Equine Quirks

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Marsha Cassada

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So, Billy is my new horse. The first day we didn't get home till later in the day and he was pretty stressed. I just put him in a stall area so he and Dapper Dan could see each other. The next day I allowed him out and watched the two. No squealing or laid back ears. Just a look-see then off to graze. Sigh of relief.
But wait. I called to tell his registered owner that he had arrived and all was well. She asked if he had started sucking his hock yet. I had seen him do this but had no idea what it meant. We thought something was biting him. No, he's done it since he was a foal. Watching him reach around to suck/bite/lick that spot on his hind leg was interesting.
But wait, there's more. She said he also sucks his tongue. Sure enough, after breakfast he stood with his head down, as if in a trance, sucking his tongue. I looked that one up on the internet and evidently it is fairly common, and nothing to worry about. It will be interesting, though, when he gets his teeth done on Friday if the habit has affected his teeth. Can hardly wait to ask the vet!
A friend's miniature horse sucks tail hairs into his anus. She has to keep his tail braided and clean him every day.

So, what quirky habits do your horses have?
 

Cayuse

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This may or may not apply, but I have heard that sucking the tongue might indicate ulcers. I think a vet told me this years and years ago. I don't know if there is any truth to this or not, but Cappy DID suck his tongue when he was going through treatment for his infected sinus. He was on a lot of meds, so maybe he had a sour stomach. Hard to know!
 

kimbalina

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Apaché loves his scratches. His quirk is quite rude… he’ll always come running to greet and soon after he gets to me, he quickly turns around to give me is bum for a scratch. Thanks Apaché 🤣. I wish he wouldn’t do it, I feel it’s kinda rude and disrespectful but … I usually end up giving him a big rump rub so he gets what he wanted and so the cycle continues.
 

Marsha Cassada

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This may or may not apply, but I have heard that sucking the tongue might indicate ulcers. I think a vet told me this years and years ago. I don't know if there is any truth to this or not, but Cappy DID suck his tongue when he was going through treatment for his infected sinus. He was on a lot of meds, so maybe he had a sour stomach. Hard to know!
Internet had lots of reasons for tongue sucking, from inadequate nursing as a foal to endorphins released from eating. That could be Billy's deal as i notice it after he eats.
 

Abby P

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Eating (grain) could also make ulcers hurt...I think a lot of these horses that do weird things during/after eating a grain meal could have ulcer issues. If he's been stressed and not fed the best, it's something to keep in the back of your mind anyway. He sounds lovely, if he's already settled in well enough to go for a calm walk! That's great! :)
 

Kelly

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Not sure if these are quirks or just reverse psychology 🤣🤣….

It started on a camping trip with my biggie a while back. I offered my dog a piece of carrot and she wasn’t having it, so I gave it to my biggie. My dog watched this and then wanted a piece of carrot, she still eats them to this day 🤣🤣

Then one time I tried to give my biggie a banana and he wasn’t having it, so I gave it to my fruit loving mare who would eat any and ALL kinds of fruit known to man! Biggie watched this and then he too wanted a banana, he still eats them to this day 🤣🤣

Stormy never finishes his breakfast in the mornings. So after I turn out my larger than life extremely dominant biggie I put Stormy’s remaining breakfast in my biggies food bowl. I let Stormy into my biggies stall and of course Stormy thinks he is so cool and scarfs down all his remaining food 🤣🤣
 

Marsha Cassada

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I was telling a horse girl about Billy's quirk and she thought it was a type of cribbing. So, I had to look that up as I have heard of it but had no experience. Equus magazine had a really informative article about cribbing. I don't think what Billy does is technically cribbing, but it definitely is an endorphine-thing. The gist of the article was that horse owners shouldn't get too upset about it, as their research shows it is a coping mechanism, and that once a horse has done it for a long time it is impossible to stop. Though one should rule out ulcers or other health issues.
So, Billy will continue his quirky behavior and I won't worry about it. He isn't hurting himself and if it gives him a slight high, well so what. He has all the "fixes" suggested, such as plenty of turnout, a companion, and work to keep him busy.
 

Marsha Cassada

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Eating (grain) could also make ulcers hurt...I think a lot of these horses that do weird things during/after eating a grain meal could have ulcer issues. If he's been stressed and not fed the best, it's something to keep in the back of your mind anyway. He sounds lovely, if he's already settled in well enough to go for a calm walk! That's great! :)
The article I read did suggest that ulcers could be a contributing factor, especially after a grain meal. I do notice Billy indeed does his quirk after supper, which is grain with supplements. But I don't see any signs of ulcers. I think he just likes prolonging the pleasure of his supper. Silly boy.
 

Dragon Hill

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DJ rolls after every meal of grain. First one side, then gets up, and then the other. Then he's done. At first I was concerned, now I just wonder. It seems as if he was stalled in a tiny stall...lays down, one little roll one way...gets up...lays back down, one little roll the other way...gets back up and looks relaxed.
 

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