How do you deal with your horse rubbing their head on you? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 18 Old 06-19-2012, 05:27 PM
Join Date: Oct 2011
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i teach my horses that when i touch the point of their shoulder/chest to back up. or when i start to move back and they will back with me, and if i move to their hip they will pivoit with me and if i touch their hip they stop turning. i will flick their nose if they try to nibble, rub, bite at me. my little 3 year old paint was very head shy i still did this and he started to come close to me and more of a personal horse.
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post #12 of 18 Old 06-19-2012, 08:17 PM
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A horse cannot rub on me. They're getting an elbow to the face. I'll put my hand out and let them scratch against my nails, but that is on my terms.

It is a dominance thing. Make him back off. Slap his cheek, flick his nose with the crop, use an elbow or forearm to push or shove him away. Make him move on your terms. Give him affection on your terms. Not the other way around. If he wants to touch you, without your permission, you are giving him dominance over you. There is also the issue of the pressure and weight against your torso, forcing your to move your feet. Him making you move your feet is a sign that he is dominant over you as well.

You see it when two horses are together. The submissive horse tries to touch the face of the dominant horse, and the dominant horse moves his head away, but does not move his feet. Then he may or may not come back and force the submissive horse away, making the submissive horse move his feet. It is giving control of the head and giving ground to the dominant horse. These are things practiced in horse and rider relationships as well, although not always obvious.

Think of it not as a failure but as a success in how not to do it.

Don't look in a horses mouth for a gift.
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post #13 of 18 Old 06-19-2012, 08:24 PM
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It is a sign of disrespect and all it takes is one poke with your finger in the fleshy part of the face, between the jaw & mouth.
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post #14 of 18 Old 06-19-2012, 08:39 PM
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I make the 'no' noise, and run at his shoulder and run him down to the other side of the stall if he doesn't immediately get out of my space.

I do however, rub on his face, hug his face, stick my fingers in his nose, rub around his ears and 'force' cookies into the side of his mouth on a regular basis. He loves all of that. He just knows that all he's allowed to do is stand quietly and hopefully with his head nearby but NOT touching me when he'd like some of it. :)

Last edited by Sharpie; 06-19-2012 at 08:41 PM.
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post #15 of 18 Old 06-19-2012, 09:37 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Arizona
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Thank you guys!! I'll try some of these techniques and hopefully it will work fabulously :) I'll update when I see progress!

Dressage for me please!
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post #16 of 18 Old 06-20-2012, 10:07 AM
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It depends on the reason for the behavior. There are several reasons for that behavior to manifest itself. I have no problem with a gentle nudge or rub if it is to get attention or get scrateched - that is absolutely not a "sign of dominance". But a shove with the head is a different matter, and I don't permit that.

As with many horse behaviors, there is not just one reason for the behavior. If you fail to stop the behavior if it is for the wrong reason, that is a mistake, but if you fail to acknowledge the behavior if it is for the right reasons, that is a mistake too. And no offense, but an elbow to the face is never a proper correction unless you are in danger...if you must throw an elbow, throwing it to the neck, shoulder, or ribs, is just as effective and far more prudent. Corrections to the head just condition a horse to become head shy or to become a head jerker...
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post #17 of 18 Old 06-21-2012, 01:31 AM
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My mare never does it, I scratch her all over before she even tries; the gelding, yeah, so we keep a brush around after dismounting, and let him scratch against it and then we help, all over the head, ears, everything, until he stops, then he just stops, permanently, doesn't try to rub anymore, was just scratchy.

He's not allowed to rub on us if he has no reason to be scratchy :) And he's still not allowed to rub on us even if he is...scratch on the brush, not us. We'd rather we control the scratching sessions because heaven only knows what he'll try to scratch on if we don't do it for him before turning him back into pasture.
He'll end up with something stuck in his head or eye.
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post #18 of 18 Old 06-21-2012, 02:00 AM
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Location: Northern California
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I never scratch my kids while they are haltered or bridle, just because I like it when they stand quietly while I am at their side. It just drives me nuts to see a horse rub and bump its handler.
When teaching a horse not to rub, it strickly depends on the horse. I would never hit a sensitive horse, because if they started to rub and catch themselves, or if you moved in a way that would make them believe they did something wrong, they could jerk their head away and that could cause problems not to mention possible injury to the handler. Instead, I would jerk the lead, ask them to back, or shout at them just before they touchted you. However, if its a tough horse I would elbow them in the face, gentely back hand their nose, or slap thier neck.

Good Luck!!!

Don't breed, buy. Don't buy, adopt.
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