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icelevistus 08-29-2008 08:29 PM

Any horse behavior experts?
I'm a 22 year old male and I'm fairly new to horse riding; I just rode for the first time in a decade this summer.

It was at a working ranch in southern California. The riding horses are all Geldings. My second time out, I was riding a mottled grey named "Concho". As we were departing the stables and heading to the trail, Concho would occasionally bend his neck to the side and (it seemed to me) would be looking at me on his back. After repeating this a few times, he would follow up by letting out a deep whinny. He whinnied repeatedly with intervals of rest ranging from 15 seconds to 2 minutes. This behavior was limited to when we were leaving and returning to the corral, and was sometimes answered by whinnies from the horses in the corral (not the horses in our group).

My girlfriend's mother had never seen such repeated whinnying in a horse and she has been coming to the ranch for half a century and riding like it was her job. The wrangler leading us also found the behavior to be highly uncharacteristic.

Anyhow, the experience really got me wondering what was causing it. I rode Concho a second time the next day and he did the same thing. He doesn't behave this way with other riders.

Anyone have any ideas what that horse was thinking?

iridehorses 08-29-2008 09:25 PM

The first thought that comes to mind is that they were all having a good chuckle at the novice rider. Concho was looking back to be sure you were still there and reporting back to the rest of the herd.

-Just a thought :wink:

Welcome to the forum!

JustDressageIt 08-30-2008 12:39 AM

My thought is that maybe Concho got attached to one of the horses that was left behind, perhaps a corral mate, and was calling back to the horse because he didn't want to leave.

NorthernMama 08-30-2008 12:05 PM

Have you actually seen anyone else ride him? Sounds like he is calling to a buddy back at the ranch. Seems odd if he only does this with you.

As a potential aid to this -- everytime he does this, attract his attention back to you by asking him to do something that he's not expecting. A simple stop, or trot or turn away to the other side. Anything at all to get his attention back to you.

icelevistus 08-31-2008 11:31 PM

My girlfriend's mom went on other rides where Concho bore another rider and he was quiet as a mouse.

kickshaw 09-01-2008 10:25 AM

^^ perhaps his "barn buddy" went out on the same trail ride as your girlfriend's mom??

Definitely sounds like they were just having a conversation :wink:

jadeewood 07-25-2009 03:04 PM

i totally agree, maybe he was looking for his friends. !!!

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