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Calling animals mean names... good, bad, ugly or meh?

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  • #21
    Originally posted by Nezzy View Post
    i was always taught that with a horse who is not behaving correctly, it is the fault of the handler/rider for not communicating effectively with the horse.
    I was taught this way, too, but have come to see it as incredibly demeaning to the horse.

    The idea that if you just asked correctly no horse would ever say no is suggestive that they are good little robots, if you can just figure out their programming.

    Sometimes horses say no. Sometimes it's because they hurt, and sometimes it's because, yes, they were not asked correctly.

    And sometimes, because they are NOT little robots, it's because they just don't wanna.

    It's up to the rider to figure out what exactly is going on, but I don't have a lot of respect for people who think a horse can never have or express an opinion.

    I do sometimes call my horses names, in the same way my brothers and I will call each other names. I tend not to call other peoples' horses names, in the same way I try not to call non-family members names.
    She Gets Lost


    • #22
      Ooh, and names I use a lot?

      Dorkfish for spooks and silliness that are clearly utterly...silly.

      Dingbat or moron for when he can't find his food when it's clearly in front of his face.

      Idiot is used very similar to dorkfish. Deciding to bolt on the longeline and slipping earns you an idiot.

      Jerk is about the worst he gets, and that's when he's acting completely rude and barge-y in a particular situation.

      Goober is for things like not being able to find the mint in my hand.

      Keep in mind, the horse in question is an overgrown pony, who pulls overgrown pony stunts.

      The mare gets words like "silly mare" and "pretty girl". I don't know why I'm a little gentler with my language around her other than the fact that she doesn't pull things in that same sort of full of presence obnoxious way that he does. If my two horses were people, he'd be the chubby kid, bursting into the room, looking for cookies, with his shoes untied, out of breath, telling you the story in your face about what happened at school, grabbing a soda and running back out the door. The mare is a good bit more ladylike than this, and would likely be the shy redhead in the back of the class that you had to draw out.

      *shrug* It has nothing to do with my affection or lack thereof toward them.


      • #23
        It does depend

        and yes, the "I know what to do, but piss off Mom" usually gets an appropriate physical and verbal response.

        Misunderstandings do not.


        • #24
          Many years ago I was working with a trainer who could never get my horse's name right. Trainer called him: Tux, Tuxedo, Tucker, Lucky etc..

          Therefore for a while I referred to my horse as 'Tuck - rhymes with...'
          I'll let you fill in the blank. .


          • #25
            I love my horse, I truly do. But sometimes he has his moments. (Halt Near X has the description down right, he's not a robot, he has his own opinions, and sometimes they're not mine) And my horse's name is Major. And I love the movie Spaceballs. So he gets called Major A**hole (a great scene from the movie if it is not your thing!), with affection. He doesn't seem to mind. When he is a good boy he is also called Major D, that is his rap name. He doesn't seem to care about that either.

            But I certainly wouldn't really like someone at my barn screaming obscenities at their horse.
            "Do your best, and leave the rest, twill all come right, some day or night" -Black Beauty



            • #26
              My word of choice when my horses are being less than stellar, or when they do something dumb, like cant find an apple that is right in front of their face...dingus. It's one of my most favorite words ever.


              • #27
                I am not sure I get the leap between calling your horses a name and the human blaming all that is wrong in life on the horse because the horse does no wrong.

                I have one mare that gets called all kinds of not nice names. Thankfully she does not understand English so she has no idea what I am calling her when she acts like a total unreasonable idiot and kicks the living crap out of my pony for the fun of it.
                No amount of amazing training is going to make a horse not be a horse and not have a mind of its own. A horse being a jerkwad at times and the human calling it such does not mean the human lacks in training ability or the horse lacks in training.


                • #28
                  Meh. I have lots of pet names for my horses, not all of them flattering. I don't insult them in harsh tones and my body language is the same if I'm calling them 'baby girl' or 'hell b**ch'. My horses failed all their ESL classes and don't know the difference.

                  If someone wants to judge my relationship with my horses and my training/riding abilities off of my word choices instead of my actions, that says more about their shortcomings than mine.


                  • #29
                    So long as the horse is TREATED fairly and with respect, I don't think they give a ratsass what they are called.

