© 2002 Cherry Hill www.horsekeeping.com
AND BAD HABITS
Horses Do Bad Things"
of Blemished Books for Sale
and Bad Habits
Part One: Vices
The most frequent type of question received at
We just purchased a two year
old filly and brought her home. She is in a 24 x 12 outside stall. She paces back
and forth. We tried putting her in a 50 foot round pen and she paced there. Do
you have any suggestions? We love the filly and are getting her broke. HELP! -
Please read the article on Vices in
this newsletter. Can you turn this filly out with another horse? At least occasionally?
Do you have any pastures or large paddocks that the horse can be turned out in
for at least an hour or so a day? Have you checked her ration to be sure you are
not feeding her too much high energy feed such as grain, concentrates, or alfalfa
hay? Is she the type of horse that can eat a little bit all day? If so, can you
feed her some grass hay about 4 or 5 times a day? Is she getting plenty of exercise
with her training? Does she have time to socialize with other horses?
I have a 7 year old Appaloosa mare. I bought her in Feb, she was
ridden dressage, I ride western but did ride dressage for 2 yrs,she loves to be
with me and has great ground manners, but she was only ridden in the arena , I
am training her to be a trail horse. She is coming along but has had a few panic
attacks that I just ride her through and shes fine. I was wondering if you could
explain something she does in her pen (60x60 sand- panels) She paces and lifts
her head up and sideways and walks a figure 8. I have put poles on the ground
and she walks over them or around them but she seems to want to be somewhere else.When
I come to her she is fine, when shes fed shes fine. She seems to do it less and
less but why would she do this in the first place. I have QH gelding in the next
pen and she will stand with him but she still paces. Any insight would be great.
See my questions above to Heidi
and the article that follows in this newsletter. By lifting her head up and sideways,
do you mean she holds one ear to the ground and one ear to the sky? If so, it
is possible she could have an ear infection or an infestation of ear mites or
ticks. Such conditions can be very bothersome to the point of keeping a horse
on the move. It does sound like she could use more exercise and variety of experience.
Weaving is related to pacing, so you might find some helpful ideas in the answer
to that letter.
We have just purchased a Dutch horse who has cribbed all of his life.
He is currently 5 years old. We used the Miracle collar as tight as possible (any
tighter and he chokes) and he still manages to crib. He is very talented. I saw
a program at least a year ago on the use of prosaic on animals with behavior problems.
One of theses animals was a horse who stopped cribbing almost immediately. I have
not been able to find any other information since then. We really need to find
a solution to this problem. Can you help? - Kristi
Kristi, I saw a program titled "Pets on Prozac". Is that the program you are referring
to? I do remember some remarkable turnarounds with some obsessive behaviors in
dogs. I'm including the URL to an article to help you decide whether Prozac is
suitable for your horse. Although I think this is the best article on the subject,
you can find others by searching with www.google.com using the search words "Prozac
of Prozac in Animals for Selected Dermatological and Behavioral Conditions
By Steven A. Melman, VMD
Veterinary Forum, August 1995
I have a 5 year old gelding who weaves, but hasn't yet made a career
out of it. He does this mostly when separated by fence from his favorite mare,
but is easily distracted by hay or direct attention, he'll calm down after she
is out of sight for a few minutes. This horse was also a great shier when I got
him. Only once did he lose touch with reality, when a strange horse was being
very obnoxious to him in the next stall. This horse's sire was a confirmed weaver,
but my horse rarely came in eye contact with him mine was kept outside 24/7 in
a far pasture. Has a genetic tendency been shown? and what can I do to discourage
this behavior turning into a career? are weaving and easy shying often linked
? - Coreen
I've never observed or heard that
weaving and shying are linked. However, they both tend to be vices that occur
in insecure or unsatisfied horses. Weaving is usually a result of confinement
and often occurs in anticipation of food or turnout or wanting to join a companion.
Here are some things you can try to incorporate into your horse's environment
to decrease weaving.
Horses are some of the kindest, most generous
and trainable animal partners you can find. That's why when a horse does something
"bad", it's usually due to management or training. In order to deal with vices
and bad habits, we need to understand what causes them. THEN we can design our
horse care and training to PREVENT them.
One of the main reasons
that horses develop vices is that they are overfed, underexercised, and confined.
As William Steinkraus said, "Never fight the oats".
you understand why your horse does the things he does, I'm including one of my
articles that has appeared in several magazines. I'm also including a chart which
is an excerpt from one of my books, Horse
for Sale . (If you don't have this book, there are a few blemished copies
for sale at book_list-damaged.)
Whether you are buying or selling a horse, or just trying to understand and deal
with the behavior of a horse that you already own, it helps to observe, read,
think, and then take action.
Good Horses Do Bad Things
Most horses are
good. However, any horse can become a bad actor with improper care or handling.
And certain horses have a predisposition to neurotic breakdown when faced with
everyday domestication pressures. Such a psychological frailty may be genetically
inherited, formed from early experiences with the dam or training, or may develop
later in life due to disease or trauma. Horses with neurotic tendencies often
Vices are undesirable habits that horses
exhibit in the stable environment and are generally caused by confinement, over
feeding, and stress. Examples are cribbing, stall kicking, and weaving.
habits, such as rearing, halter pulling, or tail wringing are undesirable
behaviors in response to human handling and are generally caused by rushed or
improper training, uncertainty, insecurity, or resentment. A resentful horse is
uncooperative and resistant. His resistance can be based on confusion, fear, disrespect,
fatigue, and occasionally high spirits.
Often a horse's action
is interpreted by humans as misbehavior but is perfectly legitimate horse conduct.
Of course, what is acceptable behavior between two horses is not between a horse
and a human. Here's where practical horse psychology, behavior modification, training,
attitude adjustment, conditioning, "whispering", whatever you want to call it,
Most vices and bad habits are preventable, that
is, with forethought and proper management and training, most of them can be avoided.
Prevention is the desirable route because once certain habits are established,
they can be extremely difficult to change. Some habits are manageable, that is,
certain techniques and equipment can be used to diminish the negative effects
of the habit, but the underlying reason for the habit is still there. If the equipment
is not used, the habit resurfaces. A few habits are curable. With carefully planned,
diligent efforts, some habits can be permanently changed. Some vices and bad habits
Vices and bad habits are best approached in
a step-by-step manner: ....
To read the rest of When Good
Horses Do Bad Things, go here: When_Good_Horses.
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Housing Book Reviews
Horse Housing has received great reviews in Western Horseman, Horse & Rider,
USA Equestrian and online at About.com. To read the reviews, go here: Horse_Housing.
Occasionally we have a copy of a book that has a scuff or small mark
on the cover which we know as horsemen is just a blemish, not an unsoundness.
The rest of the book is completely fine. We offer these books at a reduced
price but the selection is limited and the quantity is usually only one or two
copies, so it's first come - first served. We can only sell the blemished
books via credit card because by the time a check would arrive in the mail, the
books would have been purchased by someone else and would no longer be available.
The blemished book page is updated regularly and can be found at book_list.
That's it for this month. Keep your mind in the middle and a leg on