When our first potential clients stopped by to check out the place, they noticed that we have a pot-belly pig that more or less has the run of the barn. I can’t remember ever running into pigs anywhere we rode, so we really have no clue whether this lady is right.
For example, you also hear about the rare horse which has grown up without seeing a dog, deer, or cow, and is initially wary or fearful of those species. On the other hand, horses which are raised around pigs or llamas generally get along fairly well with them, as well as they would with any other familiar species.
People wonder whether perhaps the unique odors of these species play a role in horses reactions. One fall, here at the University of Pennsylvania’s research farm, some pigs were kept for a couple of months in a barn near pastures we use for ponies.
The next spring when ponies were first in those pastures, the pigs were no longer there, but a noticeable swine odor remained. For the first few days in the pasture, we noticed that whenever the ponies neared the area of the pasture adjacent to the swine pens, some would shy and snort as if fearful, gazing toward the source of the remaining pig odor.
A spook is usually a startled jump sideways, or a quick change of direction with the intention to flee. These smells include lion, tiger or wolf dung, fresh blood and bone and satyric acid.
Horses have better hearing than dogs, and seem to learn and remember specific words quite easily. Lynn Bird, a behaviorist based in Cheshire, adds several more reasons why horses whinny.
Usually people get sick from infected pigs, but other animals such as cats, dogs, horses, cows, rodents and rabbits can also carry this disease. Domesticated pigs and horses generally are not considered to be a good choice of pasture mates.
Horses and pigs have little in common and are unlikely to form an emotional bond even if you turn them out in the same pasture. Horses can interpret the body language of other creatures, including humans, whom they view as predators.
Horses can read human facial expressions and remember a person’s mood, a study has shown. The animals respond more positively to people they have previously seen smiling and are wary of those they recall frowning, scientists found.
But, unless they get to run around in pastures all day long, horses, like humans, want to have a job. It is a patch of sensory cells within the main nasal chamber that detects heavy moisture-borne odor particles.
I recently bought a pretty little buckskin mare. She was great.... until we brought her to our farm where she seems to be spooked by the pigs.
She does not have a problem with any other animal on the farm, just those scary pigs. I just wanted to write and thank you for your advice on the “scary pigs “.
The process to acclimate a horse to anything new and scary (pigs, tarps, ropes, trucks, motorcycles, cows, camels) is the same. Begin with enough distance from the scary thing so the horse will not just flee.
Anyway, keep your horse facing the scary object and reassure him a lot. You could reward your horse big time then by putting him away.
If I am riding my horse and the scary thing is stationary, I will frequently keep him facing it and moving towards it slowly to the point he touches it with his nose. In your case, once the horse has come a reasonable distance to the pig, I would reward him by ending that session.
In my March Review I mentioned that some pigs have appeared close to the road on one of our hacking routes. Basil was really unsure about going past them the first time, and we crossed the road so that we weren't so close. I wasn't sure if it was because of the noise they were making pushing their bowls about but since then I have found out that many horses are afraid of pigs. Pigs do smell different and often make plenty of noise either squealing or grunting. They are quite nosy too and so, unlike sheep, often come up to the fence or hedge to watch a horse go by.
In the wild the tusks of a mature boar could cause serious damage to a horse's legs and tendons. You can also follow me on Facebook and Instagram for updates on Cheney, Basil, Fidget and Daisy.
We lived in a village with a pig farm on our hacking route. Miniature baby donkeys chasing each other around the field were a slightly bigger problem.
The peacock would swoop across the school screeching in indignation as he dives bombed the hapless pigs, until he got bored with the game. Once introduced through the fence with a feeding session of treats for both horses and pigs, they became very blasé about the whole thing.
One of the cheeky pigs would frequently be found in the horses field in the mornings. When we first moved our horses there, we were worried about them being difficult to get past the pigs, especially my husband's neurotic gelding Haha.
Other horses on the yard were more difficult, but with some persistence and training they are all fairly settled going past the pigs. Several of the ponies would put their head over the fence to sniff noses with them.
