What is napping?

AmieeT

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Had my first experience of this yesterday- he stopped in the middle of the lane, was spinning in circles, backing up every time I was pushing him on.

Had to get off as he wouldn't move out of the way of a car! Then wouldn't stand still for me to get on.

Walked him back to the yard thinking '******* what have I done to him? Have I hurt him?' Got back with tears streaming down my face (lol), and spoke to his owner (I have him on full loan).

His response was 'He's napping. He's taking the p*** out of you Aims! Get back on and give him a boot'. (He didn't mean it nastily, he loves this pony just as much as I do!)

So I get back on, his owners growls at him and sure enough, he walks off as sweet as a nut! He tried it a couple more times, and I growled and gave him a (very weak and half-hearted- I'm soft!) kick and tap with the whip- literally just a tap on the hind like 'hello, get moving Mr!'

I won't lie, I felt really daft. Genuinely thought I'd hurt his mouth or something- which confused me as I can hold the reins with my finger and thumb and he'll usually still listen.

So back to my original question- what actually IS napping? Is there a reason for it?

Ax
 

Polos Mum

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To me it covers a wide range of behaviours from planting to full on rearing and spinning. The key is that it's driven more through naughtiness rather than genuine fear and it can take some skill to tell the difference. But if you can give a good tap/ kick on and they get over it immediately it's not genuine fear.

I think it's part of their evolution to test the boundries and test the leadership of a herd, this is part of that same testing process where they are testing you to see how you'll react. Some people are so quick and experienced that they keep their horses in check with the smallest growl once a month and therefore don't even remember doing it.

It can get really out of hand if not addressed and different horses need different addressing, my big horse need ignoring, he throws all his toys out then almost turns to look at you with a 'so what are you going to do about that then' face - if you got into a fight at this moment you'd loose big time, if you ignore him and patiently keep asking whatever it was - he'll (now) give in and happily carry on (when he first came this ignoring could take up to an hour!)

I'm sure others have different ideas but this is my personal view.
 

Exploding Chestnuts

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It is normal for horses to get worried if they feel that the rider is not the boss, a few don't mind, but others will nap, ie resist, if you don't make it clear what you want , and you want it now!
Get your bossy boots on when riding horses!
No way are you going to hurt him with a good firm tap, usually better than something like a fly swat!
But "welly in the belly" is your first aid :)
 
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TheresaW

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My gelding will nap if he's on his own, never ever does it in company. I can read him and know him inside out and he rarely does it with me, but a couple of other people that ride him, he will try it. There are certain places leading out of the farm where he will try it, and once he's spun round and headed home, you'll be lucky to get him out again. I just always keep legs on him, don't even let him slow down or look around, and once past, he will be fine. With other people, he will lead you into a false sense of security, will hack out lovely for several times, and then Bam!! He knows what he is doing.

My mare can be nappy, whenever it suits her, alone, or in company if she is front. Hers is caused by slight nervousness, usually if something has been dumped, or is new on the track. With her, she will spin, but not take off, just lots of running backwards when you turn her back around. I usually just sit there until she gets bored (if I'm on my own), or on several occasions have been known to go past the "thing" backwards. If we are in company, put someone else in front, and she will follow with no problems. Problem with her is, she likes being in front all the time.

What I would like to know is, why do they always do it when there is a ditch, and run backwards towards the ditch?
 

AmieeT

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Thanks all.

I've had him nearly 18months and he's my first horse, been riding as long as I've had him so not the most experienced!

Once he knew I'd cottoned onto him he was as good as gold! Been hacking him for about 6 months now and it's the first time he's done that. Suppose the prospect of later spring grass eating was too much for him.

Previously loaner had told me she could never get him out the gates to hack out alone, and owners said she let him get away with murder so that makes sense now!

I'd heard and read of napping before, but didn't actually have a clue what it was.

Ax
 

Orangehorse

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Well it boils down to confidence, which is why there are lots of adverts for horses and ponies that will not hack out by themselves!

A horse needs to feel that someone is the leader and if it isn't the rider, then the horse will take charge, and naturally the horse would prefer to go back to his friends! Some horses are also stronger characters than others and will put up more of a resistance to doing something they don't want to do, so you hear of people trying to overcome a nappy horse for hours and hours of standing still not moving! This is also why you, as a less experienced rider, had trouble where his usual rider did not.

A horse is always looking for a confident herd leader, on the ground or as a rider, and so you have to be that confident leader.
 

windand rain

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Simple definition if the horse/pony deciding where it wants to go/do and refusing to respond appropriately to the riders aids
 

Polos Mum

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I don't think it is likely, most napping is due to "fluffy bunny_ness", note that owner told her how to deal with it.

Ahh this is where it gets tricky, if a horse is nappy it might plant, spin, rear etc. if a horse is in pain (from sharp tooth, saddle, etc) it might plant, spin, rear etc. The outward symptoms are almost identical and that is where you need someone who knows the horse or who is very experienced to tell the difference or (often cheaper and easier) have all the common pain things checked to rule them out to be sure it definitely is nappy

Many many people have had bad nappy horses that ultimately end up having some kind of pain (hock arthritis in both legs so not lame is one that springs to mind often for 'nappy' horses)
 

Exploding Chestnuts

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A horse that is in pain or uncomfortable will show other symptoms, the horse ins Q is being ridden by a novice, the owner tells her she is too fluffy bunny, I bet my next paycheck the owner is right.
My boy has "a nap in him", but has never been unsound in his life, it is behavioural, he is just that type, needs a rider who will set him on the straight and narrow.
 

