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My update or "attitude change spinoff" - Pigs?

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  • My update or "attitude change spinoff" - Pigs?

    Without totally highjacking the other thread about the horses who seem to have gone nuts without any apparent reason, I think I can update on what has been making my horse insane.

    The BO got two pigs around the same time my horse started acting up. He had been around a PB pig at the previous barn, and although he was terrified of it to start out with, he did get used to it.

    I didn't think this was the cause of the problem at first because his fear/anxiety was so generalized, and because he has seen pigs before. But yesterday, he was back to his normal self, very calm and sweet, until we got anywhere near the pigs. Then he lost his mind.

    The pigs are in a stall next to the indoor arena and I spent a good hour just trying to walk him around the area and let him get used to the sounds/smell of the pigs, but he really wasn't having any part of it.

    My trainer was out to check on him the other day and she didn't think it was the pigs, but we talked about all kinds of other physical problems it could be, etc... She thought even if the pigs freaked him out at first, he should have been used to them after a few days. (We have been having major problems since last Saturday).

    I'm pretty convinced, though. The good news: I don't think he has a brain tumour or lymes or any other physical problem.

    The bad news: I can't do anything with him in the barn , at least, for now...

    I'm asking for: tips on helping him get over his phobia?

    And/or: Does anyone think I'm nuts for blaming the pigs?
    Why must you chastise my brilliant idea with facts and logic? **picks up toys (and wine) and goes home**

  • #2
    One stable I took care of, housing 8 horses, had a little pen by the barn door where three piglets were raised.
    When it was time to clean the pig pen, every Saturday, the pig caretaker would let them run in the barn aisle and the horses would jump and rear and play all that time the pigs rooted in there.

    The first time a horse had to enter the barn, it was, lets say, interesting, to walk them past that little pen.

    They all eventually got used to the pigs, although it took some longer than others.
    Didn't seem funny at that time, but it is funny thinking back about it.
    We do have wild pigs here now and that is not so good either.

    Could you stable your horse close to the pigs?
    Clicker train your horse to accept them?


    • #3
      You're no more nuts than I am for blaming a sheep for sending my poor mare into a meltdown. She LIVED on a farm with sheep for about a year, but has developed a phobia of them since she's been away from the farm. We didn't realize this until I brought her to another farm for a lesson (not our regular barn, thank goodness - otherwise I don't know what we'd do). The single, killer sheep walked from one aisle in the barn to the other which necessitated cutting through the viewing area of the indoor ring we were using at the time. Mare saw the sheep, said "omigoditsgoingtocomeandeatme" and would not set a single hoof over the invisible line halfway through the arena. After an hour of firm coaxing I managed to get her to trot around the end of the ring that the sheep had been but the poor girl was scared to death. Really and truly terrified. The funny thing is that the sheep was only visible for about ten seconds. But that was enough to blow her mind As for the solution - we just won't take her back to that barn for a lesson. Thankfully this is not an inconvenience since that trip was a one-time-thing.


      • Original Poster

        Originally posted by Bluey View Post

        Could you stable your horse close to the pigs?
        Clicker train your horse to accept them?

        Well, I've put my horse on 24/7 turnout since we've been having problems, and I think he kind of likes it out there, so I'm leaning towards leaving him.

        However, I heard last night that the BO will be moving the pigs to a shed/pen adjacent to my horse's turnout. I'm guessing that will put us back to square one for a little while but he should be able to get used to them if they are living right next door.

        I will probably spend more time today walking my horse closer and closer to the pigs (without getting to the point where he tries to blast past them!) and we'll see how that goes.
        Why must you chastise my brilliant idea with facts and logic? **picks up toys (and wine) and goes home**


        • #5
          I own a donkey. I have one horse that has lived here for 8 years... he's still terrified of the donkey.


          • #6
            Horses are terrified of pigs. Something about the smell. We had pigs up by our barn and in 4yrs the horses STILL didn't calm down walking NEAR (ie 100+feet away) their pen. We moved them to the other barn on the property about a mile away and if you trail ride ANYWHERE near it, even out of sight but in smell, horses whig out! Evil pigs is all there is to it! lol


            • Original Poster

              Horses are terrified of pigs. Something about the smell. We had pigs up by our barn and in 4yrs the horses STILL didn't calm down walking NEAR (ie 100+feet away) their pen. We moved them to the other barn on the property about a mile away and if you trail ride ANYWHERE near it, even out of sight but in smell, horses whig out! Evil pigs is all there is to it! lol
              Well, I guess I'm kind of screwed then... He's nuts near the pigs (I don't think I'll even try to take him IN the barn for the next while) so basically I can't do too much with him except maybe I can do some ground work with him in his paddock or the round pen.

