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Do horses know if you are hurting?

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  • Do horses know if you are hurting?

    While reflecting on the BC post where somebody mentioned not being 100% sure if she could avoid getting hurt if a horse did something stupid, I remembered how careful my horses were with me both during BC and my hip replacement recovery. Both times they knew something was not right and I'm sure they went out of their way to behave. They are my personal horses which I have at home. No doubt in my mind the dogs and cat know to be extra careful or snuggly, well maybe except for my Golden Retriever careful no snuggly yes

  • #2
    I believe my horses know when I'm in distress. I have had a couple of big young horses accidentally step on me, one slipped on ice and landed on my foot and one spooked and jumped on my foot while knocking me to my knees where I was basically trapped. They both became very quit while I lay sobbing on the ground and walked very carefully and subdued back to the barn while I limped and hobbled. They were both normally quite sassy and full of themselves.

    I think the most surprising one was a young stallion 15 month old that spooked when a kid went running by behind him. He jumped forward and pushed me backwards onto the concrete where I hit my head. I never felt a lump grow so fast. I was still holding onto the lead rope while I laid, again sobbing on the ground, almost underneath him where I had a clear view of all four feet. Much to my surprise, he appeared to lock his legs like a mare standing over her foal. He waited very quietly for me to get up. I thought it was a fluke, but as a four year old stallion..full of himself...he pulled back from the farrier and bumped me and because the isle was narrow I fell underneath him again. I know, I am quite the clod. My farrier tried to lead him back to his stall while i was laying there, but he locked his legs and absolutely refused to move until I got up and walked him back. Even my farrier was surprised.


    • #3
      I think so. One time that really stands out in my memory:

      I was having a lesson in a grass ring, which you had to do a short (10 minute) "trail" ride to get to. During the lesson, I began to feel sicker, and sicker and sicker, until eventually I could barely sit up in the saddle.

      I was riding a trickster school horse who liked to misbehave - the "trail" ride to and from the grass field was normally filled with spooking, refusing to move and small rears. But that day? He moved along at a shuffle, while I was bent over his neck barely hanging on. He never stopped, never reared, never put a foot out of place.
      Fit Dog Blog
      Twitter: https://twitter.com/FitDogBlog
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      Blog Post: How I Became a Werehorse and a Bit About Bites


      • #4
        "....after a devastating injury to my "mounting side", primarily my left arm but also my side and leg, my new horse, a young Thoroughbred, that was only off the track for a couple of months, surprised me and my trainer by standing completely still, even if it took almost 20 minutes, while I struggled to get in the saddle.

        Prior to the injury, he was only in the very beginning stages of learning to behave while being mounted but the very instanst I was unable to mount in a smooth fashion, he switched gears and didn't move until I was in the saddle and signaled him to walk.

        Moreover, dismounting was also difficult and again, his behavior was perfect, always patiently waiting and sometimes even turning his head to take a look at me, almost as if he was checking on me. Now, who knows, maybe it was a fluke and his jiggy-mounting-block-behavior suddenly turned to perfection because it was his time but I really do think that the bond he and I created prior to our first ride helped to cement the ability to watch out for me and of course, I, in turn, watched out for him.

        Anyway, that was approx. 6 years ago and my disabilities have increased and while he may "kick up his heels" when someone else rides him, he never takes a dishonest step with me!
        Does Class Always Show? You bet it does!
        "To Thine Own Thoroughbred Be True"


        • #5
          Not completely on point, but the last horse I had as a teenager was very, very hot. He was on the cross ties one day and I went into the tackroom for something and came back to see him trembling violently but standing absolutely still, eyes rolling. Two of the barn workers tiny, tiny children were standing underneath his belly and tickling him. I almost died.
          What's wrong with you?? Your cheese done slid off its cracker?!?!


          • #6
            Yes of course. Back when I groomed for a show jumper and broke my ankle my recovery was slow and pain full. The first week that I was back at work I had to turn horses out while using one crutch, all the horses went school horse quiet for me that entire week. All of them cut out the nonsense that usually went on and tiptoed into and out of there turnouts each day.

            Now that I have RA my pain level/riding ability changes on a day to day basis. My old horse would get very frustrated with me and my abilities or lack of some days. He wouldn't put me in danger but he was very uncooperative. My current lease horse is wonderful and only expresses his opinions by pinning his ears when my body starts locking up on us. If I take the time to try and work out of it his ears will slowly start to go up again the looser and more relaxed I get. He is very forgiving.


            • #7
              I've had several horses be very careful with me when I'm starting to feel back spasms when I'm riding. I broke my spine in two places 7 years ago this month and have over a foot of metal installed. I also have permanent nerve and muscle damage.

              When I first got Luna, she wasn't so careful but she was on a lot of sugar. Bow that I have that figured out, she's super careful and will barely move out if I start hurting.

              I seem to also have had my first serious RA attack and her and my daughters horse are very attentive.

              The BO's boxers also refuse to leave me alone when I don't feel good. They stand protective by ne.
              Originally posted by dizzywriter
              My saddle fits perfectly well. It might be a little tight around the waist, but I take care of that with those spandex things.


              • #8
                My mare puts on her kid gloves when I'm not well too. I've been under the weather for a couple of weeks and she even gave me a head hug the other day when I fed. (which is odd for her)
                If i'm posting on Coth, it's either raining so I can't ride or it's night time and I can't sleep.


                • #9
                  My horses are awesome about knowing when their rider isn't feeling well, they are great about taking care of those that are on them.
                  Teaching Horseback Riding Lessons: A Practical Training Manual for Instructors

                  Stop Wasting Hay and Extend Consumption Time With Round Bale Hay Nets!!


                  • #10
                    Two months ago I was riding my youngster. He threw one colossal playful buck when the filly in the next field bucked and bolted and I tumbled over his neck. I was hurt very badly, having had to lie on the ground for ten minutes trying to catch my breath, but then the pain subsided so I remounted.

                    It was less than five minutes before the pain came back with vengeance so I stopped, and tried to dismount. I think it took me another five minutes to swing my leg over and slide down, and that was when I noticed that while I was sliding down his side I had pulled really hard the whole time on the outside rein, using it to break my descend, so his neck was bent all the way to right side. Instead of swinging over and bumping into me, he locked his legs, looking really uncomfortable, and did not relax until I noticed my error and let go of the rein. I have no doubt if he had moved, I would have lost my footing and crashed.