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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just read an article written by a veterinarian that suspected that the reason that horses yawn (unlike humans) is a display of discomfort. Sometimes they do it when you take the bridle off to adjust jaw? Anyone have any ideas on this. I find this interesting as I never saw it as something related to pain.
 

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Yawning doesn't always mean discomfort (I can't really argue with a vet), however, it doesn't always mean they are right. Yawning sometimes means that they are relaxed or lazy, other times it indicates that they are bored or tired with what is going on. The bit only causes discomfort when harshly used or the horse has a problem with it's teeth or something else. Hope I helped.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The article was in the Horse.com newsletter. I was skeptical yet interested as I always assumed that the horse's yawn, like people and other animals, was a relaxation sign. I was surprised that some vets thought something entirely different. When my horse yawns he certainly doesn't appear to be in pain of any sort. Thanks for your opinion on the subject.
 

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When I was grooming my horse yesterday in the paddock, she yawned several times and almost fell asleep. She was indeed very relaxed in the sun with me brushing her gently, so I would say that there can certainly be several reasons for the horses to yawn. One could be discomfort (I heard that as well), but another is without doubt a sign of relaxation.
 

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I always associated yawning with sleepiness or something like that, because you yawn when you lack oxygen, and when you tired you breath less rythmatically.

When my mare yawns, she always chews afterwards as if eating something. LOL. It's weird.
 

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I have heard the same thing about dogs, they yawn out of feeling awkward some times I heard. Humans yawn for other reasons than being sleepy, too. So, discomfort could be a reason... *shrug*
 

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I always thought a yawn was the body's way of getting in more oxygen, but without the adrelaline. I've never seen a horse yawn from pain or discomfort that I am aware of. However, I have had issues with my more dominant mare -- she used to yawn in my face and I always told her that wasn't allowed. Seemed far too agressive to me. She could turn her head and I didn't need her teeth in my face!
 

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Any one else find themselves yawning while reading this thread? (no not because it's boring), I know yawns are contagious but I didn't know that just reading about it could trigger the reaction... I've yawned 3 times!
 

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My mare yawns all the time. Sometimes after I take the bridle off, sometimes when I'm trying to put her bridle on, sometimes when I'm grooming her, sometimes when I get to the barn on the early side and wake her up, she's just a big yawner. =]

 

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I've heard a few reasons why horses yawn, but don't know if one of them is right, or both.
First I've heard that they yawn when they are nervous since they take shorter breaths and need oxygen.
The second is that they yawn when they are relaxed.
 

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Foaling

I've sat up many a night watching mares who were about ready to foal. We have a camera system in our barn. Many times a mare will yawn many times before she lies down to foal. In fact, I've heard many times that excessive yawning can be a sign of foaling.

Other times, horses yawn because of other reasons. I cannot say I've seen a colicky horse yawn. Have you?
 

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That's really weird. Most of the times I see the horses yawn, they're just chillaxin in the pasture. Once in awhile it's when you're riding, but I would assume if it was from pain, there would be some other signals. I've never seen a yawning horse give even the slightest sign of discomfort, it's always a very relaxed horse. Interesting, I wonder what makes them say that...
 

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First I've heard that they yawn when they are nervous since they take shorter breaths and need oxygen.
If you think about that, it does make sense. I mean when a person is nervous they take short breaths or even hold their breath. I suppose the brain is telling the brain that it is running out if oxygen. LOL
 
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