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TigerLilly

Horse doesn't like men

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I have never seen this before but have heard people say it. Never gave it much thought until now. My mare doesn't seem to behave for men. She won't let barn owners husband catch her or the male employee. She gets very nervous with the male farrier. I can ground tie this horse and work on all four feet but as soon as a man goes for her feet her head goes up and she starts dancing around and has even kicked. I have been putting some ground work time on her. 1 hour a day and she is doing everything perfectly for me, but we still have to lightly sedate her to have her feet done. What else should I be doing for her to make her more comfortable?

Edited by TigerLilly

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Get a man to give her treats regularly? Especially the farrier. She must have had a bad experience with a man at some point. (Haven't we all? LOL)

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I have a 1/2 TB 1/2 QH that has ZERO respect for women. My husband and his (the horse's) trainer can get this mule to do whatever they want him to do (these days anyhow), but send me or another female into the pasture to halter him or into the barn to groom him or even put fly spray on him and he acts like a BULLY. Pinning his ears, trying to nip at you, pawing at the ground, etc...I have to carry a leather strap with me whenever I am dealing with him on the ground. He is learning to respect me, but it is taking me standing my ground with him AND doing it w/ a no nonsense attitude. 
With that said I also have a young mare who isn't very tolerant of the men on the ranch. She is 4 years old and pretty spunky. The only person that can catch her in the pasture is me. She will NOT lunge for anyone else nor do any ground training for them. But once I have worked her out there is only one ranch hand who can ride her. We are currently working together during her training time so that she will establish a level of trust with him like she has with me so that he can also work with her on the ground. I suggest pick ONE man and let her try to establish a trust with him first. Then work on expanding it to others. This is just a humble suggestion from a country girl who is trying to get a young mare to do the same thing. 

 

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I don't buy it.  horses understand body language.  my horse respects everybody expect people who hesitate and then he doesn't want to be around them.  a male/female dichotomy nope. 

oaks mama, people who hesitate look like predators fyi.  behave like a Labrador and not like a border collie (wag your tail and just walk up instead of creeping up carefully) and you'll probably be fine.  just another day at the office...

Edited by nick
afterthought

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45 minutes ago, jubal said:

^^^Go talk to race horse trainers. They'll tell you, horses have definite preferences for males or females.

 

45 minutes ago, jubal said:

 

I breezed horses on the track for trainers in Frankfurt 6/7   from 1993 to 1996 when we moved to Bavaria,   part of my job was to be there for he farrier and the vet.  horses who have enough to do everyday are also happy to relax.   gender doesn't play a part. 

 

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they have preferences for hands when you're on them, male or female.    your butt is way up in the air, the stirrups are up around your ears.  your seat has no influence and you're going very, very fast in one direction involving a flying change at some point that the horse decides and your hip has to go with it too.    if your timing is crap the horse loses trust,  ergo speed, and then you probably get thrown out as an exercise jockey/groom/dogsbody.  has NOTHING  to do with gender.    who tells people this nonsense with no real time experience. 

 

back to the topic (sorry) the more you look in the mirror instead of looking at other causes (men)  the further the both of you will come.    change your behavior and chances are she will change hers.    toward everyone. 

Edited by nick
afterthought, look in the mirror instead of elsewhere

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Exercise riders and jockeys have minimal contact with race horses. Grooms and trainers  have plenty of contact with them. As I said, ask any race horse trainer, (which I doubt you are,) and they will tell you horses have gender preferences.

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7 minutes ago, jubal said:

Exercise riders and jockeys have minimal contact with race horses. Grooms and trainers  have plenty of contact with them. As I said, ask any race horse trainer, (which I doubt you are,) and they will tell you horses have gender preferences.

my job at Frankfurt niederad race track was to breeze six horses per day starting at five in the morning when i got my orders, stand with them for the farrier and vet when needed, acupuncture guy came in the afternoon after my shift  (i'd left).      everybody but i was a man, including the person with the needles.    horses who have had enough to do could care less what the gender is. 

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Well, then, if you were the only female, the horses didn't have much choice, did they? This must have been before you made your fortune, right?

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5 hours ago, nick said:

oaks mama, people who hesitate look like predators fyi.  behave like a Labrador and not like a border collie (wag your tail and just walk up instead of creeping up carefully) and you'll probably be fine.  just another day at the office...

