Horse body language I'm not understanding... - The Horse Forum
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  • 2 Post By goneriding
  • 6 Post By tinyliny
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post #1 of 10 Old 02-12-2013, 08:27 PM Thread Starter
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Horse body language I'm not understanding...

So my neighbor's horse, who I take care of and I have a good relationship with, is acting kinda weird. I've searched the internet up and down to find what he's doing. So, he has always loved to be pet on the neck. When I'd pet him on the neck he'd slowly start to close his eyes and bend his head down, then slowly lay it on my chest. Well, about a week ago I was petting his neck and he let out a low and short nicker. I really didn't think much of it because nickers are friendly. Right? Well, then he'd put his neck around my shoulder and then try to lay his head on my back and let out a low short nicker. So, I kinda backed off about 10 feet and turned around to look at the another horse. Well, he comes over and does the same thing again. Now, after about 5 minutes of rubbing his neck he does this. I thought he may have a sore one side so I went to the other side, but he did the same thing. And when he does it, he tries to pull me into his chest, which I thought that if he didn't like it he'd be pushing me away. I don't really understand what he's trying to do or say. Anyone have an idea?

Sit tall in the saddle, hold your head up high. Keep your eyes fixed where the trail meets the sky. And live like you ain't afraid to die. Don't be scared, just enjoy your ride - Chris LeDoux
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post #2 of 10 Old 02-12-2013, 08:31 PM
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He is treating you like another horse....herd buddy type affection.
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post #3 of 10 Old 02-12-2013, 08:50 PM
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That is getting too intimate and too rough. Don't ever allow him to pull you into him. Next thing he may decide to either bite you or step on you.

I often will give horses a good, hard scratching on their wither and shoulder area, which they usually love. They have the instinct to mutually groom, so will reach out their neck and clack their teeth rythmically together as if they were grooming their partner. That's ok, but if they try to be so kind as to groom me, I ask them to keep their head facing forward, and do not allow them to reach around and push on me in any way. A short sniff when I start is ok, but then I tap their face and ask them to keep the head out front.
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post #4 of 10 Old 02-12-2013, 09:43 PM Thread Starter
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Oh, I don't feel comfortable with it at all. I don't like it. I'm not afraid of him but when he does it I fell sorta trapped and really uncomfortable. I've never had to scold him before on anything, except for trying to sniff my face and I push his head away and he usually gets the mesage. I also don't want to make him think affection is bad. Because I really do enjoy it when he gently rests his head on my chest. So how should I exactly conduct myself tommorow when this happens?

Sit tall in the saddle, hold your head up high. Keep your eyes fixed where the trail meets the sky. And live like you ain't afraid to die. Don't be scared, just enjoy your ride - Chris LeDoux
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post #5 of 10 Old 02-13-2013, 12:59 AM
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you know, if you don't feel threatened, then maybe he isnt threatening. But, I always worry a bit about really close , hugging type contact because 1. If horse startles I will get trampled, 2. Hrose could think he's doing me a favor by "scratching " my neck as nicely as I am his. Ouch!

First of all, whenever a horse approaches me on the ground I want him to stop an arms length away. He never gets to take the last two steps toward us "meeting". I do. I put out my hand and indicate "stop there", then I approach him. If a hrose RUNS up toward me with an "I own you" attitude, I will shush him off and then when he stands politely, I approach him.

That's a place for you to start with this horse.

Oh, and I just remembered something. If the hrose has his head against your chest, and you lean over that head, if he gets startled, he will raise his head so fast you'll have a broken nose, just like that. Always something to keep in mind. Never put your head over their head.
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post #6 of 10 Old 02-13-2013, 08:05 AM
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I think he is simply trying to 'groom' you back. Horses seldom touch each other in a friendly way other than when they are 'mutually grooming' each other. You are 'grooming' him and he is trying to groom you back. I have had a horse or two try this, but I try to stop petting or scratching one before they get that 'friendly'. They are so big, have such strong bite responses, that I do not want their teeth that close to me. I do not think it is a good idea.

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post #7 of 10 Old 02-13-2013, 03:22 PM Thread Starter
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Well, I think I'm just going to start flicking his nose whenever he does that.

And with the head on the chest. I don't stand over his head, and I usually make sure he can't hit me if he raises up. Usaully when he does this I'm standing on the side of his head and he puts the side of his head on my chest. It's really not even laying his head on me, it's more of he has little bit of cantact and gently putting it close or so it's brushing up against me, or his nose is touching. Sometimes he'll start breathing with me. It's really sweet

I don't know if he's trying to groom my back or not, and I'm not going to find out. I move away the minute he starts to reach his head over my shoulder, because it's not a gentle pull back, he almost puts the full wieght of his head and neck on me and it's heavy!

Sit tall in the saddle, hold your head up high. Keep your eyes fixed where the trail meets the sky. And live like you ain't afraid to die. Don't be scared, just enjoy your ride - Chris LeDoux
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post #8 of 10 Old 02-13-2013, 03:38 PM
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To me it sounds like he's trying to scratch his jaw. He knows you can relieve his other itches, so he decides to utilize you even more and help himself to some jaw scratching! In that situation I would not jerk back or anything like that. You would knock heads and it would NOT feel good. Shove his shoulder/chest area away from you, making sure your head is out of the way as well.

There on the tips of fair fresh flowers feedeth he; How joyous his neigh,
there in the midst of sacred pollen hidden, all hidden he; how joyous his neigh
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post #9 of 10 Old 02-13-2013, 06:55 PM
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I think Tinyliny has given you the best advice in this. You need to set some bounderies with this horse.
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post #10 of 10 Old 02-13-2013, 09:59 PM Thread Starter
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Today I when I was with him he did the same thing except I pulled away and flicked him on the nose, and he did not like that. But, he didn't try it again and acted like a good boy the rest of the time I was there.
tinyliny and CowboyBob like this.

Sit tall in the saddle, hold your head up high. Keep your eyes fixed where the trail meets the sky. And live like you ain't afraid to die. Don't be scared, just enjoy your ride - Chris LeDoux
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