Thanks! The forum members have already helped me alot by giving active advice and me reading the other topics has also helped! I just want to understand horses so I can react appropriate... Others often tell me I am too kind and have to be more firm, but I first and foremost want to be able to understand what the horses are saying before I do something stupid like 'correct' a horse swinging his head when he might actually be in pain and trying to tell me that his bit hurts or something along those lines...Hi Katelyn & jolien, welcome to you both! Nice to have another person here willing to help newbies Katelyn.
You will notice I've changed the thread title to be appropriate for one subject. Best put questions on separate subjects in different threads, in the appropriate subforums.
Now gotta run so won't add my 20c on your q's jolien but there is lots of knowledge here to give you answers you want!
Oh and don't apologise for asking questions jolien - only silly q's are the ones you didn't ask & should have done! ;-)
^^My horse does the same! It'd be cool to see why, haha. Sometimes he nibbles my boot as well, or nibbles whips, or anything else I'm holding. He only does it when we're halted though.
Not sure if it's the same, but I have one horse now who sort of groans a lot - kind of 'humming', now you call it that. He seems to do it when he's relaxed, never when he's stressed or concentrating on some task - usually when moseying on the trail. Had a vet come check him out cos never experienced that before - I mean, horses occasionally do this, but this one does it a LOT & for long periods - like sometimes keeps going for a minute at a time. They didn't find anything wrong & weren't concerned, so I suppose it's just a quirk of his.-What does it mean when a horse makes a humming sound?? (context: trail riding, new rider, crappy light riding and the horse hummed after that.) Also hummed in the beginning of the ride. His body language seemed relaxed to me.
Firstly, rearing is potentially extremely dangerous. If you're a total newbie, is this your horse? If not, I would not handle this horse, at very least without experienced supervision. If he is yours, you may sometimes have to deal with him alone, but I'd strongly suggest having regular sessions with a good trainer.-What do you have to do when a horse rears and you are holding him on a lead rope? Last time I lifted my arm and gave the horse some rope so I would not be jerking the horse his head. After he landed I stayed where I was and calmly spoke to him. After I saw him do some more side leaps I jerked the lead rope with equal intensity (not that hard) to give the message: do not run or pull this rope! Meanwhile I stayed calm. I approached the horse still speaking calmly to him. (ps he did not run away and did not pull me any further) He reared because he was excited or maybe scared about a sudden appearance of broken out horses. Not because of dominance, I think?? I am a total newbie to horses and I really just didn't know what to do.
Lots of animals(me included ;-) ) don't enjoy people reaching for or trying to 'pet' their head or nose. So maybe that's why he pulls back & it doesn't necessarily mean he was previously 'traumatised'. But then, horses are often punished for putting their mouth on a human in any way(can very easily & quickly become dangerous), and I don't think that necessarily equates to 'traumatised' or unreasonable. However, IF his behaviour is due to being punished, if he is nibbling you, then turning away when you respond, he obviously hasn't learned not to nibble & I'd imagine the 'punishment' he got was too late or otherwise not effectively dealt.-One horse often approaches me in the pasture, touches me and slightly nibbles me. When I turn around to touch his head he pulls his head away so I turn my back and leave him in peace, but then he touches me again, so I asked some other riders what was up. They said to me: he wants attention. So I touched his back and rubbed him meanwhile watching his ears and nose. Those were not pinned nor tense. But I don't understand why he pulls away when I try to touch his head.... He used to be a race horse, maybe he is traumatized a little bit? Or does not like being touched on the nose?
As said, many would not allow/encourage this at all. As you're a 'newbie', I'd advise you not to either, as, if you're not fully aware & ready to be effective/stay safe with excellent timing, you can too easily be injured. So saying, I allow my horses to gently nuzzle me with their lips, NEVER EVER with their teeth, so we can have a 'mutual grooming session', as horses do with eachother. Even then, you need to be uber aware & ready to react, as for eg, if you find a particularly itchy spot, the horse can respond by turning the lip nuzzle into a painful 'love bite' if you're not careful!Would you touch/stroke a horse that gently touches you or nibbles you??
This doesn't necessarily mean he's had prior 'bad experiences', just that he's trying to communicate to the people he doesn't like it. Seems they're not 'listening' tho, as people often don't, until the horse needs to 'shout' - great that you are taking notice of these 'little things'!I do see him pin his ears towards other riders that touch his nose)
As for 'bonding', agree with Atoka. Also just hanging out with them, spending time. As for trust, just being your non-threatening self, being aware of & 'congruent' with your own bodylanguage & 'listening to' & considerate(respectFUL) of theirs should help them feel OK about you generally. I think true trust - as in, asking stuff of a horse that may make them nervous - taking them away from mates or safety or whatever - takes being seen as a respected leader. They not only have to see you as non-threatening, but someone who is willing & able to keep them safe regardless. Therefore I think that is not something you can just learn over night, but will take time & experience. Hopefully you also have a good teacher.Do you have good/lesser known tips to bond with a horse and gain their trust?