                    I have seen plenty of horses not treated well all the while being baby-talked at and called all sorts of pink fluffy rainbow names.

                    Horses understand tone, body language, and (sometimes) inflection. When my spooky guy was having a particularly dumb day and wouldn't walk across a patch of damp ground because he was scared of it, I called him every name in the book in a happy, positive, you-can-do-this tone. Actually, I *started* with positive words, then after a fair chunk o' time went to the A-hole moron type words just to vent my own frustration. The tone never changed, my signals didn't get harsh, and he didn't react any differently to me as he sorted through the problem he was faced with. And he did eventually conquer the scary monster underfoot, and then about sat in my lap asking me to save him.


                    • #30
                      I have lots of names for my horses, but few of them are derogatory. Personally, I wince when I hear people calling their horses derogatory names, but that is just me and I am am not going to say anything about it unless my input is directly sought, like here. I don't seriously think being called a negative name affects the horse's ability to function, but I observe that it doesn't help create a good partnership. I think that putting up those walls of negativity that flinging about bad names create gets in the way of a trusting connection. Sometimes the things people say to their horses are so hurtful that it feels like a live thing of malice entering the room to me, so I can't imagine what it feels like to a horse, who is more sensitive than most humans.

                      I get the idea that it doesn't matter what you say, but how you say it, but few of us say, "A@@hole" or whatever, in anger and make it sound like a loving lullaby.

                      About as tough as I will get is to call a horse a 'cow' or perhaps 'butthead', usually when they are pushing on me, pushing other horses around or the like. I still don't like to hear it coming out of my mouth. Sort of gives me a sad hangover. I feel like I could do better. :-(


                      • #31
                        I don't call horses names that can sound inappropriate.
                        I learned that around kids, that then would repeat those words innocently.

                        Nothing like a little girl, when asked a certain horse's name, piping up with "I know, "she" said his name is Monkey's B*tt".

                        Better only call them what you don't mind being repeated.


                        • #32
                          I have no problem referring to my mare as a stupid cow or wench. Sometimes she acts like one. Plus she has no idea what that means - as someone above mentioned, she doesn't really speak English!

                          And I have plenty of affectionate names for her too which I tend to use more often - like Pretty Girl (yeah I know that's lame!).

                          When my mare is in season my friend at our barn calls her a slut. Personally I prefer HO, but they are both in good fun and we can joke about things like that. (I'd never say that in front of someone's kid either!)


                          • #33
                            Originally posted by trubandloki View Post
                            I am not sure I get the leap between calling your horses a name and the human blaming all that is wrong in life on the horse because the horse does no wrong.

                            I have one mare that gets called all kinds of not nice names. Thankfully she does not understand English so she has no idea what I am calling her when she acts like a total unreasonable idiot and kicks the living crap out of my pony for the fun of it.
                            No amount of amazing training is going to make a horse not be a horse and not have a mind of its own. A horse being a jerkwad at times and the human calling it such does not mean the human lacks in training ability or the horse lacks in training.

                            One of my favorite Carl Hester quotes regards a big horse he calls Norman, I think it is. The horse was awful from age 3 to about, oh, 7. And here he was on Norman at age 14 I think, executing perfect work, flawless one tempis, passage, piaffe, all the big stuff, and Carl says something like "Well, so here we are, after seven years of Hell" in his droll, dry fashion.

                            Would anyone really take away from that the notion that he hates Norm?


                            • #34
                              Originally posted by Over the Hill View Post
                              I once had a gelding that was so exasperating that I called him Alpo....
                              This cracked me up! I have quite often threatened to send a pony or two to "Alpo Training Centers"
                              Allah took a handful of southerly wind, blew His breath over it, and created the horse. Thou shall fly without wings, and conquer without any sword, O, Horse!
                              Anonymous Bedouin legend


                              • #35
                                Sometimes the things people say to their horses are so hurtful that it feels like a live thing of malice entering the room to me, so I can't imagine what it feels like to a horse, who is more sensitive than most humans.
                                And sometimes the things that horses say to humans are...not very nice at all.

                                I've been given the big ol' horsey middle finger from time to time and horsey *respect* means that you give 'em the big ol' middle finger back (in equine language). That that big ol' middle finger is accompanied with an english word...is irrelevant.

