Yawning after riding (horse, not rider!)

Fjord

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What does it mean if a horse yawns as soon as you remove the bridle after a ride? Is it a sign of tension in the jaw and if you find there is a bit/bridle set up that doesn't make them yawn, are you better off sticking with that?
 

Fiona

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My mare yawns before riding. . When the headcollar is taken off to put her bridle on. Our other mare and pony have never done it.

Fiona
 

Moomin1

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My mare yawns before she is turned out every morning. It's a nervous/excitement thing with her. She never does it any other time but consistently yawns as you put her rug on/get her headcollar on to turn out.
 

Equi

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My gelding does this sometimes esp after a really good (in my eyes) ride. I think its a mix of stress from having to use his brain and tiredness cause he is lazy.
 

huskydamage

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Is it a kind of stretching or something getting ready for it to be put on? mine often did this before and after bridling. I now ride in a hackamore and this post made me think actually she doesn't do it anymore. It must be something to do with the bridle
 

Kezzabell2

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as far as I am aware yawing is a sign of being relaxed, as is licking and chewing!

Ps, reading this title just made me yawn!! I didn't realise the word was contagious!!
 

freckles22uk

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Mine both yawn when I go to fetch them from the paddock to bring them home (5 mins walk down the track) neither have been ridden for over a year, so it cant be a tack issue, and they only wear a headcollar to and from the paddock... strange animals
 

marmalade88

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It could just be a habit. My boy rubs both sides of his cheeks every time you take the bridle or cavesson off. I asked the dentist if he thought it could be related to his teeth and he said no, it's just a habit.
 

Fjord

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pennyturner

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I find mine yawn after they have done something which made them think... particularly young colts in training.
Generally they're relaxed, pleased with themselves, and on their way back home - I interpret it as a horsey sigh of relief.
 

FlashyP

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One theory is that it is a sign of tension release after a pressure/stressor has been applied, e.g. the pressure/stressor could be the bit/bridle/being ridden, in your horse's case, then once this 'pressure' is taken away the parasympathetic nervous system takes over and the horse 'relaxes', which can be seen as yawning, licking and chewing, etc. I don't think it necessarily means the pony is uncomfortable (although, it could do), but that he/she is reacting to the relative 'pressure' change, for example going from bit to no bit, or from being ridden to not being ridden. Maybe experiment with lowering/raising the bit? Or changing other settings on your bridle? See if this changes the response. What happens if you bridle the pony, leave him/her for five minutes or so then take the bridle off? It'd be interesting to see if any of these things change the response.
 

Fjord

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Maybe experiment with lowering/raising the bit? Or changing other settings on your bridle? See if this changes the response. What happens if you bridle the pony, leave him/her for five minutes or so then take the bridle off? It'd be interesting to see if any of these things change the response.

Good idea, thanks!
 

Wagtail

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What does it mean if a horse yawns as soon as you remove the bridle after a ride? Is it a sign of tension in the jaw and if you find there is a bit/bridle set up that doesn't make them yawn, are you better off sticking with that?

Horses don't yawn in the sense that we do because they cannot breathe through their mouths. Yawning by humans or other animals such a dogs is the body's attempt at getting more oxygen. Horses appear to yawn but it is a sign of attempting to relieve discomfort, perhaps from the bit or tight noseband. There is another type of 'yawning' which is a sign of tension or submission.
 
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