of her odd behaviors is she will back onto anything on her own. If I have the wheel barrow in the middle of the paddock while cleaning she will back up to it and try to straddle it. Yesterday she went to back into it and the my friend walked up behind her and moved it before she hit it well my horse continued to back half way across the paddock thinking it was still behind her. Then we also had a plastic lawn chair in the paddock we were riding on of the other horses bear back and used it to mount she immediantly flipped chair over and backed all over it. She picks her feet up and moves them very slow when she does it I think to make sure she doesn't hurt herself but its so odd to watch. Is she just board? Should I discourage this behavior as well?

I'll admit I love these odd things about her but now because of the broken tooth I'm worried these behaviors will cause injuries.
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post #2 of 13 Old 06-09-2011, 03:04 AM
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I don't know about the desire to back onto and straddle things, but her observant and thoughtful manner is a huge plus, if you ask me. That kind of intelligence makes an awesome trail horse. My friend has a gelding like that. He is afreaid of nothing. Very like a dog. I swear, there is a human being inside of that horse!
I think you got really lucky and not to worry too much, but be aware . I suspect this behavior will diminish as she gets older.
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post #3 of 13 Old 06-09-2011, 03:16 AM
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First, welcome to the forum .

I wouldn't worry about the broken tooth, that could have happened doing anything. My best guess is that she was either kicked by another horse or fell and hit it on something during turnout. The chances that she did it by playing with something are pretty remote.

I feel much the same way as Tiny in regards to her curiosity. Though it might get frustrating at times, it is much better than a horse that freaks first and stops to think things through later.

As for her backing up to things, my first instinct tells me that she may either be wormy or in need of having her udder cleaned. Do you notice her rubbing her butt on things like fences or walls? If she is, then that is a pretty good sign that something around her butt is bothering her. Checking to see if there is a lot of buildup on her udder couldn't possibly hurt and that may turn out to be the culprit.

Then again, that may just be a very strange personality quirk that she has .

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post #4 of 13 Old 06-09-2011, 06:13 AM
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I agree with the other responses, but don't count on it going away with age. Our Paint mare, Lady, now 9 years old, is an extremely curious and observant horse also.
Typical behaviors:
- When she sees something 'happening' (e.g. Tractor in the field, UPS man, etc), she is at the fence watching within a minute.
- When working in the pasture (e.g. On the fence), she'll come up behind and watch what you're doing over your shoulder.
- 'Mouthy' (not nippy)...will dump my tools, pick up, and walk off with one (she seems to prefer yellow and light red/pink stuff).
- Found her standing with her front two legs in my wheel barrow. I'm surprised it supported her weight, but to be honest, it's never been the same again.
- Loves to untie lead ropes (hers first, then her buddies) and open gates. She doesn't go anywhere...it's almost like she gets satisfaction in just doing it.

Bottom line, you have a horse with lots of personality. It's a constant source of amusement, and I wouldn't try and change it.

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On the seventh day, he Painted the good ones.
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post #5 of 13 Old 06-09-2011, 06:30 AM
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I agree with the rest of the posters. I sat here and giggled because an inquisitive horse is a good trail horse. My horses would be right in your face as your trying to fix a fence. Trying to pound a nail in the boards was practically impossible as they get so close. There are times when its cute and times when its dangerous. But an inquisitive horse will learn on its own of what it can play with and what it can't.

I would let your horse continue its curiosity. This is the way they explore things and find out the world around them. A horses instincts will kick in when it feels something is going to hurt them. Normally. Key word. As for the backing onto things, I agree with robs. Check her for worms and check her udder.
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post #6 of 13 Old 06-09-2011, 07:35 AM
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People that train trick horses look for horses like that. They are very easy to teach tricks to.

They can be a PITA to have around but are sure amusing. The ones I have had opened gates, untied ropes, turned other horses out of stalls, carried off every tool or brush or ??? That anyone left lying around for even a minute. I have one now that I have to catch and tie up in order to go in the pasture with a truck to work on a fence. She will unload a flatbed farm truck and carry off anything she can.

I have not found that they rode any different but then I do not encourage curiosity under saddle.

By the way, they are also the first horses to get snake bit.

Last edited by Cherie; 06-09-2011 at 07:39 AM. Reason: spelling
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post #7 of 13 Old 06-09-2011, 08:30 AM
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I agree with other posters. I love a curious, inquisitive horse but like Cherie said they can be a PITA sometimes!

Woodstock is one of those horses. He can make me bust up laughing and feel like screaming all at the same time. He "helped" me yesterday picking up the piles of manure left in my arena. He dumped my wheelbarrow twice, stole my cherry picker once (plastic one) and then knocked over my big glass of sweet tea and ate all the ice.

He moves my cones, drags around a tarp for fun, LOVES to turn all of the lights on stall fronts on, and anything left within reach to explore is fair game. My daughter is mad at him right now, he was loose in the indoor and her rabbit's hutch is on the other side of the gate. He giraffe necked it over the gate to check out the rabbit and flipped his hutch over. He also likes to drink out of the hose but he loves to steal it and spray himself & me in the process.

I refer to him as my Dennis the Menace. He is much like a human 3 yr old toddler boy. If it's there to play with he will. On the positive side, I've not had to do as much desensitizing with him as others, just leave the stuff out and he does it himself. :)

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post #8 of 13 Old 06-09-2011, 10:23 AM
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This sounds like my 11 month old gelding Zane! (Glad I'm not the only one, lol!).

He will chew on anything I don't smear hot sauce on (I call that my Zane repellent). Can't leave a tarp or anything around or he will play with it and try to eat it (probably my fault, I thought it would be a good idea to introduce him to tarps when he was little, now he thinks they are toys). LOVES his Jolly Balls with ropes on them so he can swing/fling them around, and is just all over you when you are out in the horse pens (we are working on space/respect issues).

He also tries to back into things to rub his butt. If he is turned loose, he will back into trees/bushes. A couple times he tried to back into me (dangerous...... I tried to make a big impression but he is fairly fearless).

Zane LOVES to be rubbed between his butt cheeks. (After being backed into, I now stand off to the side). I will do that sometimes just as sort of a bonding thing for us after I work with him. He also grows a lot of crusties in his sheath and I've cleaned him a few times already, so maybe it has to do with that. But he also likes his tail bone scratched too.

I thought maybe I created a monster (he's my first foal) but maybe that's just his personality and he would have been that way anyway?

Hey, I'm glad to hear that is desirable in a trail horse. That is my ultimate goal for Zane.

Last edited by trailhorserider; 06-09-2011 at 10:25 AM.
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post #9 of 13 Old 06-09-2011, 11:34 AM Thread Starter
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thanks

Thank you everyone I feel better now I love her odd behaviors and the thought of trying to change them was bothering me big time. I have learned over the year I've had her to think about where I put things down like tools, brushes, drinks etc LOL

I don't think its worms as I worm her with every 8 weeks and she was just done last week but I will check her udders that could very well be her problem I don't clean them as often as I should. She hates it First mare I've ever had that hates having them cleaned. She kicks and rears as soon as she knows your going near them. So weird cause she has excellent manners with every thing else.

Again thank you!
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post #10 of 13 Old 06-09-2011, 03:16 PM
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Just remember, if you are constantly deworming with the same product or different products with the same active ingredient, then it could still be worms!

Have you ever had her udders checked out? Sounds strange that she has impeccable manners with everything else but that. Maybe there is a reason she's acting up about them. Just a thought.
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