Signs of Horse Releasing Stress? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum

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post #11 of 16 Old 03-18-2013, 01:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by livelovelaughride View Post
glazed eyes, 'camera-shutter' eye blinking, ...
There's glazed eyes & glazed eyes, IME & I can't really spell out the difference in writing, except to say it's a combo of bodylanguage, not just eyes that tell me the difference. Breathing is one big one. But horses can go very 'quiet' or still, head low & eyes glazed when they're 'shut down' - that is, mentally things have got too much for them - & you want to be very careful, as it's these types that internalise their fear & don't show it obviously, until 'suddenly, for no reason, out of the blue....' big explosions!

Quote:
That's a good idea, I could try that when I take him out again, but I'm not sure if I even want to bother with this horse. He's not mine, I got two other horses I'm training with a lot of success, but I don't know how to work with horses that are as terrified of everything as he is. The way he acts makes me think he was beaten because he is absolutely completely terrified of everything I do around him, but he locks up and won't move for anything.
Poor boy! Yes, horses like this can be a real challenge, but IMO they're SO worth it, when you finally get through to them that they're safe & can relax. He sounds 'shell shocked', suffering something like 'post traumatic stress syndrome'. Perhaps, as I mentioned above about horses that internalise their fear, he's one of those, but he's been conditioned to it from previous bad treatment. Extra Mg in his diet would probably help him too.

Quote:
He had the horse stand still and if the horse raised its head above the whithers, the crowd made noise. As soon as the horse dropped its head, the crowd became silent. The horse eventually wanted to keep its head down.
Good demo, but wouldn't want to do that to a frightened horse. Reminds me of a story my dad told me when he was studying behavioural psychology - they thought it would be fun to 'experiment' with one of their lecturers... So they'd noticed the lecturer tended to step forward when he discovered anyone really interested in what he was saying, so the whole class conspired to see how far they could go with it - looking fascinated at all the guy said, eventually he got carried away & fell off the podium!

This thread also reminds me of the other day when we had an autistic boy over - he's a bit of an anxious type with people, not being great with communicating & he went & hung out with the horses(I was supervising) & I noticed my pony, who's usually a happy, playful, cheeky type, just wanted to stay close to him & kept yawning. If I didn't know better I'd think the kid slipped them both a sedative as I've never seen the pony(or boy) quite so relaxed & I thought pony was going to actually fall asleep when the kid hopped on!

So this discussion has reminded me that yawning & other 'calming' bodylanguage is also used in communication, definitely with dogs, to convey to other dogs that it's all OK(I've actually used it repeatedly to get dogs over fears), so I wonder if pony was telling - & showing boy how to relax??
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post #12 of 16 Old 03-18-2013, 02:04 AM
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Our Eldest (13 yr Paint Qtr), came from a hard background and was very spooky when we got him. Typical flight/fight alarm signs head high, nostrils wide, ears perked, tightened muscles, quick movements. I always walked him away from whatever the source - wind, people, to a more secluded area and started w/ a pat, whilst talking and rub from his ear down alongside of his eyes, bringing his focus on me, lowering my voice and reassuring him. It's how I re-ground trained him. He's bomb proof to voice now. Our colt, jesus nothing scares him-he pushs my front door open. Constance Weirick
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post #13 of 16 Old 03-18-2013, 07:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PunksTank View Post
Something may be upsetting him in the pasture, bugs, another horse, a tummy ache - or he may just have something stuck on a back tooth he's trying to lick out.
Here's some info on yawning in general :P I learned this when training dogs, ever notice that dogs will often yawn when being yelled at? They aren't bored - they're stressed. :P
Yawning Caused by Anxiety « Calm Clinic
Ok. Anxiety/stress can cause yawns but yawning does not mean there is stress or anxiety.

A depressed person likes to sleep. Does that mean everyone that sleeps is depressed? No.

A person that smokes weed gets the munchies. Does that mean anyone that gets munchies is smoking weed? No.

Yawning can be a symptom or indicator of anxiety or stress but it can also be because the you are tired or bored. Or you saw someone else yawn.
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post #14 of 16 Old 03-20-2013, 05:34 PM
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I just want to say, the spooking/fear does get better the more that you address this particular thought to the horse:

Things can happen around you, at you, to you (being hosed down, having a dog run between your legs, seeing a deer flee in the distance) and you'll still be safe with me.

My horse... man I really should have taken video. He would rip things apart to get away from just about anything at any time. Now I can literally throw the mounting block around and he stands without any tension lol.

Consistentcy.
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"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"
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post #15 of 16 Old 04-02-2013, 11:41 PM
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The biggest sign for me of relaxation is a loosening and softening of the jaw. Easy to feel on horseback, hard to hide in even the most introverted horse.
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post #16 of 16 Old 04-03-2013, 01:15 PM
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Laffee, don't quit on this horse even if it's not yours. The knowledge you gain is invaluable. For months I thought I was teaching my horse then one day it dawned on me that he was teaching me and he's been a patient teacher. If you get stuck,pm me and I'll see if I can get you thro it.
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