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Horse Behavior and Training

foal clicking teeth, raising lip

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I have a 4 month old foal whom I have seen clicking her teeth at our new gelding many times now. This morning as I approached her and allowed her to smell me, she started doing it to me. In a little different way though. She was raising her lip and moving her head up and down. We just got her and her Momma 2 weeks ago and she was not imprinted so we are starting to work with her. I think she is telling me she doesnt want to fear me, that she is nursing,and reminding me she is a baby. is that right? So, my question is what body language should I have or what should I do back when she does this that will be the best thing for our growing relationship? She is really smelling me alot right now too. Thanks for any advice! I am new to this forum and to horses in general and I am so excited to be studying Monty's language of equus.

Miriam (Holland&Germany) 2010-Sep-08 at 17:05PM
Hello!2014 Cyberhunt winner100 lessons completed150 lessons completed200 lessons completed250 lessons completed300 lessons completed350 lessons completed400 lessons completed

What your foal is telling you, is that she is still a baby, will not hurt you and "please don't hurt me"! To confirm this message you can touch your foal at the shoulder and then go away. Repeat this maybe 3 times, so she'll know you're safe. Your bodylanguage should be passive, shoulders at 45 degrees, let her take the first step towards you. This could be the beginning of a lifetime of trust, if you observe the rules set by nature. Remember not to look her in the eye, unless you want to send her away. As soon as she looks at you, invite her with your bodylanguage, make yourself round, breathe quietly, be safe place to be. Have fun!

Melea 2010-Sep-09 at 14:02PM
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Thank you Miriam for your response! When I turn away from her she comes to me and smells my back or the back of my arm and lightly nudges me, but when I turn back around she still seems a little scared. Thanks for the advice about eye contact. I will makes sure I dont make eye contact now. She is too little to send away yet from what Monty says. She used to kick at me every time I came near, but now I can touch her some, so we have come a long way already! What do you mean by make myself round? I am just beginning my studies. I concentrated today on passive hands and keeping my arms down low with hands turned in. Im trying to work on my breathing too. You said to touch her on the shoulder, should I leave her face and head alone at this point? This is such an awesome opportunity and it is so much fun to watch my horses interact!

Miriam (Holland&Germany) 2010-Sep-09 at 18:06PM
Hello!2014 Cyberhunt winner100 lessons completed150 lessons completed200 lessons completed250 lessons completed300 lessons completed350 lessons completed400 lessons completed

Hi Meleacherie! So good to hear what you achieved untill now. Making yourself round means becoming soft, gentle, inviting, round shoulders, do a lot of slow deep breathing. The horse synchronizes with you, so if you have square shoulders and your whole stance is fierce, this baby will feel sent away. When you start touching the shoulder, make sure to start with the back of your slighltly closed fist, when you're accepted there, you can slowly open your hand and stroke the shoulder.This way you can work your way towards touching the whithers,maybe the croup, later the breast, etc. Please take your time, trust is critical. Going away establishes the trust, so touch and turn away, then come back to where you were and go a litlle bit further. What you want ot achieve is a foal that is OK with being touched all over, have its feet lifted etc..Sometimes they're comfortable with the head and neck, but the next step would be letting you in on both sides. Slow is fast, so give her time.

Melea 2010-Sep-09 at 19:07PM
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Thanks so much!

MyGirlStarla 2010-Sep-10 at 13:01PM

I'm glad you posted this thread about teeth clicking, Melea. It reminds me of my mare and her recent behavior with my gelding. The two have only been together since July, and boy did they make a connection! They are so connected, it makes it rather difficult to work with them. I know I have the separation anxiety issues to work with, and I'm taking it one day at a time. The issue that I had with my mare - shortly after my second join up with her, I led her out of the round pen and we came up to the gelding. She immediately got nose to nose with him, raised her head high in a non-agressive way, and started clacking her teeth at him! It was very comical to watch, but it left me and my boyfriend wondering what in the world she was doing! Was this her way of telling the gelding, "I'm sorry I let her be in charge of me." ? LOL She is very submissive to the gelding, following his every move, and even hiding behind him whenever we enter the pasture. He is very protective of her, not to a dangerous degree, but more of an annoyance. So, why would a mare who is 8 years old, clack/click her teeth at a gelding? It left me feeling as if she was apologizing to him for establishing join up with me, as silly as that sounds.