Nick, I don't creep around any of our horses. I have the same demeanor with Oak as I do with Whisp and I have been riding Whisp for years. Starla is 4yo mare and she doesn't like the  men at the ranch and ALL of them are seasoned riders yet she prefers me to them all day long. I don't have a problem stepping dead off in the pasture with any horse and pushing them out of my way, UNLESS they are displaying unusually aggressive behavior. Like Oak was when I first came to this page. Even the trainer we hired to work with him said that with his size and breeding he is a formidable horse and should have been approached at that time with EXTREME caution. However even then. I was still going into his pasture and picking it, putting a halter and leading him through cows that he had ALREADY run through and trampled a few of and killed a calf. So I don't creep around my horses, I am their alpha when I am in their midst.

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I wasn't the only female at the track. Just the only one on these six horses, and I did it for the experience.  Exercise jockeys in Germany don't get paid much so I had a day job too.

the point is that horses who work regularly  in my experience don't have displaced behaviors.  Fretting about males vs females is for me in the category of a Stall vice, unless the human is acting in a predatory way.

oak's mama I know a professional dressage trainer (female), who rides big, sometimes very bad actors but high performance bad boys all the time.  They do NOT mess with her, and she's 5'2" 110 pounds wet tops.  She has the timing and the attitude on the ground and in the saddle, and they've got the resultant respect.

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You know, Nick, that natural horsemanship stuff only takes you so far. There are an estmated 58 million horses in the world and some of them haven't read those books.

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The two most neurotic beings in the world are lap dogs and race horses. Few horses work harder than race horses these days. And lap dogs work not at all. Your theory doesn't wash, nick.

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Oak is learning to respect me. I don't 'tip toe' around him. If he moves towards me uninvited I will push him off of me like I do any of the other horses. If he nips at me I knock fire out of him. My point is that he DOES move on me uninvited whereas he does not do this to Craig or his trainer.
With Starla our 4 yo mare she is more easy to handle when it is me who has the lead or halter in hand as opposed to one of the men. Do I think that horses have a preference? I do. Why because I have seen it over the past year working with Starla and I am watching it with this big mule Oak. Maybe it IS in the handling, I don't know. I am not a professional. However in the observance it would seem that Oak does respond better under the guidance of men where Starla most certainly is caught, ground works, and rides better for women. 

 

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you don't see much "natural horsemanship" at race tracks in Germany.  in niederrad they're not ponied to the gate either--jocks have to get there by themselves.  can't see that happening with "neurotic" horses.

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If Germany's racehorses form the majority of her racehorse experience, that is where her opinion will form.  And I happen to agree with her about foreign-trained racehorses.  They can be properly ridden whereas most American racehorses appear juvenile in comparison because they require someone holding their hand (lead ponies) to get them from the mounting area to the track for warm up and all the way around the track until they are handed off to the gate-loading handlers.

There must be *something* different about the way foreign racehorses are handled and the way American racehorses are handled because I have seen and noticed this major difference since childhood.  When watching horse racing, the foreign racehorses acted like horses and the American racehorses acted like green babies.  On the whole, I have seen English, Irish, French, Dubai, Japanese and Australian racehorses behave like proper horses under saddle while their American counterparts required direct assistance to get them from Point A to Point B.  Of course, there will occasionally be a foreign horse who needs a lead-pony or American horse who can be ridden on its' own, but those appear to be exceptions.

 

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29 minutes ago, Heidi n Q said:

If Germany's racehorses form the majority of her racehorse experience, that is where her opinion will form.  And I happen to agree with her about foreign-trained racehorses.  They can be properly ridden whereas most American racehorses appear juvenile in comparison because they require someone holding their hand (lead ponies) to get them from the mounting area to the track for warm up and all the way around the track until they are handed off to the gate-loading handlers.

There must be *something* different about the way foreign racehorses are handled and the way American racehorses are handled because I have seen and noticed this major difference since childhood.  When watching horse racing, the foreign racehorses acted like horses and the American racehorses acted like green babies.  On the whole, I have seen English, Irish, French, Dubai, Japanese and Australian racehorses behave like proper horses under saddle while their American counterparts required direct assistance to get them from Point A to Point B.  Of course, there will occasionally be a foreign horse who needs a lead-pony or American horse who can be ridden on its' own, but those appear to be exceptions.

 

Wonder why that is. I personally think they start horses too young but I assume they start horses in Europe and other countries at the same age as American race horses. 

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Using lead ponies is safer for both horses and jockeys. Most of them work in the morning without a pony. But that really has nothing to do with a horse's preference for one sex or the other.

