Horse 'scratches' my back - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 09-21-2012, 08:16 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2011
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Horse 'scratches' my back

When I scratch my gelding's back, he turns and 'scratches' mine. He is a very respectful horse on the ground and in the saddle. Some people, however, tell me that this is 'disrespectful' behavior. I don't think it is. He isn't biting me at all. He is just rubbing his muzzle on my back and hip while I scratch his whithers. Otherwise, he doesn't get in my space. What do you guys think?
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post #2 of 5 Old 09-21-2012, 08:18 PM
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There is one horse in my 36 years I would trust to do this. People that didn't know that horse would think I was crazy, but I knew her inside and out.

No other horse would be permitted.
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post #3 of 5 Old 09-21-2012, 08:32 PM
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It wouldn't bother me personally, but at the first sign of any roughness I would put it to a stop immediately.
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post #4 of 5 Old 09-21-2012, 08:38 PM
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Almost every horse I know does this - they're just 'grooming you back' it's actually quite respectful when referring to a herd situation.
The problem is, what's grooming to a horse is painful for a person. If your horse is clear on no teeth and he isn't pushing you, just rubbing you, that's ok. I taught every horse I've known who does it, to turn their head away and wriggle their nose facing the other way. This way you're not discouraging the action, you're just displacing it.
My mare though, was like yours, she never used her teeth. So I allowed her to do it, whenever I could feel her getting excited or a bit rough, I'd squeal and stop scratching for a second, like another horse she groomed too roughly. She got the point fast.
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post #5 of 5 Old 09-21-2012, 08:41 PM
Join Date: Dec 2011
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I do the same thing with my draft horse it is a sign of trust I do it with all the horses I work with
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