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Apparently pigs are terrifying?

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  • Apparently pigs are terrifying?

    Hi all-
    I searched the forums, but couldn't find the answer to this question: is it common for horses to be scared of pigs? I have a young gelding with lots of trails miles and a good brain. He doesn't bat an eye at deer, dogs, chickens, wild turkeys, alpacas, etc. Today on one of our usual route there was a morbidly obese pot bellied pig. Never saw it on that route before. Gelding did not like pig. Eyes wide, nostrils flaring. I hopped off, walked up to the fence and we hung out for awhile while I chatted about pigs ("they eat acorns and apples.....not horses....they're kind of like really fat deer with short legs...."), expecting him to get bored quickly like he usually does. While he kept his manners (didn't rear, try to run off or run me over), after 5-10 minutes he was still staring it down with wide nostrils.
    I was worried that my unflappable horse has suddenly become...flappable? Is that a word? But then a barn mate told me that horses really don't like pigs, has something to do with the smell.
    Is this true? If so, I won't worry much about it. After all, even "bombproof" horses will be scared by something really scary (ponies I'm not so sure.....). If it's not true then maybe we have to work on desensitization more than I thought.

    I'll try to post a photo of the super fat pig.

  • Original Poster

    The terrifying, gelding-eating pig. At least I think it's a pig. It's belly was dragging on the ground, it looked like it was about to pop and it was happily snuffling up acorns.


    • #3
      My mare thought one dumpster at the track was something to be given the stink eye (in chestnut mare drama queen style) for years but only that one. Pigs, sheep, goats and even peacocks not so much. A friend of mine had a horse that would have been classified as bombproof. She road him in a parade through downtown Ottawa and he was calm as could be, but heaven help him if he saw a goat! They were the devil as far as he was concerned. They all have something!
      ~~Some days are a total waste of makeup.~~


      • #4
        Not many horses accept pigs casually unless they live by them. And they "know" pigs would eat them, given the chance!

        Your boy sounds like he was being VERY GOOD at accepting, given this was his first time seeing a pig! He may settle a bit, if he sees this non-agressive, non-squealing pig often. However you may have to work thru this again, meeting full sized, other colored pigs. They will smell different to, eating different diets, look different. My horses "know their cows", so strange cows, different color cattle have to be looked at when meeting them!

        Our good old horse met pigs while being used for 4H Champion Showmanship! Not used to pigs at all, and they were penned right alongside the ring!! He kept side passing away from them, not arguing with non-horsey handler, but unwilling to get closer to the pigs. All the other horses were doing the same, so he did not get his kid marked down. She was in control, he did stand well, jog out for her, turn, when he felt safely far enough away from stinky, squealing pigs. That was about 20 ft off the rail.


        • #5
          Even PICTURES of pigs.

          One local Horse Trial had a Show Jumping panel with a picture of a Pink Pig. It caused LOTS of refusals.

          chief feeder and mucker for Music, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now). Spy is gone. April 15, 1982 to Jan 10, 2019.


          • Original Poster

            Originally posted by Janet View Post
            Even PICTURES of pigs.

            One local Horse Trial had a Show Jumping panel with a picture of a Pink Pig. It caused LOTS of refusals.
            Ok, that is hilarious and makes me feel much better!

            goodhors, thanks for saying he's a good boy. I agree but I know I'm biased!

            Sounds like we need to go see the pig again tomorrow. I'll bring cookies this time. We can stand there and eat cookies and look at the pig until we associate piggy with good things (ie cookies).


            • #7
              LOL the mare in my avatar is a big chunky black and white perch/paint cross. We were leaving a warm-up ring at a horse trial and had to walk along a narrow path between two hedgerows. A lady on a fancy warmblood turns the corner onto the path and her horse stops dead, eyes rolling, snorting and blowing. Lady starts saying “OMG honey, it’s not a cow, not a cow, not a cow!!”. Then she looks horrified and starts apologizing profusely, “I’m so sorry, I don’t think your horse looks like a cow, he’s just terrified…”. I said “Don’t worry. I think she looks like a cow, too.” That mare was/is utterly terrified of minis and donkeys, but that’s another story.

              OTOH, my gelding LOVES pot-bellied pigs. We went to a clinic where there was a pig and he just couldn’t get over it. If I win the lottery, I’ll buy a petting zoo just to keep him amused in his retirement.


              • #8
                I had PBs for a bit, my current 3 and a past mare were all fine with them. They liked to lick them and the pigs enjoyed the rubs.
                Each horse has it's own fears.


                • #9
                  LOL! My gelding is also terrified of pigs. On a lazy trail ride around our neighborhood with my son one afternoon the neighbor’s pot belly big waddled out to the fence line to greet the horses -curly tail wagging, oinking and all.

                  My son’s pony stopped, then cautiously walked closer to investigate. They sniffed noses and apparently became friends (good pony!)

                  My horse was having none of that. He grew a couple inches taller, offered the most cadenced half steps I’ve ever felt on him, and got HOT. To further complicate things, I was bareback and hoping I wouldn’t have to dismount.

