Why horses are NOT dogs - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 60 Old 06-10-2016, 02:10 AM
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Love this post.

I have five horses- one I work with. The other four are completely happy to be left alone. In fact, they'd prefer if you don't even scratch them. Trouble on the other hand, wasn't socialized very much when he was young, and I kind of forced him to become my "herd mate" with a month of seeing no one -horse or human- other than I.
Pair that with being in socialized, and having the herd members bully him, and he now prefers me over them. But that isn't the loyalty of a dog , it's the simple fact of:
Herd/horses = bites on the bum, being pushed around, being kicked, chased from hay etc.
Me = minimal (if any) bites, nice quiet time, lots of hay or grass, safety, minimal "rules"
He obviously sees the strict rules I set for him easier to be around than the herd members. Many times they bite him even IF he moves in time, whereas I only have to ask and he does it- it never escalates into me having to "bite" him.

A friend recently got a small pony for her brother. He's 10 months old, a stallion with ZERO manners. He bites, paws, tries to mount you, kicks you, pulls the lead. I immediately laid out a set of extremely strict rules. You paw? You get a good snap on the lead. You bite? You get a slap in the nose. You pull on the lead? You now have to run. In an hour we went from an unruly pony who wouldn't stand to a calm cool cucumber who I could sit next to in the grass.

It was when we were sitting in the grass when her aunt made a comment. He was pawing, I gave a good snap on the lead. He'd wait five minutes and test again. At this time it was a battle of wits. She looked at me and sincerely asked why he was doing that and why he wasn't allowed. I replied with- since he's a child's pony in the making, he has to learn to stand quietly, and not paw in case he nicks a child.

He pawed again and got a harsher response this time, a sharp slap with the lead. She looked at me nastily and said "I think it's because he doesn't like you. Yes, he hates you."

EXCUSE ME LADY he doesn't "hate" anyone! Says the woman who let him bite her on the shin hard enough to draw blood!! Just because he's small does NOT mean he can't hurt a child. He's not a dog. He is a horse. He doesn't have emotions. I tried to explain that he was pawing because he'd rather be off eating grass but she was adamant on the fact she believed he hated me, and went on to say " I don't think you should make him do anything else." No lady, you should be the one that doesn't touch him, you let him draw blood from you and reward it with scratching and coddling like a puppy.
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post #22 of 60 Old 06-10-2016, 07:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Zexious View Post
^Admittedly, I don't see what's wrong with loving a pet the way you would love a child? Not everyone is blessed with the ability to procreate, after all...
There's absolutely nothing wrong with loving your animals like you would a child, it's all about knowing that they are NOT children nor human and not anthropomorphizing them. The horse doesn't think, "Hmmmm, that mean woman spanked me for biting, I think she's awful." They think, "OH, guess I better not do that again, next time she might kick or run me through a fence." The problem comes in when they are like the over indulgent parent and give in to every whim and let bad behavior slide to the point where the horse is in charge, not the handler.
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post #23 of 60 Old 06-10-2016, 08:19 AM
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If anybody calls their animal a 'furbaby' in my presence they should be glad I am not normally armed with anything more than a leatherman.

Oh I must make you absolutely crazy! LOL! I have called my cat "Sophie" my fur baby on here many times. Do I think of her as one of my children seriously? No. Do I think she's a human? Heck no! Do I love her to bits? You bet! She's seven years old but it feels like yesterday I adopted her. I'm going to be terribly sad when she goes. I've bonded very closely with this cat, more so than any other cat I've ever seen.

"Fur baby," is just a term to me. To me it means different things to different people. For me, it simply means someone who cares a lot about their pets. Does it mean I think they feel their animals are children to them? Na. And I don't agree with trying to treat a cat like a human child either.

Right now "Sophie" is on the front porch, being a cat. It's what I expect of her. She's out there just enjoying the sun, sitting in one of my favorite chairs, and watching the birds fly by though the windows. When she wants a cuddle she'll find me.

Now, having owned cats, having understood them a bit. Does it make me a good candidate to own a horse? Heck no! Oh my dear lord I'm so under-qualified it's ridiculous and I know it! I've learned a lot, thanks you to you people, appreciate it. But no where near ready to be a horse owner. Long ways to go.

