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Wierd yawning in anticipation of tightening the girth

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  • Wierd yawning in anticipation of tightening the girth

    My 7 year old gelding has started this wierd yawning as I am getting ready to tighten the girth. He can puff up sometimes so I do it slowly, walk and tighten a bit more.
    Within the last few months he will yawn 4-6 times over and over as he hears the girth straps rattling. He doesn't bite his sides or do anything else and is fine once the girth is done up. Any ideas?

  • #2
    One of my horses does that too..


    • #3
      Stress response? we have one therapy horse who does that sort of thing during mounting (anticipating stress?) and another who does it with beginner riders learning to post off-lead = definitely stressful. Is your horse a worrier?


      • #4
        I had a horse that always did it after I took the bridle off. Wierd the quirks they pick up.
        Cindy's Warmbloods
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        • #5
          Ours does it before you put the bridle on - you take off the halter and he will do an eye rolling 30 sec yawn then look at you like ok ready to the bridle now.


          • #6
            Alot of teh horses that I have ridden do that. Especially after a ride when I take the bridle off.

            We had one staff horse, that as soon as you went to put the bridle on, he would start yawning. The kids always joked that he was trying to convince us on how exhausted he was and that we should possibly think about riding him!


            • #7
              My new one yawns after work - both before and after the bridle is removed. My old one yawns if she's been fussing or being pissy and I scold her. I sort of interpret it as "yeah, yeah, okay I'll just stand here and yaaaawn instead of pinning my ears and rolling my eyes..."


              • #8
                Boleem would yawn 10 or 12 times before bridling...and I have another horse that does that. I attributed it to working out any residual hay/food in their mouths before getting the bit. Both loved their work.
                www.littlebullrun@aol.com See Little Bull Run's stallions at:
                "Argosy" - YouTube and "Boleem" - YouTube
                Boleem @ 1993 National Dressage Symposium - YouTube


                • #9
                  might be stretching abdominal/back/jaw/neck muscles, maybe relieving tension.

                  On a complete other note, my oldster will begin yawning if his ulcers are irritating him. My younger horse will yawn if I massage a sore point and it feels good.
                  Last edited by buck22; Apr. 19, 2010, 01:47 PM.
                  Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.


                  • #10
                    I think sometimes, it's just habit. My mare yawns before bridling most of the time.. and I ride bitless! So I can actually put her hackamore on WHILE she's yawning. I think she just picked it up as a way to avoid getting the bit put in for another minute or two. Interestingly enough though, once I found a bit she really likes, her yawning HAS decreased. She still does it, but not every single time, and now it's usually 1 or 2 yawns, not like.. 10.

                    Also, whether I ride bitless or in her new bit (I ride bitless most of the time, but think it's good that she knows how to go in a bit as well), she yawns with both. So like I said, I think a lot of times it's just habit.
                    Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!


                    • #11
                      Yawning can also be a sign of coming down off adrenaline.


                      • #12
                        Yawning could also be a sign of pain. Possibly he is anticipating girthing up? Associates it with pain?
                        MnToBe Twinkle Star: "Twinkie"

                        Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


                        • #13

                          I have heard that yawning in humans is the body's way of cooling our brains. Perhaps horses have the same kind of reason for yawning?

                          There is a fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness". - Dave Barry


                          • #14
                            Yawning in horses is usually a tension release, and when they're coming down off of adrenaline.


                            • Original Poster

                              Yesterday I didn't even show him the saddle or girth and just jingled the girth straps from behind a wall and ....YAAAAAWNNN.



                              • #16
                                My horse yawns when I drop the halter to bridle him. I think it's partly because he can yawn wider with his halter off so he takes the opportuniy, and partly because he's stalling.
                                Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans


                                • #17
                                  My horse yawns before I bridle her as well, and I've been curious why. Hmmm…

                                  On a side note, I started yawning reading all of these posts about yawning. Diagnosis?


                                  • #18
                                    Oddly enough, I just read something in the Smartpak reviews for an ulcer supp I was looking into for a friend that mentioned the reviewer's horse began to yawn before saddling and turned out to have stomach problems.

                                    I'm not suggesting that is the answer, because it could be entirely benign and I have no knowledge of your horse, but since I just saw it today your post reminded me. Hopefully it is just a silly habit.
                                    You can take a line and say it isn't straight- but that won't change its shape. Jets to Brazil


                                    • #19
                                      All this talk of yawning is making me yawn, too, esdressage.