I wasn't  positing that horses relate differently to men or women riders. My comments were meant say some horses prefer being handled by one sex over another. Here's an article that agrees with me. Note the bolded (mine.)  http://www.thehorse.com/articles/36731/is-there-really-such-thing-as-a-womans-horse

Commentary

Is There Really Such Thing as a 'Woman's Horse'?

Is There Really Such Thing as a 'Woman's Horse'?

Horses can easily distinguish between men and women using cues like odor, body size, and voice quality, but would only behave differently toward them if a person's gender was consistently linked to positive or negative experiences.

Photo: Photos.com

 

Q.I often hear people describe a horse as a “woman’s horse,” or conclude from a horse’s behavior that he must have been abused by or received rough handling from men in the past and, therefore, prefers women. What is the likelihood that a horse would relate past experiences with a human’s gender?

 


 

 

A.Your question raises interesting issues, not only about whether horses form memories of people on the basis of gender, but also about the different relationships that men and women have with horses. Let's look at these two points separately.

1. Horses can form lasting memories based on past experiences.

The way a horse was treated in the past can definitely affect its future behavior toward people.1 Horses that have had positive experiences are friendlier and more likely to approach strangers, while horses with negative experiences tend to ignore or avoid people.2

Fear conditioning can occur if anxiety or pain are linked to the experience. The long-lasting effects of fear conditioning can be seen in the anxious reactions that some horses have toward veterinarians and farriers, where restraint and discomfort may have occurred in the past. Fear conditioning resulting from abuse by men is probably quite rare, and there are more plausible reasons that a horse would be wary of men or show a preference for women.

Horses can easily distinguish between men and women using cues like odor, body size, and voice quality, but would only behave differently toward them if a person’s gender was consistently linked to positive or negative experiences. To illustrate this point, consider a horse that is routinely fed by women and trained by men; it could likely form a more positive memory of women and behave in a friendly way toward them.

An animal’s familiarity with people can also affect its behavior. For example, women might be perceived as unfamiliar to a horse that had been socialized only to men, and vice versa. Horses seek safety in their relationships with humans, and for many animals the unfamiliar is unsafe.

2. Horses might react to gender differences in personality and relationship expectations.

A horse’s preference for men or women reflects a “good fit” with the owner’s personality and the type of relationship they seek with the horse.3,4 The horse’s temperament also plays a role; even between species, some personality types are complementary and others lead to social conflict.

Most human personality traits are unrelated to gender, but there are a few exceptions; in general, men tend to focus on personal goals and achievement (a personality trait called “agency”) and women are more warm and nurturing (a trait called “communion”), and have higher levels of social intelligence.

Cultural norms also lead to different expectations about the way men and women relate to horses,5 from “little girls and their love for ponies to modern versions of the tough but sensitive, cowboy.”6 It’s possible that a “man’s horse” is a good match with an owner who emphasizes power and performance in the relationship, and a “woman’s horse” is a good match with an owner who seeks an emotionally satisfying social partner.

In summary, most horses don’t behave differently toward men and women but, when they do, past experiences, personality fit, and cultural norms about horse-human relationships might all play a role.

 


References

1Sankey, C., Richard-Yris, M-A., Leroy, H., Henry, S., & Hausberger, M. (2010) Positive interactions lead to lasting positive memories in horses, Equuus caballus. Animal Behavior 79(4), 869-875.

2Fureix, C., Jego, P., Sankey, C., & Hausberger, M. (2009). How horses (Equus callabus) see the world: Humans as significant ‘objects.’ Animal Cognition 12(4), 643-654.

3Graf, P., von Borstel, U.K., & Gauly, M. (2013). Importance of personality traits in horses to breeders and riders. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research 8(5), 316-325.

4Payne, E., DeAraugo, J., Bennett, P., & McGreevy, P. (2015). Exploring the existence and potential underpinnings of dog-human and horse-human attachment bonds. Behavioural Processes (in press).

5Adleman, M. & Knijnik, J. (Eds). (2013) Gender and equestrian sport: Riding around the world. Springer.

6Birke, L. & Brandt, K. (2009) Mutual corporeality: Gender and human-horse relationships. Women’s Studies International Forum 32(3), 189-197.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

robin-foster.jpg?preset=xsmall

Robin Foster, PhD, CAAB, IAABC-Certified Horse Behavior Consultant

Robin Foster, PhD, CAAB, IAABC-Certified Horse Behavior Consultant, is a research professor at the University of Puget Sound in Seattle, Washington, and an affiliate professor at the University of Washington. She holds a doctorate in animal behavior and has taught courses in animal learning and behavior for more than 20 years. Her research looks at temperament, stress, and burn-out as they relate to the selection, retention, and welfare of therapy horses. She also provides private behavior consultations and training services in the Seattle area.