Polos Mum

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A horse that is in pain or uncomfortable will show other symptoms, the horse ins Q is being ridden by a novice, the owner tells her she is too fluffy bunny, I bet my next paycheck the owner is right.
My boy has "a nap in him", but has never been unsound in his life, it is behavioural, he is just that type, needs a rider who will set him on the straight and narrow.

Almost certainly the case here I agree if the owner who knows the horse has suggested an approach that has worked - perfect.

Just adding to the general discussion that many 'nappers' do have some physical issue as OP asked what was napping more generally
 

Exploding Chestnuts

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Almost certainly the case here I agree if the owner who knows the horse has suggested an approach that has worked - perfect.

Just adding to the general discussion that many 'nappers' do have some physical issue as OP asked what was napping more generally
All the horses that I have been asked to "sort out" have had behavioral problems, I think this is much more common.
To be honest most horses and ponies are in light work and ridden by "average riders", if the saddles fit reasonably and the horse is sound, I really think that napping is behavioural 95% of the time.
We used to have 100+ horses in training, and it was rare to have one that napped, though they might show bad manners when they arrived.
Very young racehorses may rear and mess about when first in training, but it tends to be over excitement and the fact that they have been rushed, they settle down, if it were pain related they would get worse.
They were checked over regularly and got physio if they needed it, but those who got treatment did not necessarily nap anyway.
 
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Gloi

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:D Everyone thinks my pony is sweet and well behaved. They don't know him as well as I do. Under the surface he is constantly plotting to get his own way but I know him well enough to stop those thoughts before they turn into actions. :p
 

Exploding Chestnuts

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:D Everyone thinks my pony is sweet and well behaved. They don't know him as well as I do. Under the surface he is constantly plotting to get his own way but I know him well enough to stop those thoughts before they turn into actions. :p
Ha, exactly............ I suspect he tries to lull you into a false sense of security, and then when you are a bit distracted/relaxed, the ears waggle and next minute he is is "demon" mode?
 

Exploding Chestnuts

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I had one ex racer who was a nice ride, once we got her going independently, unfortunately we met a train one day and ended up in some bushes, and it just became a battle every time I went that way to get past those bushes in one piece. Nothing to do with the train [I normally avoided them], it was some sort of displacement thing.
 

Gloi

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Oh yes. I let my friend ride him one day when her TB was lame. She was fooled by his fluffiness into letting her concentration lapse. Within a few yards he'd wiped her leg down a hawthorn hedge and while she was busy going 'ow ow ow' loaded up with tasty grass. One up to fluffy pony.
 

Exploding Chestnuts

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Its quite common, a friend let me ride her horse [16 years] others warned me "she has a bit of a reputation", nothing that one little squeeze in the ribs and a tap of the stick would not sort out, but some just test you, that is their nature.
Said horse was on share, stupid girl was talking on her mobile [to the owner!] and ended up in hospital [nothing serious] ......... her own silly fault as far as I am concerned.
 

SnowPhony

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I'm sorry MrsD123, but if its a completely new behaviour then I'd be asking myself why and not assuming it's just naughtiness.

If that makes me a fluffy bunny then so be it :)
 

AmieeT

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Thanks everyone :)

Probably should have said- he is known to be very cheeky! Owner told me that he's not really a novice ride (He's known also to buck when he doesn't like something) but I feel can learn more from him than a riding school pony- and quite frankly I adore him anyway. Plus they've commented that he seems better behaved (I'm not so soft from the ground!).

I was told before I took him on that if I gave him am inch he'd take a mile- and previous loaner had far worse problem with it than me (spoke to her this afternoon).

Took him out today with a schooling whip to hand and funnily enough he wad a superstar.

He is due a back check which I'll be booking soon, and his teeth were checked by the vet when she vaccinated him recently so he's fine there.

Ax
 

Exploding Chestnuts

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Sounds as though you have found a great partner OP, your own confidence will grow from now on :) AND it is more fun to have a "partner in crime" lol
 
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Floxie

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What I would like to know is, why do they always do it when there is a ditch, and run backwards towards the ditch?

This :( I never really get chance to either fight or wait it out, because we'll invariably reverse at speed into a ditch, wall, barbed wire or something else sufficiently scary that I feel I have to get off and drag the pillock on foot. Not ideal, but I have bigger plans for my day than sitting in a ditch under my stupid horse.
 

Floxie

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Welly in the belly, and lean back [they don#'t like this], 0.2 secs before reversing.
Or be like me, and get someone braver to do it!

Ooh, I wonder if I'd have the presence of mind to try leaning back (rather than the automatic, and counter-productive tense-little-ball reaction!). I'll try and remember that. But yes, I'd very much prefer the second option! Just need to find someone brave (or daft) enough!
 
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