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Horses make perfect sense to horses, and not always perfect sense to humans. We seem to be forever on a detective mission to find out the reason why our horses are behaving one way or another. Sometimes it's their personality, sometimes it's a health issue...sometimes it's us! But whatever it is, it's up to us to find the answer. I was inspired to create a fun and informative topic in which everybody can lend some illustration (dialogue) to horse behavior. Monty Roberts says "Learn the language 'Equus.'" So let's give the horse a voice, and create a compendium of equine behavior translations!

Here are the rules:
1) Post a real situation that you've been through with a horse's behavior.
2) Include the horse's age, gender, and breed (if you know it.)
3) Any situation for the behavior is acceptable, whether you only witnessed your horse in the pasture or were riding at the time.
4) Behaviors can be attributable to general horse biology, health, gender, physical condition, personality, genetics, herd dynamics (dominance)...anything. Everything is useful, no matter if we consider it to be funny, strange, or serious.
5) Describe the horse's behavior, and follow it up with a "dialogue" to illustrate what [you KNOW, to the best of your ability] the horse was "trying to say".
6) If the behavior was undesirable, be sure to post how the situation was resolved. This will help others with the same or similar behavioral issues.
7) This is a sharing and learning zone, not a judgment zone. Feel free to post situations describing 'that one time my horse was trying to tell me something, and I didn't understand at the time, but now I do." But don't feel pressured to include details of everything that you did, particularly if you feel negatively about it.

I've told this story elsewhere, but I'll post it here:

A basic loose-ring snaffle bit that's too big for my horse's mouth:
5 year old Shire x Trakehner mare. Green; barely accustomed to a bit.

*Bridle on. Mare chews on the bit.*
"Weird. Okay. I like chewing on it."
*We start riding on a loose rein. She's doing well, continues chewing and walking casually. Then we add some contact...*
"Whoa, what happened? It's resting on the end of my tongue. I should spit it out!"
*Mare chews on bit, pulls heavily on reins, mouth opened. Chews on bit more.*
"I really want to spit this out or hold it in place with my teeth so it stops doing that..."
*Mare continues walking but pulls again, mouth open, almost down to the ground before closing her mouth. I let her do it as I think that she's stretching and doing an acceptable thing for a 'green' horse.*
This happened every single ride, but never in a halter. I later learned her bit (a loose-ring standard snaffle bit) was too big, and that it was essentially sitting as a very large V on her tongue. I also learned that this behavior can be indicative of back pain, ill saddle fit, etc., but the behavior didn't carry on while in a halter or after I changed the bit. Problem solved, happy horse!
 
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