Bad habit alert, look away now . . . - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 33 Old 05-16-2013, 01:54 AM
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Southeastern PA
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The other week my mouthy horse had carrots for the first time in 3 years, as he is mouthy. He did well with them and might get them again. He tries to hold my clothing, just lips.

I see no benefit in him holding me, so he is not pemitted to, he can show his affection another way.
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post #12 of 33 Old 05-16-2013, 02:17 AM
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Cantley,Quebec
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I hand feed a treat after my horses have exercised and on their way back to pasture. I have never had a problem with it so far. They are all quite soft with their mouths. I really enjoy hand feeding them the odd treat.
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post #13 of 33 Old 05-16-2013, 02:39 AM Thread Starter
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I don't have an issue with feeding treats at all as long as the horse is respectful and doesn't pester or nip. However, my first pony (many moons ago) was greedy and pushy so I quit with the titbits and have just never got into that habit with her successors. Now I feel like a meany!

We are playing the odds every time we have dealings with large animals, no matter how well mannered they may be. I am currently sporting a fat lip and bruised cheekbone after two bulling heifers bumped the gate as I was closing it and it ricocheted into my face. Just as well I'm a miserable cuss, if I had been smiling it would have hit me in the teeth!

That said, you must have an element of trust with your horse somewhere along the line. Otherwise we wouldn't be hauling our fragile little bodies onto their backs and asking so much of them day after day.
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post #14 of 33 Old 05-16-2013, 02:43 AM
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Indiana
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That said, you must have an element of trust with your horse somewhere along the line. Otherwise we wouldn't be hauling our fragile little bodies onto their backs and asking so much of them day after day.[/QUOTE]

Trust, brave, stupid. Fine line. I tend the latter! Lol.
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post #15 of 33 Old 05-16-2013, 04:16 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: New South Wales, Australia
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I think that's sweet.

I know my horse does some cute things that others wouldn't like

Each person has different boundaries. I think part of being a horse owner is making the judgement calls for what you think is acceptable for you and your horse. Some people tie solid, some won't, some turn out with halters, some never would, some wear helmets when they ride, others don't. It's a choice each person makes and enforces, and isn't really any of my business.
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post #16 of 33 Old 05-16-2013, 05:26 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2013
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Earlier in this thread Alex asked me what was to be gained by my horse's behaviour and I replied that there was nothing. To be honest, I wasn't sure why something had to be gained in the first place. I have since given this more thought and would like to retract my original answer.

I posted on Samson's quirk after yesterday's occurence. I had turned him out in a new paddock (not unfamiliar to him, but first time this year). While my other gelding got on with mowing the new grass, Samson was on high alert and remained so all day. When I brought him in at night, instead of heading for his hay he turned as if to say "Don't go yet". I went back in to his pen, he latched onto my sleeve, sighed heavily and fell asleep. He was so tired from not feeling comfortable in the new paddock. I waited with him for 10 minutes or so before prising myself from his lips and sneaking out.

Not wishing to sound all New Age but as I walked home I realised how incredibily relaxed I felt. Refreshed, almost as if I'd just had a nap myself! I spend so much time taking care of the physical needs of my animals. Sometimes I need to be reminded to 'chill' with them too.

So, I would say that both Samson and I get something from his habit. Three cheers for my "therapy horse"!

And thank you Alex for making me think (it doesn't come easy!).
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post #17 of 33 Old 05-16-2013, 08:09 AM
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: New England
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My horse does the same thing! Mostly with my husband (he is in love with him). He'll just gently nuzzle his arm and then subtly grab a bit of his shirt in his lips and fall asleep. My husband will gently rub his forehead and muzzle as he falls deeper and deeper asleep. He also just loves to have his lips and teeth rubbed. He never bites but I have also wondered if I should let him do this... so far it seems harmless and I doubt my husband would stop doing it to him anyways.
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post #18 of 33 Old 05-16-2013, 08:13 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2013
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Ha, ha Laura, sounds like a bit of a "Bromance" going on there!
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post #19 of 33 Old 05-16-2013, 08:25 AM
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: PA
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My horse likes to rub his upper lip on me in a "mutual grooming" sort of way and is very gentle about it.
When I first bought him he would steal hats off my head (ball cap in the summer, beanie in the winter) but since we have developed a bond that behavior has turned more into nuzzling and affection.

He isn't a mouthy horse, rarely gets a hand fed treat, and overall isn't pushy or needy so I watch him carefully but let him do it.
At any point if I want him to stop I make a motion and he instantly stops.

Anyway, yes there are plenty of people who wouldn't like you being your horse's pacifier (and I'm sure they have told you) but hey... who are we to judge. :)
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post #20 of 33 Old 05-16-2013, 08:39 AM
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Cariboo, British Columbia
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We know our horses and what is dominate, bad or bratty behavior and what is not. OP, you know your horse and you know it's a security, comforting behavior, not a bad habit. I handfeed my horses because they know human flesh should never touch their teeth, they always carefully reach for only the treat, but I have worked with horses who weren't so careful, & pushy, they got none, each horse is different.
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