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Peculiar young horse behavior when dismounting

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  • Peculiar young horse behavior when dismounting

    Hi all,
    I have a young horse who whinneys at me while I am dismounting and wondered if anyone else ever encountered this behavior ?!

    She is now 4, was a starvation case and as such, has had a long year, to return to health before I started working her. She is fine on the lunge, fine to ground drive, great with voice commands, fine to tack up, tack fits, no back pain, teeth just done, etc. I do suspect she was bottle fed/poss orphan as she still makes nursing faces and def had some boundary issues when she first arrived....After riding ( a little walk/trot) I halt and she just seems to get a bit tall in the neck, tries to look back with one eye and whinneys when I am getting off of her. It is a bit disconcerting! I am wondering if there is a dominance thing going on... she has otherwise learned to be a very good citizen.

    Anyone else see this? Thoughts?
    Not sure where else to post this, so I started here.


  • #2
    A lady I boarded with had a gelding that would nicker at her when she was dismounting. Nobody ever figured out why, but he did it every single ride.
    "Those who know the least often know it the loudest."


    • #3
      My horse frequently nickers when I dismount. He is asking for his standard post-ride peppermint.
      We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.


      • #4
        I used to have two ponies (lesson horses) that did it, and my Morgan/Appy lesson horse will do a quiet nicker as soon as he thinks you are going to get off (feet taken out of stirrups, crop dropped to the ground). He didn't do it until he was a lesson horse for a while. I kind of think it is a "thank goodness you are getting off and I will be getting cookies and groomed right away" thing. I think it is cute though.
        Freeing worms from cans everywhere!


        • #5
          Hundredacres (here) has a cute little arab mare who does the same things. A short, friendly nicker each time she gets praise. Very endearing.

          OP: I seriously doubt there's a dominance issue.
          Patience pays.


          • Original Poster

            Ah, thank you! good to hear positive experiences. I used to think it was a sort of "oh, THERE you are!!, thought I'd lost you" kind of reaction ...maybe she is just relieved the 'work' is over ... The only other time she whinneys at me is feeding time- so maybe everyone is right- she want a treat! Never gets hand fed since I have had her, but don't really know her backstory...


            • #7
              I had a school horse mare who would nicker at the rider (in a seductive way - seriously!) when they would mount, dismount or put a strong leg on her. She mostly did this when she was in season - ie: pressure on her sides made her horny.


              • Original Poster

                PaintPony,that is very interesting.I'll keep track of her season for sure. Her whinney is def not like the cheerful high pitched -' come feed me' - that she does at feeding time. It is a much lower pitch, like she means something by it, but I am not sure exactly 'what' she means , which is why I was wondering about potential dominance behavior...just not sure, maybe I'll try to videotape it.


                • #9
                  My 4 YO gelding was doing this when you got off this summer as well. You're right it IS a bit disconcerting, I thought it seemed a bit studish to me. He was at the trainer's this fall and I wasn't riding him so I don't know if he still does it. I guess I'll find out in the spring.


                  • #10
                    my mare nickers before I mount, but she's looking for a cookie! And she gets one. I'm so glad she's got me so well trained!


                    • #11
                      I have a mare that does this when i put a halter on her. I swear it must be smell related - my armpit in her nose- TMI hahaha


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by CHT View Post
                        I used to have two ponies (lesson horses) that did it, and my Morgan/Appy lesson horse will do a quiet nicker as soon as he thinks you are going to get off (feet taken out of stirrups, crop dropped to the ground). He didn't do it until he was a lesson horse for a while. I kind of think it is a "thank goodness you are getting off and I will be getting cookies and groomed right away" thing. I think it is cute though.
                        I am not one to give horses much credit for great minds, but I had a horse once that would at the end of every ride nod his head up and down up and down when we stopped for me to dismount.

                        The same kind of head bobbing that horse do when they are begging for their grain, an apple or whatever.

                        So it was my belief that he was begging for me to get the hell off so he could go eat grass.



                        • #13
                          I've had a couple young horses who did this when I dismounted. I've always thought it was charming. The two I'm thinking of now were both quite pleasant to ride, didnt seem particularly insecure when I was up, but I did always think they were saying "Good to see you again! That was some workout, wasn't it?" Well,that or, "hey lady, where's the treat?"



                          • #14
                            Had a mare here this summer that would squeal when you dismounted (not everytime, but fairly often). Very strange, never knew why but apparently had been doing this also with her owner.


                            • #15
                              maybe shes just happy to see you again!
                              Von Hendrix aka Jimi


                              • Original Poster

                                Thanks everyone, seems it is a slightly more common behavior than I had realized. She added a new twist to the last 2 rides, now if I take foot out of the stirrup while walking she tries to turn and look at me and whinneys... I am sure she figured out the routine- feet out of stirrups, then mom gets off. Still feels odd,because it is not exactly a sweet little nicker....


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by cssutton View Post
                                  I am not one to give horses much credit for great minds, but I had a horse once that would at the end of every ride nod his head up and down up and down when we stopped for me to dismount.


                                  My gelding does this only for my boyfriend, when he comes to visit. Last summer I thought it was coincident with flies, but now that he never ever nods his head any more for flies, my boyfriend came to see him after the xmas party at the barn, and there was Airborne, nodding up and down and up and down vigorously, and reaching for my boyfrien's pat. BF thinks its because they have a special thing. Thinks Airborne misses him and that they are both guys and Ariborne is relieved to be in the company of men again. Very wierd. On my boyfriend's part, he's a whacko.

                                  Personally, I think the horse actually does like men more than women, although hes affectionate with us women. He just seems to brighten up around men. odd thing. but that head nodding is only for BF. Ha hah.
                                  Airborne? Oh. Yes, he can take a joke. Once. After that, the joke's on you.