Now.. if someone were to come up to me, and try to teach me something about a horse, and it was something like crowding at feeding times.. if they said to me, "ever see a dog with food aggression," I would know what they were talking about. They then could take that association I have in my brain, and teach me a way to deal with a horse who was crowding me. Would it be the same? No. But it would be a good way for me to understand them, me being so raw to horses.

I don't see a problem with someone saying, "It's kinda like this. I'm telling you this so you can understand where I am coming from. But since we're talking about horses instead you gotta do it like that." It's association. It helps things click in my brain sometimes when some things are hard to understand.. Never will I mistake a horse for a dog. But taking things the person who is learning is familiar with, and helping them, guiding them, to understand what you're teaching, yey!!!
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post #24 of 60 Old 06-10-2016, 09:23 AM
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None of us were born knowing about horses Kyleen, but those of us who were serious about them tried to learn the proper way to handle/ride/train them.


Horses are dirt cheap right now, so anyone and everyone who has seen Spirit, The Black Stallion, or any number of silly horse movies think they're qualified to go out and buy a nag or two and the horsies will be taught with 'lurve'. Puke.


Ever seen how horses interact? They sure as heck don't train or discipline with love and kisses. It's biting, kicking, chasing and pawing. Herd leaders rule with an iron hoof, and expect obedience. Once everyone has learned their place, it usually only takes a well timed ears-back look to make a recalcitrant fall back in line.


I don't beat my horses, but I'm not averse to smacking them with the flat of my hand, or pushing them away if they forget their manners. A nice, long dressage whip can also come in handy if you have one that likes to crowd. I am alpha in my herd, even to the herd leader. THAT'S how horses need to be handled, not with smooches, baby talk, and stuffing peppermints in their mouths to make them 'behave'. All you're doing is teaching them that their ill manners will be rewarded. I have my horses' respect, and to me that's much more important than them 'wuvving' me. They look to me for guidance and protection, and in turn do as I ask. Affection usually comes with time, but you need that basic of respect and trust first.
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post #25 of 60 Old 06-10-2016, 09:54 AM
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I have to admit that I have called my pets my 'fur babies'. Do I think of them as my baby like I would if they were human? Heck no!! My dogs are not allowed on furniture, they do not jump on people or beg for food. They don't get people food...they get treated like dogs.

Same with the horses. I don't go out there and baby talk them or kiss and hug on them. They get treated like horses...I just call them my 'fur babies'. Mostly cause I care a great deal about them and they are in my care. It is just a term....it really boils down to how people actually interact with their animals.
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post #26 of 60 Old 06-10-2016, 10:05 AM
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I have to admit that I have called my pets my 'fur babies'. Do I think of them as my baby like I would if they were human? Heck no!! My dogs are not allowed on furniture, they do not jump on people or beg for food. They don't get people food...they get treated like dogs.

Same with the horses. I don't go out there and baby talk them or kiss and hug on them. They get treated like horses...I just call them my 'fur babies'. Mostly cause I care a great deal about them and they are in my care. It is just a term....it really boils down to how people actually interact with their animals.
This. I have to admit, I love my horse. I do. He saved me from a lot of things when I was sixteen. Saved me from myself.

I do hug on him and love on him, kiss him and coddle him. But what gets me is the people who get upset when they don't react the way they expect. A dog will get so excited to be loved it pees. A horse will headbutt you in the mouth unintentionally even when you're kissing on him. That makes some people mad.

I'm also not above demanding respect and implying very harsh repercussions. I used to carry a dressage whip because Trouble pawed, and he'd get a GOOD hard slap with it because he knew he wasn't allowed to paw. He was testy and try to do it while out of range. But guess who's tied? He was. I've also thrown something at him to give an immediate consequence when I was out of range. Then on the other hand I have a friend who lets him absolutely walk all over her. He's pushed her down while trying to lead him, something he's never even thought about attempting with me. I gave her a dressage whip and when he crowded her she half heartedly touched his shoulder with it. I was yelling "SMACK HIM HES GOING TO RUN YOU OVER" I felt like Clinton Anderson she doesn't handle my horse anymore.
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post #27 of 60 Old 06-10-2016, 10:15 AM
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I admittedly call my horse "my baby" or "my child", I picked the stud and the mare and had her since birth and I do adore her. But when I think about the day when I actually have kids, I think about how I would treat them - fair boundaries, discipline, praise, teach them responsibility, and create a work ethic in them. I want the same out of my horses that I would want out of my kids - in fact, it's been good practice at deterring me from having kids haha. So when I say my horse is my child, it's really because she is still in the stage where I am trying to teach her those values before she becomes the ultimate goal of being my partner.

