Head butting or not? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 07-18-2012, 12:05 AM Thread Starter
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Head butting or not?

Today while I was petting/scratching one of my horses my other horse came up to and wanted to be scratched also. So I was scratching them both in the same place I always scratch them, on their withers. Well, my oldest horse put his head on my stomach for about 2-3 seconds then kind of pulled up and shoved his head into my ribs. It wasn't very hard at all, it didn't knock me back or anything, but it was a nudge. I couldn't tell if he was irritated because he wanted to be allogroomed by his friend (they were getting ready to do that when I came out to the stall) or what. It was obvious enough to pull away from the horse but wasn't enough to hurt me or push be back but it surprised me a bit....

Is this bad behavior that needs to be fixed?
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post #2 of 15 Old 07-18-2012, 08:35 AM
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I guess it depends on the horse and their history of past behavior. If they are a horse that is known to push your buttons then I would interpret it as pushy. That said, if its a soft horse then I see it a sign of submission and I would not worry about it. I have heard that its a complement and a sign of submission. Which sort of make sense, the horse is putting its head down where it can't see as potential predators as well. Horses are visual first and scent second animals.

I had a mare that was very soft and got sent to a trainer who was rather harsh with her. It was a very bad experience for this mare and my family. After she got home, I took her for my first or second ride. After the ride, this mare put her head on my chest/stomach and just sighed we stood like that for 30 seconds or so. I felt like she was just so relieved to be home. This might just be a miss-interpretation of behavior on my part and I am interested in other people's opinions.
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post #3 of 15 Old 07-18-2012, 07:35 PM
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Was he just trying to scratch his face on you? My mare rubs her face on my stomach chest area when I'm rubbing her sometimes so she can get the itches off her face, but she doesn't do it hard enough to hurt me or make me go backwards, but the first time my husband saw her do it he freaked out and thought she was attacking me lol
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post #4 of 15 Old 07-18-2012, 08:11 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah, I don't know...I didn't try to find out I just backed off and gave him space. He can be a grumpy old man at times! He's a 31 year old gelding quarter horse
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post #5 of 15 Old 07-18-2012, 08:14 PM
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It sounds like he was just rubbing on you. It's personal preference as lots of people allow this, however I do not.

I received quite a bit of pain once when a horse managed to snag the most sensitive part of my chest and twist it in a sudden movement while I allowed this to happen. It hurt, quite a bit and I will not allow it again.
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post #6 of 15 Old 07-18-2012, 09:24 PM
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Any time a horse makes YOU back up or move your feet, it is bad behavior and disrespect. If he had butted you a little harder, it would have sent you sprawling.
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post #7 of 15 Old 07-18-2012, 09:50 PM Thread Starter
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He didn't move me back at all, I didn't move an inch. He just pressed his head against my stomach and dug his forehead underneath my ribs a bit, but I myself didn't budge or get moved. I just didn't know what think of it, a horse had never done anything like that before to me...if it happens again I'll just assume it was affection. But if he does ever knock me back, I won't tolerate that. I've heard of horses knocking people's teeth out by knocking people with their heads
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post #8 of 15 Old 07-18-2012, 09:58 PM
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Also I forgot to say, the way I look at it..imagine how easily your horse COULD move you or push you back or worse if they WANTED to, that's how I judge what my horse, or any of the crazy horses at the barn I work, intentions are. If my mare is rubbing her face on me it might feel a little rough but she also weighs 1000 pounds and is probably trying to be gentle, but when a horse intentionally runs me over or tries to pull me when I'm leading then that's a big No No
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post #9 of 15 Old 07-19-2012, 12:54 AM
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sounds like he just wanted his head scratched lol The 30 yr old gelding at my barn loves to scratch his head on my back. I probably shouldn't allow it but hey he's a 30 yr old man with cancer so I can't deny him that simple pleasure.

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post #10 of 15 Old 07-19-2012, 12:45 PM Thread Starter
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ohhh, poor horse....is the cancer getting the best of him or his he doing good?

Also, as you can see by my username I'm really into NTRA horse racing. what kills me is when a horse fractures his leg or gets an injury, they just put the horse down instead of letting the horse make a recovery, which nowadays we have the medical advancements to have a horse make a full recovery from injuries like that. To me I look at it as a wasted life....the horse is usually only 2-4 years old and has it's whole life ahead of it. A horse in my town just got attacked by a cougar the other day. It didn't kill the horse but tore its front right leg up pretty bad. stripped the hide off and some flesh.....its a bad injury. but the bone and everything is fine he can still stand. But I take my hat off to the owner who is not putting the horse down and is going to pay the expensive medical bills to have the horse recover.
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