How do you deal with your horse rubbing their head on you?
 
 

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How do you deal with your horse rubbing their head on you?

This is a discussion on How do you deal with your horse rubbing their head on you? within the Horse Talk forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category
  • Horse that rub their head on you
  • How do u teach a horse to stop rubbing his head on the person

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    06-19-2012, 02:17 PM
  #1
Foal
How do you deal with your horse rubbing their head on you?

It seems some people think its a sign of affection while others think its a sign of disrespect. I'm leaning more toward a sign of disrespect, and I want to get her to stop, but I don't want to hit her on the head being as she is already pretty head shy. And that's another thing, I don't want to punish her when she gets her face close to me, since she already has problems with it.

How do you deal with head rubbing? Is there a fine line between affection and dominance, or is it completely unacceptable? I know she is itchy as well, so I don't want to completely ignore the fact that she's itchy. :P Thank youuu
     
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    06-19-2012, 02:24 PM
  #2
Trained
My horse gets a sweaty, itchy head after rides.
He waits to be untacked and unbridled and for me to get his rubber scratchy mitt on my hand before he starts itching.
He dis not rub in his bridle, on his leg, or on me, walls are OK when his bridle is off.

You just have to tell her what is acceptable and what isn't. You don't have to hit her, she just gets to smack into your elbow, or your fist, or if you really need it, a hoofpick, when she tries to rub on you. Back it up with a verbal "Uh-uh" or something, and maybe a touch on her neck or shoulder. Then eventually a touch and a verbal commend will get her to stop scratching.
I also find it useful to provide an acceptable rubbing surface, a bar, or a wall or in my horse's case his rubber mitt (which he loves lol). So that you can direct their scratches in a positive way instead of saying - no scratching ever, which can be hard to enforce because you will have to be constantly correcting them.

Good luck!
     
    06-19-2012, 02:25 PM
  #3
Weanling
I was told by my trainer it was disrespectful. Really it doesn't bother me, but in the interest of instilling proper manners I give a "No, sir" and push Remy's nose away.
     
    06-19-2012, 02:37 PM
  #4
Trained
When we got back from riding this morning, my mare rubbed her head against my shoulder. I just gave her head a shove with my forearm, because I don't want her rubbing against me just whenever.

However, I then gave her a quick rub with my hand, and then held my hand firm while she rubbed her face, nose & one ear against it. She was itchy and wanted a rub, but we'll do rubs on my terms. I'll hold my hand up as long as she needs, but we're not going to have her noggin rubbing against my shoulder anytime she wants. She is too strong, and I can imagine bad things coming from it...
Ripplewind and RunSlideStop like this.
     
    06-19-2012, 03:13 PM
  #5
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by bsms    
When we got back from riding this morning, my mare rubbed her head against my shoulder. I just gave her head a shove with my forearm, because I don't want her rubbing against me just whenever.

However, I then gave her a quick rub with my hand, and then held my hand firm while she rubbed her face, nose & one ear against it. She was itchy and wanted a rub, but we'll do rubs on my terms. I'll hold my hand up as long as she needs, but we're not going to have her noggin rubbing against my shoulder anytime she wants. She is too strong, and I can imagine bad things coming from it...

My favorite story is the lady that got strung up by her bra strap in the horse's curb chain when she let the horse rub his head on her -snickers-
     
    06-19-2012, 03:15 PM
  #6
Started
I'm not a fencepost :P I tend to just push them away and then offer a scratch where they're itchy on the face. I just don't like it when they go to rub and push you around, so I push back!
     
    06-19-2012, 03:16 PM
  #7
Weanling
My mare was headshy too, and I understand not wanting to scare them off. However, it IS disrespectful, and dangerous. (What would happen if they bumped into an elderly person, young child, or someone physically disabled in that manner???) If your horse is sensitive, a harsh NO or BACK OFF might work just fine. With my mare, I combined that with a strong push away in place of a slap, since she had issues being headshy as well. With her she stopped being headshy after I had her long enough to build up some trust. I make her wait and don't let her rub on me. When she is backed off and being respectful, I scratch her allllll over and tell her what a good girl she is. Once I have all her gear off and have my hands on her, she's allowed to lean into my hands and rub in whatever direction she's itchy in. The second she tries to rub on my body, we're done. She's pretty patient and well-behaved with it now.
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    06-19-2012, 03:16 PM
  #8
Green Broke
You need to teach her to respect your space, I use a hand wave side to side parallel t the ground under their face as a reminder. But that is level one after training them to back up with a crop first. Basically just waving it and my hand and walk towards them, If they don't back up they get told "BACK" and smacked in the chest with the crop. Then you rub them a bit with the crop. Basically wave wave "BACK" smack. Pretty soon they will get just the wave. COmes in handy at feeding time,
     
    06-19-2012, 06:17 PM
  #9
Green Broke
I teach horse to back by running hand down face, while using command to back, and that is what is used in fields, paddocks or stalls. That also is used to get horse to step away from me as needed.

I don't allow rubbing like this, as it can throw you off balance, and is bad manners on horse's part too.
HagonNag likes this.
     
    06-19-2012, 06:23 PM
  #10
Started
I always let Victor rub on me after I take his bridle off. It's kind of a ritual for us. He never does it unless I allow him to, though. In his case, I don't see it as disrespect or affection. He's just itchy.

I wouldn't do that with a disrespectful horse. If you don't want your horse to do it, give her a smack on the neck and tell her no. Maybe scratch her with a curry comb instead. :)
SpiritLifter likes this.
     

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