It's like the difference between being "in love" and "loving" your horse. Being "in love" with your horse makes you ignore it's flaws and you give up your respect trying to make your horse love you. Loving your horse is understanding that a healthy relationship has mutual respect and trust and that you commit yourself to working on the relationship. I'm aware that horses don't have the same "love" for humans, but as a human I want to make sure that my love for horses is a benefit to the horse, not a detriment to both of us.

That being said, my dogs are not very well trained and I find training horses is much easier than training dogs... At least I'm aware of this and just get small, low maintenance, naturally friendly dogs to perform the duties that I want out of a dog that I can't get from a horse - sit on my lap and cuddle with me, haha.
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post #28 of 60 Old 06-10-2016, 10:23 AM
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Yeah and when I was younger I seen one of our dogs go in to try and bite my six month old nephew. My nephew was reaching for one of his toys on his pallet on the floor and the dog wanted it. Soon as that dog's mouth got near that baby and started growling, snarling, it got a boot in its *** and didn't do it again. Did the dog feel it? Yep! Did I do it hard enough to hurt the dog permanently? Hell no. Was I mad at the dog? No. I just wanted him to move away, quickly. I had seen my dad do it to another dog under similar circumstances, and that dog never tried that again.. Guess what I learned. >.< That same dog never tried to bite anyone again. Would this work for every dog? I don't know. I'm no dog trainer. But I know in the end, teaching that dog not to bite is what was best for the dog, and for my family. Did I go about it the right way? I don't know. I was a kid. Probably better ways to handle it out there. Just doing what I was taught.

With any animal, part of loving it, is learning to tell it NO, and meaning it... Same with your kids..
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post #29 of 60 Old 06-10-2016, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by WhattaTroublemaker View Post
. But what gets me is the people who get upset when they don't react the way they expect. A dog will get so excited to be loved it pees. A horse will headbutt you in the mouth unintentionally even when you're kissing on him. That makes some people mad.
Dogs don't pee when they get excited to be loved. They pee because they are reacting like a puppy to a dominant aggressive adult, it is a signal (like foal 'clacking') that means "don't hurt me, I'm just a puppy". They are scared. Maybe happy-scared, but scared.

Horses don't headbutt 'unintentionally'. Horses have a very exact sense of personal space, yours and theirs. If they butt you it means one thing -- they believe they can. It is a lack of respect for your boundaries.

Reacting appropriately out of knowledge of animal behavior does not preclude love. Far from it. To me, it makes love more real, because you are seeing the animal for who it really is, and meeting it on their ground.

(If a dog pees submissively, work on your own demeanor. Become small, quiet, and uninterested, so the dog can have the space to greet you without panic).

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post #30 of 60 Old 06-10-2016, 11:08 AM
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Basically, the only association a horse and a dog have is in a teaching lesson. They're not the same animal, at all. But if you're trying to teach someone with a thick head, or someone that doesn't know any horse terminology and is still learning *raises hand sheepishly* it's okay to grab onto something they do understand, then teach them the right way to go about it with a horse..

And I feel that way about anything when teaching anything. I do it often with my kids. I'll go, "Well you know that, you know how to do that, so lets take that and this is the same thing in a different way. Here I'll show you." Some people just learn this way.. Using examples of things that the student knows, in order to teach them something unfamiliar, that's about the only time it's okay.. It won't be the same because the animals are not the same. Dogs are way different than horses.. But you'll get though to the thick human's head that way.. >.<

A horse has to walk on a lead. A dog has to walk on a leash. I know a bit about how a dog should behave when being walked on a leash. Do I know anything about walking a horse on a lead? Nope.. But if a problem comes up, I know my trainer can use what I know about dogs, give me a bit of a reference point to understand what the heck she's talking about.. modify it to fit the horse, then work on it..
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The only thing evil needs to thrive, is for good men to do nothing. - Edmond Burke

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