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Believe anything you want.  All I'm interested is in that the horse understands his life and not MY life.  

Edited by nick
Miscommunications

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I think that any horse can be conditioned to respond properly given enough time and proper training. Growing up my mother had a gelding that would only respond well to her riding and handling. My stepfather who was a professional rodeo man spent years with this horse because he posed such a challenge to him that he just could NOT let it best him. After about 3 years he finally won Heyson over. Was it a female preference? I don't know. It was CLEAR that Heyson was partial to my mother and no one else.
I am no pro by a long shot. I am a simple country woman who has had many years racked up in the saddle w/o the benefit of any formal training. I just grew up on a ranch w/ QH's and have been riding as long as I have been walking. I don't know lingo, I don't show, I am not up on the latest trends. I work my horses in the pasture with cows. I ride sometimes for fun. I am however observant and I pay attention to the behavior of my horses and I know who they like and who they don't. And I have seen some horses who respond better to men and some who respond better to women.  

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animals live in the now.  we live in the past and present.  having pity will get you nowhere.  anthropormorphizing ( making them humans which they're NOT) will get you nowhere.  watch how they act toward one another and LEARN.  has squat do do with natural horsemanship and everything to do with common sense.   I don't speak greek with somebody i'm in charge of in Chinese, especially when i'm getting paid for the right communication. 

the above article is for me strange.  dr. temple grandin at the university of Colorado makes MUCH more sense as to how animals REALLY view THEIR world, not ours. 

 

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Quote

dr. temple grandin at the university of Colorado makes MUCH more sense as to how animals REALLY view THEIR world, not ours. 

As much as it pains me, I have to agree. :o

Edited by noponies
oops

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5 hours ago, nick said:

animals live in the now.  we live in the past and present.  having pity will get you nowhere.  anthropormorphizing ( making them humans which they're NOT) will get you nowhere.  watch how they act toward one another and LEARN.  has squat do do with natural horsemanship and everything to do with common sense.   I don't speak greek with somebody i'm in charge of in Chinese, especially when i'm getting paid for the right communication. 

the above article is for me strange.  dr. temple grandin at the university of Colorado makes MUCH more sense as to how animals REALLY view THEIR world, not ours. 

 

I think you may be confused about Temple Grandin's opinion on the subject. She says horses' behaviors are shaped by past experiences.

Associative Thinking

A horse trainer once said to me, "Animals don't think, they just make associations." I responded to that by saying, "If making associations is not thinking, then I would have to conclude that I do not think." People with autism and animals both think by making visual associations. These associations are like snapshots of events and tend to be very specific. For example, a horse might fear bearded me n when it sees one in the barn, but bearded men might be tolerated in the riding arena. In this situation the horse may only fear bearded men in the barn because he may have had a bad past experience in the barn with a bearded man.

Animals also tend to make place-specific associations. This means that if a horse has bad prior experiences in a barn with skylights, he may fear all barns with skylights but will be fine in barns with solid roofs. This is why it is so important that an animal's first association with something new is a good first experience.

Years ago a scientist named N. Miller found that if a rat was shocked the first time it entered a new passageway in a maze, it would never enter that passageway again. The same may be true for horses. For example, if a horse falls down in a trailer the first time he loads, he may fear all trailers. However, if he falls down in a two-horse, side-by-side trailer the 25th time he is loaded, he may make a more specific association. Instead of associating all trailers with a painful or frightening experience, he is more likely to fear side-by-side trailers, or fear a certain person associated with the "bad" trailer. He has learned from previous experience that trailers are safe, so he is unlikely to form a generalized trailer fear.

http://grandin.com/references/thinking.animals.html

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Tiger Lily ~ I absolutely believe that horses can have a preference for men or women. I believe that they do have memories and can associate past negative experiences with the gender of the person that treated them negatively. I had a horse that definitely preferred men and one that preferred women. 

And I agree with Jubal on the theory of having men give your mare treats to help win her over. It might show her that kindness can come from anyone.

 

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1 hour ago, jubal said:

How's your boy coming along, TrailPixie?

We still have some issues to overcome, but overall, he's much better. Thank you (sincerely) for asking.

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