                                It's really funny, I have boys (who are very similar to animals) and they all LOVE this one teacher at school. I finally asked what was so different about Mrs. Styers that made her so wonderful, and my very sensitive son said, "She doesn't mince around when you're doing something wrong. She tells you, it's over, and you get on with it."

                                I think horses are very similar. Cooey cooey lovey talk has much less room for respect with a horse than a gruff, "stand still, you know better jerk!". They don't have cooey cooey lovey talk. They have teeth and kicks and pinned ears. Since my ears don't move like that, sometimes I have to use a growl. The difference is that once the rude behavior (on horsey's part) is over, I can go back to normal and not be "mean".

                                OTOH, I've known people who TRULY did not like a particular horse (at all times) and that particular horse picked up on that very easily. They never called him a name, it was just in the air.


                                • #36
                                  I really try not too, because while the animal might not care what she is called, I think it changes the human's mindset (even though they don't know it or admit it, it brings anger or exasperation into the equation.)
                                  I try to go the other way and call them "silly" or GM's "spoiled" when they are acting up. Or use descriptive adjectives... Keep a sense of humour about it...
                                  "When life gives you scurvy, make lemonade."


                                  • #37
                                    I call my mare a punk sometimes, but I use that word with my husband too when he's teasing me. It's a term of endearment.

                                    I also use Punkus Maximus with my mare.

                                    I won't curse at her, though. I don't curse at people, either, so it just doesn't come to mind. (Cursing at situations, though, is another story.)


                                    • #38
                                      It would never occur to me to call any of my animals mean names. I guess I just assume that I am responsible for their training, and if they act up, they are just being animals, that aren't always 100% predictable. the worst I've said to them is calling Jet a goofball, when he spooks at something like a frog, or a bucket that was moved.

                                      If someone was swearing at their horse or animal, I would just think it was kind of trashy to be using that kind of language in public, but not so much for them saying it to their horse. The horse really has no clue what it means.


                                      • #39
                                        Mine have different names for the type of ass they're being.

                                        My TB is wickedly smart....emphasis on the "wicked" part. I refer to him as an asshole at times. Because he is. I mean it, of course, in the same loving way that I do when I refer to my husband as an asshole (which he can also be). I love them both dearly and they both know it. Doesn't make either of them less of an asshole when they're in the mood.

                                        My mare is a bitch. Not in a "calling her names" way, just in the "that's her personality" way. She is me. I am her. We think alike, respond to things alike, and I understand every reaction she has because I would react the same way if I were in her shoes. Interestingly (to me anyway) is the fact that when she was at her old barn she was unpopular (the BO hated her and therefore all of the kids hated her) and they all used to call her "big head" rather than by her name. She. was. miserable. And very clearly reacted negatively to everyone who called her a name. But I've always believed (as someone else pointed out) that it was because of the tone of voice they all used. She came here and became "pretty girl" (mostly as a reaction to the "big head" comments) and it was like night and day from minute one on my property. So when I call her names it's a) warranted - and she knows it and b) never in a hateful or angry tone. I'm not sure I've ever called her a name in the heat of the moment, but I refer to her as "my bitchy mare" more often than any other way.

                                        My two babies (2yo and 5yo) are treated like my kids. I call them "punk" and "doofus" and a few other harmless names because they're goofy and doofy and innocently so for the most part. My gelding (the older) is a bit of an ass, and getting more so with age, so he'll get some stronger words, but he hasn't reached the maturity to be "wicked" yet.

                                        So yes, I call my horses name. Always with an element of humor to it and never in an angry way or tone.

                                        I feel "meh" about calling horses names like that. I dislike the use of derogatory names in earnest, but mostly because I think that emotions like anger have no part in horse interactions (with rare exception and then the reaction has to be horselike in both intensity and duration, and that doesn't often include the time or energy to include name screaming).
                                        Flying F Sport Horses
                                        Horses in the NW


                                        • #40
                                          Just to let you all know.... I kept that horse until he died at 31 years old. His name really was Polo (OTTB/polo pony). I really did love him for all the good traits he had, and we managed to work past the Alpo stage......
                                          "I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you..."