              If I won't be able to keep him here I might as well sell him, as there is nowhere else to go.... so how do you sell a horse who is nuts because of a pig and convince a buyer that's why he's nuts??

              Today I'm going to the tack shop to see what I can get for calming supplements, etc. If that doesn't work I'm going to try to get ahold of the vet again to see if I can get some drugs to try to help work this through.

              Wow, it's really upsetting to hear about horses not getting used to pigs after 4 years.
              Why must you chastise my brilliant idea with facts and logic? **picks up toys (and wine) and goes home**


              • #8
                Horses aren't terrified of pigs, but they can learn to be. I have three pigs who wander all over the farm, in and out of the horse paddocks and in and out of the barn and tack up area.
                My horses are often tied facing a wall, read ends into the tie up area. The pigs will wander around behind them and between them and the wall they are tied too. Horses don't worry about them at all. They will get grumpy if the pigs try to eat their feeds. One young horse (who is probably the spookiest on the farm), likes to scratch the pig between her shoulder blades. Pig loves this too.

                When new horses come to the farm, they take their cues from the horses already here - pay no attention to those funny animals, kick them if you feel like it, scratch them if you want, chase them in fine weather.

                Let your horse spend as much time as possible with the pigs or near to them. Its just a case of everyone getting used to everyone else.


                • #9
                  I have a horse in love WITH pigs.

                  Go figure.

                  My pigs (who smell like maple syrup), graze with the horses.
                  Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                  Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                  -Rudyard Kipling


                  • #10
                    Pigs plural

                    JS are these Kevin Bacon's sons or grandsons. Kevin Bacon, for those of you who don't remember him, was JS's pig who would do dressage moves with and follow her horse around. The reason the horse loves pigs.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by x-rab View Post
                      JS are these Kevin Bacon's sons or grandsons. Kevin Bacon, for those of you who don't remember him, was JS's pig who would do dressage moves with and follow her horse around. The reason the horse loves pigs.
                      Don't forget he also took baths in the horse's trough.
                      We saw pictures of that.

                      I think that Kevin Bacon was made bacon long ago.


                      • #12
                        My horse acted the same way when a miniature horse came to the farm. He was terrified for weeks. I was worried because the waterer was next to her fence and he gave it a wide berth whenever I turned him out in his field. It turned out he would tiptoe up to get a drink of water when she would go into her shed. What a baby!
                        Mon Ogon (Mo) and Those Wer the Days (Derby)


                        • #13
                          I WISH my first horse was terrified of pigs... I retired him to my parents' farm, where he had a run-in stall in the main barn that happened to be adjacent to the pig pen. My horse would park his butt facing the pig pen, and the pigs (over the course of a couple of weeks) ate his entire tail off.
                          *friend of bar.ka

                          "Evidently, I am an unrepentant b*tch, possible trouble maker, and all around super villian"


                          • #14
                            Funny, when I got my first horse (23 years ago) he came with a note that literally said 'Prince is scared of pigs'. The barn I boarded at had a couple of pigs that lived on the manure pile (don't ask, the barn owner was an a$$). Never saw my horse react to the pigs in a negative way, but try to walk him around a flying kite, eeeesh. Now THAT should have been in the note.......
                            R.I.P. my sweet boy Tristan
                            36 years old, but I was hoping you'd live forever


                            • #15
                              The feral hogs around here terrify the horses, but then most of us humans are pretty scared of them, too.

                              I think the mammal who lost its mind in this story is the BO who decided to keep pigs beside the indoor. Is she planning to install a lion cage by the washstall next?

                              Pig-phobia seems entirely reasonable to me, as it would to anyone who grew up with my grandmother describing what happens to children who venture too near the hogpens.
                              I'm not ignoring the rules. I'm interpreting the rules. Tamal, The Great British Baking Show


                              • #16
                                I don't think that you are nuts to blame the pigs. My neighbor bought 4 turkeys one spring and once they got bigger they let them roam and for some reason they loved my farm. Needless to say my quiet non-spooky quarter horses lost their minds over them. They even started eating their own manure and my vet swore it was because of the turkey's. After several complaints my neighbor built a pen that they couldn't escape from so they didn't return but it took at least 6 months for my horses to quit eating manure. It was very strange.
                                RIP Sucha Smooth Whiskey
                                May 17,2004 - March 29, 2010
                                RIP San Lena Peppy
                                May 3, 1991 - March 11, 2010