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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
{I hope this is the right place for this thread.}

Hey there guys and gals! As some of you might know, I recently got my first horse, Dixie a few weeks back. She and I are both healing from leg injuries (not related) so we haven't really got to experience a 'real' ride together. Last weekend I did ride her for less then ten minutes and it was simply wonderful. I barely had to move the reins in order to turn her, she stopped on a dime and backed up like a dream. Despite the fact that our first ride was short, I was so impressed by her knack for riding like a charm. When it comes to haltering and tacking she is also great. But I do notice somethings when we are practicing our ground work together, when she is in her stall and other things that have crossed my mind and made me curious to ask about. I am new to this, so bare with me, that's why I am making this thread.

1. When Dixie in her stall and I approach, she brings her head out of the door and throws her head around all over the place. I am surprised that she doesn't nail herself on the framing of the top of the stall door. She turns her head sideways and makes the most interesting open mouth faces that I've ever seen. Does she do this because she is excited to come out of her stall or is she doing this because she's throwing an attitude fit to be let out?

2. When petting Dixie on the face or neck, she does the same thing with throwing her head around. Now, I've read enough to tell me that a horse should never invade one's person space if the person doesn't want them to. I don't mind if she is trying to be playful and get attention, but she has a massive head and I am afraid one day she will catch me off guard and nail me with her huge cranium. How can I get her to not be a violent with tossing her head around when I pet her face or neck. She leans into it, so she must enjoy it and she's not being aggressive. I am just curious how I can get her to tone it down a little with the attempting to headbutt me.

3. Where Dixie is being boarded, there are 3 other horses. A mare and two geldings; Sally, Diablo and Fynn. Sally didn't like Dixie at first, but now just kind of ignores her. Fynn seems to have taken a liking to Dixie, but when Sally moves the herd off, Fynn leaves Dixie alone. And Diablo, he seems to really hate that there is a new comer in the herd. If anything, I would say that Diablo is the 'lead gelding' compared to Fynn. Does it take a long time for a band of horses to accept a new horse? I mean, I am sure they aren't always going to get along, the current three don't always sometimes. But I guess as Dixie's owner, I just feel bad that she is the outcast now. I can tell she really likes them though, because if they out and she is stalled, she cries like a little baby and gets very excited to come out when its her turn. Normally she trots right over to where ever the other three are and ends up getting chased away by Diablo.

4. She keeps her ears back a lot. I notice that some other members of the HF have pictures of their horses and their ears seem to be back a lot too. Is she just a priss for doing this or do I annoy her that much? Hahaha. Is this just something that horses do? Just curious :3

I think I have a few other things in mind, but right now this is all I can come up with to ask about. Thanks in advance to those that reply <3​
 

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See my answers in green :)


1. When Dixie in her stall and I approach, she brings her head out of the door and throws her head around all over the place. I am surprised that she doesn't nail herself on the framing of the top of the stall door. She turns her head sideways and makes the most interesting open mouth faces that I've ever seen. Does she do this because she is excited to come out of her stall or is she doing this because she's throwing an attitude fit to be let out? She is just excited and anxious to get out on her stall. Some horses do this, some don't, but the ones who do are very good at not wracking themselves on things.

2. When petting Dixie on the face or neck, she does the same thing with throwing her head around. Now, I've read enough to tell me that a horse should never invade one's person space if the person doesn't want them to. I don't mind if she is trying to be playful and get attention, but she has a massive head and I am afraid one day she will catch me off guard and nail me with her huge cranium. How can I get her to not be a violent with tossing her head around when I pet her face or neck. She leans into it, so she must enjoy it and she's not being aggressive. I am just curious how I can get her to tone it down a little with the attempting to headbutt me.
If she is trying to rub on you, I'd give her an elbow to the face to let her know to cut it out. It sounds like she is just enjoying the attention and feeling good, so it's not a bad thing, but you obviously don't want to get hit by her head. If she gets too close, use your elbow and she will learn to do it away from you. Other than keeping yourself safe, I wouldn't worry about trying to change the behavior.

3. Where Dixie is being boarded, there are 3 other horses. A mare and two geldings; Sally, Diablo and Fynn. Sally didn't like Dixie at first, but now just kind of ignores her. Fynn seems to have taken a liking to Dixie, but when Sally moves the herd off, Fynn leaves Dixie alone. And Diablo, he seems to really hate that there is a new comer in the herd. If anything, I would say that Diablo is the 'lead gelding' compared to Fynn. Does it take a long time for a band of horses to accept a new horse? I mean, I am sure they aren't always going to get along, the current three don't always sometimes. But I guess as Dixie's owner, I just feel bad that she is the outcast now. I can tell she really likes them though, because if they out and she is stalled, she cries like a little baby and gets very excited to come out when its her turn. Normally she trots right over to where ever the other three are and ends up getting chased away by Diablo.
She has only been there a short time and it will take a while for them to accept her. There was a horse at my barn who got picked on by all the others for the first 2 or 3 months he was there. Once a new horse came in, who eventually became the new boss, he and one of the other geldings became great friends and no one picks on him.

4. She keeps her ears back a lot. I notice that some other members of the HF have pictures of their horses and their ears seem to be back a lot too. Is she just a priss for doing this or do I annoy her that much? Hahaha. Is this just something that horses do? Just curious :3
Probably just a little attitude problem, but if she is not in pain and doing everything you ask, I would not worry about it in most cases. It's kind of hard to give good advice on this one without seeing the behavior in person.


I think I have a few other things in mind, but right now this is all I can come up with to ask about. Thanks in advance to those that reply <3​
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you very kindly for the replies and the assurance that everything is what I thought it might be. I am just green to the horse world and wanted to make sure that she wasn't trying to knock me out with her big head or that she would never be accepted into the 'herd'. I figured that it would take a while for her to be accepted in the first place, but I needed that bit of assurance.

As far as the ears pinned back goes, her previous owner told me that she does it all of the time. Even now with her leg injury she does it, but she has always done it in the past as well.

OHHH there was another thing I thought of!!
5. I don't really know how to explain this and I should probably post a video of it, because I think its cute. Whenever Dixie is on the crossties, being hand walked or after she gets corrected for a behavioral thing, she pops her lips. I know that when horses are being submissive, they will lick their lips or gum with their mouths. Is this popping/smacking with her mouth the same thing?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Oh no, I know what the Flehmens response is.
I mean like literally slapping her lips together which produces a popping noise :p
 

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My boyfriend likes to refer to those as "thoompy lips" because with my big girl they make kind of a thoop sound :lol:

So now that you know the super technical term... it's just a habit :wink: I know quite a few horses who have odd things they do with their lips when they are bored or playing around.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
She does do the Flehmans response when I tickle her muzzle though or sometimes if I just have applied liniment to her leg and touch her muzzle she does it.

But the flapping lip thing is something different. A horse friend of mine told me its another form of submission. Or it could be boredom or playing too. But if she's doing it on the crossties or when she's being corrected, it makes me think its more of a submission thing. Oh well, was just curious :p
 
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