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Fight or Flight?

Discussion in 'Horse Chat' started by debbsygirl, Jun 8, 2010.


  1. debbsygirl

    debbsygirl PetForums Newbie

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    Hello everyone! I've heard certain terms banded around recently, so I'm just curious what does fight or flight mean?
     
  2. lymorelynn

    lymorelynn UN Peacekeeper in training
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    Fight or flight is how your body reacts to the hormone adrenalin. It's called that because the hormone prepares your body for either eventually. Your heart rate speeds up, you can feel sick and start to sweat and you feel as if you need the loo. All this is in preparation for you to run away from danger (flight) or for you to face that danger and fight. Think of how you feel when you experience something like a roller-coaster for the first time - that's the adrenaline, fight or flight, hormone.
     
  3. JSR

    JSR PetForums VIP

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    It can be used to discribe an animals reaction to situations, for example horses are considered flight animals, as in a situation they considered dangerous they will run where as a Lion would turn and face the danger and fight it.
     
  4. lymorelynn

    lymorelynn UN Peacekeeper in training
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    Prey (horses) and predator (lions) - it's how the adrenaline affects them. Humans have the same hormone but have the choice how to react to it.
    I find it a very fascinating subject.
     
    #4 lymorelynn, Jun 9, 2010
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2010
  5. haylesequine

    haylesequine PetForums Newbie

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    My understanding of it is generally they are common terms used when describing the behaviour of a horse. Horses are commonly known as flight animals, meaning that they will run at the first sign of danger or a threat to them. This has been a survival instinct developed throughout the evolution of the horse. The fight part of the term relates to the horse when the threat becomes a direct part of their life. Once the horse has been e.g. attacked by a biting predator he will stand and fight to defend himself. This is always a last resort after "flight".
     
  6. JSR

    JSR PetForums VIP

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    :lol: Not so fascinating when you have a horse that think's random stones on the road side are out to kill him and he exhibits his 'flight' response!!:lol: 7 years of ownership and he still doesn't quiet trust me enough to pass a stone without making sure I know the potential danger...huge lorries, killer dogs and gallopping horses in fields next the road he couldn't care less about but a stone well we have to snort, stamp, spin and run at that!! :rolleyes:
     
  7. lymorelynn

    lymorelynn UN Peacekeeper in training
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    :lol: I ride too and my friend has a horse just like that except his thing is sticks! I swear he thinks they are snakes :lol: We can be cantering along quite happily and suddenly he is up in the air and off yet as you say, huge lorries etc. he doesn't bat an eyelid :confused1: Funny things, horses:D
     
  8. Valanita

    Valanita PetForums VIP

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    Flurry used to freeze, give what ever a good look, if she decided it wasn't dangerous, she would then go forward again. Luckilly she never did that on the moor when going faster than a walk, she used to do it often on riding around the lanes though.
    One day it was sheep in the road, she spotted them long before I did, they were in the distance & had escaped from a field, when she sussed out what they were she took no notice of them.
    Funny horse.:lol: She used to make me laugh.
     
  9. Barry G

    Barry G PetForums Junior

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    Flight or Fight. Oh this topic can get a Forum chatting away for weeks.

    The principle is that because a horse can move faster than all other domesticated animals that in times of confrontation the horse will choose to run rather than fight. Mostly this is true. Why fight if you can keep out of harms way.

    People will talk about sabre toothed tigers and survival over centuries but horses have survived because they have made themselves allies of man and not a source of food for man. The modern domesticated horse has been selectively bred to be a servant of man.

    But, some horses think differently and they will defend their corner. A horse has a mouth the size of a small crocodile and four feet which are mostly steel shod. They can easily break a human's bones. Most horses weigh over half a ton - that is about the weight of a small car. So if you happen to fall under one you may break your back.

    What is the lesson to be learned? Play upon the horse's natural instinct to be wary of humans. Treat the animal with dignity and kindness. Give respect to your horse - it is bigger than you and most horses do not lack courage.

    If however a horse comes straight at you with teeth bared, ears back - then get out of the way - quickly. If you chase a horse into a corner, then be ready for it to turn and come at you.

    Every herd of horses has a leader which mostly is a wise mare. She is the boss. But there are also bossy geldings and they are known as alpha males. Both mare and gelding will defend the members of their herd - make no mistake.

    It takes years of experience in learnng to recognise the true personality of a horse. Getting right the balance in your relationship with your horse can take 12 months or more. Just remember they were clever enough to design themselves in such a way as not to compete with man for food - they eat grass - we humans eat practically everything else edible but never grass.

    No horse is a chicken when push comes to shove. And a frightened horse can be more unpredictable and hence dangerous than a naturally aggressive horse.

    I personally think that the expression 'fight or flight' doesn't really mean much except to remind the horse handler that horses are big, strong, immensely powerful animals who choose to work with man rather than against him, providing man treats the horse respectfully.
     
  10. Barry G

    Barry G PetForums Junior

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    I went out and told my mare this morning she is not domesticated.

    She looked at me and asked why then did she let me strap her up, put a steel bar in her mouth, tie a heavy saddle on her bag and then plonk myself down on her back for her to carry me around the countryside for a few miles?
    Didn't she stand still whilst I got her ready for my pleasure?
    Didn't she refrain from kicking me and biting me when I got too personal with her?
    When was the last time she had dumped me?
    What else should a quadruped with four feet instead of two hands and two feet be expected to do?

    SHe can't make her own bed let alone mine - she's not allowed to prepare her own food and as far as she, being a hardy Irish mare, is concerned she'll live out so long as I don't mind her getting dirty.

    And she also prefers my company to the company of that obnoxious gelding which lives in the stable next door to hers.

    Personally I am not sure what being domesticated is but my wife might say that my horse is a lot more amenable than I am. I don't make beds, do washing, ironing or cleaning or the washing up. And certainly I can't even lift her, let alone carry her for ten miles or more.

    My mare is a lot more domesticated than I'll ever be.

    PS The Rottweiler is laughing - he even gets to sleep on the bed and watch the TV
     
  11. androugham

    androugham PetForums Newbie

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    The fight-or-flight response, also called the fright, fight or flight response, hyperarousal or the acute stress response, was first described by Walter Cannon in 1915. His theory states that animals react to threats with a general discharge of the sympathetic nervous system, priming the animal for fighting or fleeing. This response was later recognized as the first stage of a general adaptation syndrome that regulates stress responses among vertebrates and other organisms.
     
  12. Barry G

    Barry G PetForums Junior

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    I have learned from Androugham's response. But what I still don't understand is why some horses are prone to be skittish whereas others are more phlegmatic.

    If a young horse shows signs of skittishness - does this mean that the horse will remain like this throughout its life?
    and
    Why are some horses remarkably phlegmatic even in urban situations - in some cases without being dullards.

    Is the flight response in the breeding, the upbringing, the schooling or the rider?

    How do the Portuguese bull fighters get a Lusitano to fight a bull?
    and
    how does the Police get a horse go forwards against a group of violent demonstrators?

    Is the resistance to run in the breeding, the schooling, the upbringing or the rider?

    Is there any cure for a sensitive but skittish horse?
     
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