Pigs at the livery yard my friend is at I go to visit just for the piglets! My mare shares scratches with the large pig by our gateway.
Fit horses, piggy wigs, made for some entertaining times Might be a short term pantomime but soon enough you'll have a horse who is totally not bothered by pigs.
I worked on an event yard that had a giant free-range pet pig. I on the other hand was pretty scared of it! I would say introduce carefully and give the horses space to get away.
We hadn’t realized my neighbor had moved pigs in right behind the hedge right as we had shut the horses on a section of track right next to it. My horse went ballistic being shut right next to them, must have galloped all day and it was the start of his sacroiliac issued.
Then he moved to a different yard that was about 100 m from a pig farm, and suddenly he was fine, even out hacking past them. Years ago when I had just broken my first horse I deliberately took her up the local farmer's drive to let her get used to pigs.
This was just as well since we moved house and that winter the only accommodation I could find for her was with a pig-keeping friend. The same horse loved cattle: would adopt calves if she could get near them and jump out to join them two fields away.
Pigs are a bit “in your face” for horses, which are shy and nervous animals in general. For this reason, pigs make better guardians than dogs in many instances, as they are short-sighted and approach strangers (human and other) rapidly.
My horse HATES pigs ... we had a place close to where we would ride by a lot. I put Lawanda oil on her nose and she's a lot better now might help with the pigs lol.
His previously floppy ears snap forward, and his head rises up. As you wonder when your horse turned into a giraffe, his steps become slower and shorter, his backdrops, and he emits the emphatic horse-in-jeopardy snort.
And just as you think, well, it can’t be that, your horse wheels, leaving you hanging in space for a moment as he hightails it back to the barn, not noticing whether you’re still attached to him. Maybe he’s convinced that whitetail deer are masquerading as peaceful, grass-eating creatures but are really waiting for the chance to pounce on a delicious meal.
The first step-and this often harder than you would think it should be-is to determine what’s causing your horse to be anxious and thus unruly or disobedient. The very thing that makes horses such fabulous animals to train, their incredible memories and ability to extrapolate from previous experiences, also causes them to hold on to negative memories and makes them difficult to convince that future situations won’t be negative.
Seven Types Of Fear The causes of equine anxiety usually fit one of seven categories: The objects that horses most commonly find terrifying include: rocks, farm equipment, cars, buildings, jumps, garbage cans and pretty much anything they consider out of the ordinary.
Many horses are uncertain about dark or enclosed places (like an indoor arena), and even more are genuinely scared of being alone (they are herd animals). Highly strung horses are easily unglued by loud, unexpected noises (a car back-firing, a garbage can falling over).
Anxiety could even be caused by more subtle changes around the barn (the jumps were moved in the ring, for instance). And often horses with a strong desire to please become anxious because they don’t understand what’s being asked of them, either because the exercise isn’t clear to them or the rider’s aids are confusing.
Or is he really using the object, which startled or unsettled him, as an excuse to produce bad behavior or get out of work? We know a horse who’ll walk past about anything on the buckle, but when you pick up the reins to work, the same objects immediately become terrifying.
If that’s the case, focus on your work and more or less ignore the horse’s behavior and the object of his concern. But if your horse is truly afraid, then it’s time to analyze the cause and to best determine how to combat it.
Dealing with objects that cause your horse to shy can be extremely vexing. Most horses, if given a chance to look hard at an unfamiliar object-and especially to sniff and to touch it-will lose their anxiety.
Usually, if you remain calm and just let them take a deep breath and assess something they haven’t seen before, they’ll accept it. If your horse is really unglued by an object, to the point where he becomes dangerous to you or others, discretion is always the better part of valor.
Horses that are worried about dark or enclosed places will likely always be that way, probably because they’re genuinely claustrophobic, or they have poor eyesight. Don’t hesitate to use your spurs or your whip to make them really walk (or trot or canter) away from the barn, because you want to develop their own belief that they’ll be fine and to confirm their respect for your aids.
