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Franklin Levinson's

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Horse snorts


You probably are going to think this is a very stupid question, but I'm going to ask you anyway...

I have a gelding (Tennessee Walking Horse) that will be 3 years old in April. I got him in August of 2004. He is easy to work with and hasn't been any problem to start training or anything like that. The problem is, everytime I catch him and start to lead him he sneezes/snorts/blows snot, or whatever you want to call it, in my face and all over my arm.(he's done this ever since I bought him). He does this EVERYTIME I catch him and it is very annoying to me and seems like nothing more than an irritating bad habit. I wouldn't think anything about if he didn't do it EVERYTIME he's caught. (it's not just every now and then, it's everytime). I have had horses most of my life and also have 2 others at this time. None of them have ever did that until this one. At first I thought he might have a ticklish nose. I even tried leading him without touching his nose just to see if he still did it, this didn't help and he does it anyway. Could this be some type of a nervous habit he's got into?

Hi Back,

'Snorting' or blowing hard from the nose is the horse actually communicating something, it is a display of sorts. The display could be showing a bit of concern for what is happening or what is about to happen. It is habitual at this point, for this horse. Horses snort often when there is something that concerns them, such as something they are scared of or unsure about. You must have seen horses snort at a scary object. The only thing I can suggest is for you to really tune in even more to the horse and attempt to determine if it is a fear based 'snort' or some sort of greeting for you (you would rather not have). Your idea of trying to change exactly what happens when you go to halter the horse is very good. Try to expand on that concept and really make what you do when you go to the horse different. How about just saying hello and then leaving the pasture? Do that so he does not anticipate being taken out of the pasture and ridden. Try just putting the halter on, leading him a bit in a circle and then leave him. See if he doesn't stop snorting after a few times doing that. Dramatically changing what you do is the best way I can think of to attempt to modify the behavior. I do think there is something concerning him and that is why he is snorting like you describe.

Good Luck.

Sincerely, Franklin

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