View Full Version : Body language?
1st Apr 2004, 08:00 PM
Something is bugging me as I dont know why he does it:) When I bring Sham down from the mountain I dont need to use a headcollar or rope as he just follows me like a puppy. I am trying to work out what he is telling me by the way he does it. I walk, he walks, I stop, he stops and stands along side me. But when we are walking he is literally RIGHT behind me!!! Following the same path as me, no matter where I go.:rolleyes: So much so that I sometimes get concerned for the safety of my heels:eek: Now, is this a dominant position for a horse in a herd to take.....as in herding his mares along, or submissive as in I am the leader and he follows my every movement and the track I choose? Any help please as I have been trying to work it out for ages:rolleyes:
1st Apr 2004, 08:16 PM
Does it fit Sham's personality to do that? Do you see him doing that with other horses? If he does, is it in a friendly way? It could just be "his way".
I know some NH trainers think that what you described is signs of submission. (Klaus F. Hempfling)
Some would say its a sign of herding. (can't be specific about who in this case....)
I'd ask your horse. Trust your instincts, thats important too. If it makes you uncomfortable then teach him to not do it. Humans can read body language too and if you're getting an uncomfortable vibe about it, then maybe hes more of the herder type. If you dont feel any apprehension about it, then carry on. It shows trust on both ends.
1st Apr 2004, 08:25 PM
I haven't ever seen him do it to the other horses here.......but then there is so much space they all seem to graze miles away from each other anyway! And I dont feel threatened by him, when we stop and he comes alongside me its always in a friendly, cuddly way:) I just worry that if its slippery when we walk down the steep bits that he may slip and come cannoning into the back of me:D
1st Apr 2004, 08:32 PM
Then the only other gauge I'd say to use is how he interacts with you in other ways. If he's not a generally pushy boy (to you) and mindful of your space, I'd say you've got a submissive little Sham on your hands. :D Bet it makes for a cute picture :)
My explanations are based on Bonfire, mostly. He transformed from one type to the other. He'll herd horses all day out in the field and was a pushy little bu**er but since our "day of enlightenment" his days of following me into the barn are completely different.
1st Apr 2004, 08:47 PM
Thanks Tootsie - I'd love to get a video of him doing it:D I wouldnt say he was totally respectful of my space.........but not too bad either. Its a hard one to call - kind of middle of the road:rolleyes:
1st Apr 2004, 10:30 PM
Rio tends to follow like that, I'd guess it's submissive, he's following his leader. It'd only be the other way if he ran you over when you stopped:D
Space invasion isn't always a bad thing if it's done politely, horses do it with each other when they act out bonding behaviour for example.
1st Apr 2004, 10:38 PM
Perdita - my mare's exactly the same, i havent been able to put a headcollar on her for the past 2 weeks as her nose has been rubbed badly but i found i didn't need it, i especially noticed the walking then stopping with my colt after a join up session we did, he follows right on my heels and if i suddenly stop, he stops.. then i carry on etc.. i have noticed that when i turn around after stopping he will put his head up and tilt it to one side.. as if trying to work out what i'm planning :D It is onc eof the processes that Monty Roberts uses during join up as far as i can remember.. and the following is a sign that its worked i guess?!
2nd Apr 2004, 02:52 AM
When I bring Sham down from the mountain I dont need to use a headcollar or rope as he just follows me like a puppy.
Your horse is "hooked on", and following his leader.
Have you ever noticed horses in a field moving in a line, head to tail? They follow a leader.
If you and the horse were in some wild country (or sorta wild country), the horse will have a tendency to stay close to the herd (you) for security reasons. Personally, I wouldn't disuade this, except to keep some minimum distance; say one or two feet back.
If he steps on your heels, jump straight up, scream "Owwww!!!"; then let everything settle down, and pet him. Then continue on your way. . One or two "Owws", and he'll be more careful of your feet.
2nd Apr 2004, 08:28 AM
I would guess it's submissive too. Bebe is a dominant sort of girl and she tends to take her own route and then meet me at the gate, follow at the side and swop sides frequently, or wander off miles in front and then wait for me to catch up. She always meets me at the gate so I can put her headcollar on though.
She never walks behind me unless she's actually on the leadrope & headcollar and I tell her to walk behind (going through narrow gaps in the hedge, etc).
She doesn't make an issue out of it and is well behaved when asked but left to her own devices she isn't keen on being behind, unless there's another horse in her way, then she goes behind and tells them to "MOVE" in no uncertain terms.
2nd Apr 2004, 09:47 AM
Aww, well thank you then!! I knew he was a sweet little chap:D He does seem to be dominant with other horses, not quite so much at this new place as he is still finding his feet. Although, having said that from what I have seen he is now second in the pecking order, and thats in just two months! But I think Arabmare, if she reads this would agree that he was bossy with her lot too, apart from maybe Jaz who rules the roost:D So I guess its working out well that he see's me as his leader. He has never trodden on me whilst following, and always stops instantly I do, its really just the mud down the hills that worries me! It would only be by accident if he got me, I'm sure:) Thanks again Karen - he really is a darling!!!:D :D
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