This prevents you from acknowledging the object as something fearful and keeps your eyes, head and balance up and forward. If you have a horse who’s perpetually spooky, try riding with a breastplate, racing yolk or grab strap.
Catching nervous horses in the mouth can often send them over the edge. Ride a leg-yield or half-pass (or even a simple outside bend) that puts the horse’s eye on the object, but follow it up with strong leg aids that force him to continue stepping forward and working.
If your horse is walking like a tense ball about to explode, pick up the trot and start riding figures like serpentine or figure-eights. Remember, the hardest thing for some horses to do is walk on a loose rein.
The loss of contact with the rider can feel like abandonment, and they’re more likely to become anxious or startled. Although being able to walk on a loose rein is a must, be patient with horses and riders who struggle with this concept.
Begin by trying brief periods of loose rein between two letters of a standard dressage court, increasing the amount of walk over time. Make him work to force him to pay attention to you, using circles and leg yields, to get his mind off his friends heading toward the barn.
Barn- and buddy-sour horses usually balk or refuse to move forward, away from their friends or home. Balking can evolve into the extremely dangerous behavior of rearing and is not to be tolerated.
If your horse balks, you must IMMEDIATELY become far scarier to him than the cause of his initial anxiety. Use your legs, spurs, whips and voice (growl and scold, don’t scream) and GO FORWARD.
And immediately return to whatever work you were doing, so that the horse sees that you weren’t fazed by the sound. Shake, rattle and bang pots and pan, bells, rattles, plastic bags or other common items around him while you reassure him (with your voice, stroking or food) until he accepts the sounds.
It’s rare that you can’t convince a horse who’s afraid of clipping or other care requirements to relax. There’s nothing wrong with using some Acepromazine or other mild tranquilizer to settle his mind, if you don’t have the time or the situation is too urgent to take a slow, proper training route.
For most horses, 1 to 3 CCS of Ace (depending on his size and temperament) will do the trick. But, remember, tranquilizers are not training substitutes, and some horses won’t learn anything while under their influence.
Note: If you use tranquilizers to facilitate care, be sure it’s under veterinary guidance and far enough ahead of competition to avoid breaking the show or event’s rules for using performance-enhancing substances. Job Stress The anxiety you have the best chance of changing is that caused by horses who are worried about the work they’re doing or the ride they’re getting.
From a training perspective, it’s often extremely challenging to meld a partnership between a horse and rider who aren’t suited. And, although it’s always far preferable for riders to truly work to improve their skills and suppleness and to expand their experience, sometimes trainers just have to admit that a change needs to be made.
Make riders aware of the tremendous challenges they’ll face with their current mount given their respective personalities. This might seem a bit strange when we’re trying to prevent spooks when ridden, but I bet if your horse is spooky under saddle he also shies on the ground when being led around.
Once you can do this you can progress to rubbing a cloth all over your horse, then something noisy and strange like bubble-wrap and then something really crackly, such as a plastic bag. If your horse won’t accept your hand or you don’t feel safe because of his reactions, try using a sponge tied on the end of a stick at first, then make the stick shorter until your horse will accept your hand.
It’s really important to be fully aware of your horse’s body language all the time. Don’t listen to music when you’re grooming, leading or riding out, focus on your horse and the subtle signals he’s giving you.
Research has shown that horses which are regularly trained in-hand are better behaved under saddle. The more your horse understands your aids then the more responsive he will be e.g. to stand still without fidgeting or to go where you ask him to go.
Praise can be very motivating and horses will often try to repeat their actions if they are rewarded positively. Positive reinforcement simply means giving the horse something that will make the action performed more likely to be repeated.
Food rewards need to be delivered carefully and with correct timing. Clicker training can pinpoint the precise moment the desired action was performed correctly and is worth pursuing if you want to communicate clearly with your horse.