As to the horse you were mounting, yeah, I'd guess he was 'protesting' against discomfort/pain associated with mounting(be it bit, being held too tight, sore back, saddle...) that he may not have had with you, but anticipated due to prior experience. BTW if you always mount from the ground, this can be damaging for a horse, to have your weight drag the saddle sideways as you climb aboard. Best use a mounting block whenever possible.I was mounting a horse with a bit in it's mouth. I was not pulling the reins and he violently shook his head up and down vertically... I thought: man this horse is trying to tell me he doesn't like the bit/it hurts?? The other riders told me he was just protesting. During the riding he barely shook his head. I saw the other horses with a bit open their mouth (it looked like they were in pain to me, but maybe I am mistaken) and foaming... They also repeatedly openend and closed their mouth on the bits.
Haha to the last! I don't think it would be that he's itchy. I don't think it's just 'I want to look you in the eye'. But the others are possibilities. Ulcers or saddle pain are possible reasons too.Also the horse I ride turns his head very far backward, looking (I think, he is wearing a fly mask so I don't see his eyes) towards my leg and feet. ... but he still does this every time he knows I am gonna give him some leg aid... I really don't know what he wants to tell me: I am itchy? You annoy me? You hurt me? You are gonna do this wrong? I wanna look you in the eye to see how you feel??? What do you want from me woman?
Does he turn his bum towards you as you approach, or was he already in this position & turns his head? If he just doesn't move his body but looks at you, I'd guess he's inviting/waiting for you to come to him, or waiting to be told what to do. If he turns his backside on you as you approach, could be that he's threatening or getting ready to bug off, but as he's looking at you 'kindly', it could well be because he's asking for a bum scratch! I have one who will back up to you for a bum scratch!he also turnes his head towards me while his butt is facing me
Pet peeve of mine: Folks "climb aboard" a horse and then think mounting from the ground is a problem. Mounting from the ground is NOT an issue if one mounts correctly:...BTW if you always mount from the ground, this can be damaging for a horse, to have your weight drag the saddle sideways as you climb aboard. Best use a mounting block whenever possible....
Bonding tip: Hand grazing. If you have a safe area to do this, lead your horse to an area outside of it's enclosure, away from his usual buddies and living area, and then just let them graze while holding the lead rope. Trigger and I started out mowing the roadside several times a week, with me just sitting on the ground and holding a longer lead rope so he could roam but not get too far away.
Activities that ask nothing of them, or require no work - Grooming them, finding the itchy places and scrubbing till the horse curls up on you, softly singing something soothing while brushing them (Trigger enjoys Seven Spanish Angels on repeat and will visibly relax to it), playing Dress Up (How does this blanket/pad color look on this horse? In other words: Tack up and untack without actually getting in the saddle just because).... and most of all: Be present. Be the leader. Be a fair, consistent, calm leader. They enjoy friendship, sure, but they value a leader more - because instinctively they know the leader will protect them.
Hard to bond if you're not there feeding them, making sure they have water, talking to them, and simply being in their presence. Hard to truly bond if you're not a being a present, fair, consistent, leader.
Another idea, but more advanced: This last weekend, we went swimming in the lake. I kept him in the water for 45 minutes. It took him that long to genuinely relax and play with me. I'd not recommend this for a beginner, there's a lot that can go wrong but it was definitely an amazing bonding moment when he finally relaxed in my company and around other people and horses in the water, and began to truly play, roll, and paw the water with me.
I can't let this go by unchallenged!!Pet peeve of mine: Folks "climb aboard" a horse and then think mounting from the ground is a problem. Mounting from the ground is NOT an issue if one mounts correctly:
Mounting should be a back to front motion, not sideways up and over the horse. With a handful of mane, starting from the rear edge of the saddle, going FORWARD as you pull on the mane, tossing a leg over as one moves forward. As much as possible, the movement should be parallel to the horse's back, not perpendicular, and the mane is what you pull.
Also, too many saddle have too narrow a gap running down the center of the saddle. A wide "channel" helps prevent the saddle from digging in right next to the horse's spine.
Mounting is one of the true fundamentals of riding. One cannot ride if one doesn't first get on the horse. For reasons I don't understand, folks don't take it seriously. Done well, a person can mount with the cinch hanging undone. I don't teach riding and never will. But if I did, I'd build a wooden horse back, with a rope for the mane, and teach people to mount without a cinch as one of their first lessons. If you mount without hurting the horse's back, you establish credibility with the horse before a single step has been taken.
Sorry. I cringe a lot when I see videos of people crawling up a horse's side. My wife does it too, but she rides 6 times a year so I just try not to look. AND to make sure SHE uses a mounting block.
Ok, I mount from the ground, even on really big horses. I will watch the video. Now I softly lower myself (I don't 'bump' on it's back). The horses I rode wore a western saddle. The horse I learn to ride on wears an expensive leather western saddle especially fitted for him so I don't think his back is sore? I wouldn't know... :s Too inexperienced.