                  My son was tickled by the encounter but I had to ask him to cut the visit short and carry on in our intended direction before my appy completely lost his marbles.

                  To this day he puffs up and starts looking for the pig when we take that route, and whenever I want more impulsion during ring work I think ,”PIG!” And I’ll be damned if we don’t get more suspension.


                  • #10
                    The neighboring farm to where I ride has recently added pigs. After a lesson, we were riding around the fenceline between the properties to cool down. It was the first time I had actually seen the pigs, and they are enormous. Pony eyeballed the pigs and spooked a few steps sideways. I lost the sweatshirt which was tied around my waist and dismounted to get it. To do this I had to lead him back toward the pigs a few steps. Suddenly the pigs began to approach. Pony freaked and ripped away, bolting to the end of the field. I somehow managed to fall on my butt during this process. At least I was already on the ground


                    • #11
                      and not without reason . . .



                      • #12
                        Yup, pigs are terrifying. Totally.

                        Some horses retain their aversion, some learn to accept them.
                        "Good young horses are bred, but good advanced horses are trained" Sam Griffiths


                        • #13
                          This reminds me, I need to spend some time with my horse and the barn pig so he gets better about pigs. If we’re ever attacked by. Dwarven army and we’re in the cavalry, we’re doomed.


                          • #14
                            That pig looks like a moving rock...which would scare any of us!


                            • Original Poster

                              If the Dwarven cavalry ever attacks, I'm riding my friend's pony. Little guy is 13 hands of attitude and fearlessness.

                              Love everyone's stories, thanks for sharing! Y'all make me feel better!


                              • #16
                                You know what else is scary? Bells. The other horses at my barn have adjusted (to varying degrees) to watching my ponies trotting around with a cart or carriage.

                                Two weeks ago I dug out the seasonal bells and put a teensy little strand on the harness. I decided to ground drive Mr O'Pony, who is young and has never gone jingle-jangle-jingle before.

                                Mr O'Pony did not care. Mr O'Pony is a Good Boy.

                                Everyone else? Mind. Blown.

                                Apparently, the only thing more alarming than a pony with his carriage is the EXACT SAME PONY walking by with a few bells on his harness*.

                                Mr O'Pony got serious props for handling his snorting, eye-rolling, skittering roomies quite well.

                                I would like to mention that, because I am not a complete a-hole,^ all jingle action took place in sight of pastured and turned out horses, and not in view of anyone being ridden, etc.

                                *You would have thought the very Hellmouth had opened.
                                ^I'm maybe like 87%, depending on my mood and coffee consumption


                                • #17
                                  OMG don't get me started! Horses HATE pigs. We have had problems with neighbors being given pet pigs and the pigs always get loose and come over to my barn. My poor old gelding broke his stall door down and had to have lots of stitches. Neighbor mad at me because if I didn't want the pig on my property I needed to fence him out, plus called me a bunch of foul names and didn't believe that horses are terrified of pigs. I shot at it with bird shot and even a 38 but pig kept coming back. Had lawyer send him a letter.
                                  Another neighbor was given a pig raised in an apartment, stuck it alone in a pen in the woods where it was attacked by dogs. Poor thing. Got another neighbor to find it a home far away.
                                  We run into wild pigs while fox hunting and the horses go crazy. It's pretty scary. I hate those things.


                                  • #18
                                    The above link references the story on the horse killings in SC by feral pigs. Has anybody on a horse ever been approached by a feral pig on a trail?


                                    • #19
                                      I have been warned about wild pigs in of all places Northern California’s Bay Area. I was doing a limited distance ride in the East Bay, and was worried the whole time!
                                      Last edited by prudence; Dec. 22, 2019, 01:19 PM. Reason: I think they must have been wild pigs (cross between domestic pigs and boars) not boars. Never saw any...


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Southernboy View Post
                                        The above link references the story on the horse killings in SC by feral pigs. Has anybody on a horse ever been approached by a feral pig on a trail?
                                        A few years back we went fox hunting at East Fork Stables in Jamestown, TN; that borders the Federal lands. We didn't turn up any foxes but we did turn up feral hogs and a bear and a few deer. We gave the hogs a wide berth and bear took off when it saw us. The hogs were impressive. They were easily 300 lb. or more. One boar and two sows both with at least 8-10 piglets traveling along. And they produce two litters a year. They are a sad combination of danger and prolific breeding. The hogs did not attempt to approach us, and seemed about as happy to go their way as we were to go ours. The Huntsman kept good control of the dogs as the risk was a confrontation between 60 pound dog and a 300 pound sow. If that happened my money's on the sow.

                                        If you run into one then back off and let them go their way. This applies to bears, also. As a rule they want as much to do with you as you do with them. Don't be like the morons who are just desperate to prove that all life is good, true, and beautiful if you're nice the bear, or hog, they'll be nice to you. A bunch of people get hurt and few get killed every year for their efforts like this. Wild and feral animals are to be left alone.

                                        Should you want to make the world a better place if you know where feral pigs hang out then go there appropriately armed (with training and weapon and permission) and kill a few. They are an incredibly destructive, invasive species. They don't belong and should be eradicated.

                                        Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raa, Uma Paixo