To me light aids aren’t just about responsiveness, they’re also about the horse’s confidence and willingness. Horses that are hard mouthed and dull sided have learned to switch off and not listen to the rider due to being given conflicting aids.
For example, a kick to move forward, followed by the rider loosing balance and pulling on the reins. A horse that is able to look at its environment and figure out for itself that it is safe is less likely to shy or be spooky.
If your horse does shy, spook or stop dead and refuse to move forward you need to be in a position to have the time to let the situation play out. I would encourage investigation, actually going up to objects and touching them will help desensitization.
Research has shown most horses make an effort to move forward past a worrying object after 13 seconds of standing and assessing it. Andrew McLean has discussed that horses learn in different ways and one of these is ‘generalization’.
In other words it takes exposure to something in five different situations for the horse to accept it. Find a yard where the tractor could be used close to your horse daily, for delivering hay for example.
Touch your horse everywhere Be aware Do groundwork Reward tries To Understand positive reinforcement Train light aids Loose rein riding Don’t turn away Rule of five Don’t be an avoidaholic Trixie Hodges BHS II SM has been working in the horse industry for 20 years.
Trixie has worked as a groom, an instructor, a rider, an examiner and as a lecturer. She has a fondness for rescue horses and loves to work with nervous, sensitive animals.
I moved my horses to a farm area last year. Our pasture is Kidd corner to 5 huge pigs ....after 6 months she almost goes near the fence line.
The other pigs are 15 acres away, and she fixates on them totally and daily. I've put Picks in her nostrils, fed her near the fence line, lead her by the pig farm.
I've fed her Quieter, herbal teas, reduced her to grass hay, but she still has too much adrenaline pumping her brain. At least she does not quiver and sweat anymore, she just stares with her eyes bulged out and every muscle is stiff.
So anyone got any bright ideas on solving this pig mystery? Pigs are opportunistic omnivores, i.e. given a chance they'll try eating your horse.
Matter of fact we had a farmer on the coast killed and eaten by his pigs just last week. • Horses : 4 There is a pig breeder where my trainer and I ride around and her mare is absolutely petrified ...granted the are the size of mastiffs or bigger and are insanely mean like charge the fence mean...but she almost went over sugar and myself trying to get away.sugar just stood there but definitely didn't like them.
Then work on leading to the pigs, little steps at a time, huge reward. He just stands and fixates, he shakes like a leaf, sweats up and it is near impossible to snap him out of it.
Turn his head right around, and he'll roll his eye towards the cow/pony then launch himself backwards. And his groundwork is not a problem at all, he absolutely respects my boundaries, but when something gets his attention, there's no hope.
A frequent competitor got tired of her horse freaking out about them and blowing her chances at placing. She put her horse in a round pen in the mule pasture.
The mules were curious and after about 7 hours the horse stopped worrying about them. Pick up a weaker at auction, use it to desensitize your mare for a week or two and sell it through the ring again.
Or, house break it and leash train it and rent it out to others whose horses are afraid of pigs. • Horses : 1 I'm interested in the answer as well. My boarding barn could qualify as a petting zoo.
She also seems to have a fixation on the pumpkin that's been sitting on one of the picnic tables. Every time I bring her out to hose her off, I have to drag her past it because she can't stop looking at it. Forever loved, never forgotten; my beautiful Indie.
We owned and bred pigs for a couple of years. Let's just say it wasn't very long before all fears disappeared in favor of the pigs feed.
One 14 hand pony I knew had run with pigs most of his life when one day a sow just gored him Her tush entered his leg just above the knee, and he was torn open to nearly his withers. Strongly instilled instinct is hard to break.
The first pony went up the ramp, spun around and knocked his child owner off her feet. Whilst he was being caught the next pony did exactly the same and the third went to the foot of the ramp and pulled away.
All three were the sort that you led to the ramp, threw the rope over their necks, and they loaded on their own. You can have a pet pig and keep it free-range about the horses and some will not care whilst others are genuinely terrified.