Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Oh no you didn't...

I'll begin with the fact that due to a heat wave the only work I've done with Grace has been desensitizing to a spray bottle for three days.  Its the one thing I've been click training as she's really more than just a little worried about it. 
Early evening I'm providing fresh linens aka cleaning her stall. As usual Grace is supervising, I of course take breaks to rub on her.  I take the soiled linens out via wheelbarrow, again under supervision. Grace is now standing in the barn door, I stop to stand beside her a moment then ask her to move over. My hand is met by not just her muzzle, it's met by teeth!!  Not open mouthed, but teeth just the same. My auto pilot has me popping her muzzle accompanied by a loud "Oh No, You Didn't!"  She immediately retreated further into the barn, my handy stick was nearby, I invited her to leave the barn (low energy as I'm in there too). Which she did poste haste, I followed her into the pasture with energy. She seemed to "get" that she'd made a huge mistake.  I should mention that my hand had been raised when this happened, not in any threatening manner as I'd just had it resting on her neck. 
I completed my chores, went out with halter and rope, she came right up to me with no problem. However she wasn't to keen to follow. Once she did she was just fine. Once in the paddock however when asked to move out: her reply was NO, I DONT WANT TO?  She did, but I had to demand her to and she objected several times, either by abruptly turning to face me without being asked or attempting to pull away. Even when complying I could feel & see the attitude.  I'd stop and reward good behavior with rest, or stop and lead, stop then begin again. Probably 45 minutes, fast running walk her top sped. Finally ended with a long walk in her pasture where I unhaltered her and left. 
When I brought her Niall was normal, aside from I didn't allow her to just dig in. She had allow me to own the food, which she did quickly. 
Sooooo, could it be 1. she'd felt threatened by my hand? Though her attitude after makes me think, no    2. she's  feeling her true self now that she's healthy? 3. she's testing me now that she's healthy? 4. she's a mare? Or 5. any thoughts/input appreciated...


  1. The other day I hung my arm over the fence, beckoning Bellis to come to me. When she got to my hand, she PUT IT IN HER MOUTH! I felt teeth. She was certain I had a treat, and with Mag approaching, she wanted it before he got it. I put the treats away and removed the treat bowl so I won't be tempted to fill it again. It sucked that I was on the other side of the fence and couldn't react in any way, but I did yell at her and later explained to her that I'm mad at her for that, she'd better stay away from me for a while. Are you sure it wasn't something like this with Grace, is there a chance she was hoping there was food in your hand?

  2. Yes, I'd meant to add that as one possible reason. She's normally so gentle & well mannered. Being its now been a month and she's in good weight all the warnings of a horse showing its true colors popped in my mind first thing. Im hoping it's the treat thing you mentioned. Much easier to fix. I really like her.

  3. It's hard for me to imagine it, but they really can't see the treat in your hand once they move in to get it. It's in the blind spot, so a good horse knows to be very gentle and feel around for it. A bad donkey forgets and just grabs, open mouthed. She does this a lot, where my fingers end up in her mouth, but it's never teeth, usually it's just her lips being greedy and not caring if she gets my finger/hand along with the treat! It's scary but she's never touched me with teeth until now. I love feeding treats but it is no good when my animals think "treat" first thing when they see me, so I quit for a while. Throwing it on the ground is better, I think. But for now, nothing.

    Did Grace have her ears back at the time? Even if it was an accident, that doesn't matter, I think you did the right thing by giving her a heavy lesson in manners right away.

    Grace, the only time your tooth should touch a human is when the human has her hand in your mouth. And yes, we're allowed to do that: )

    1. Good question. Actually her ears were forward. I think you're right on target. Perhaps if I toss the treat in a feed pan rather than by hand may work. 👍🏻