was this horse owner being ridiculous? re:patting horses=slapping a person
 
 

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was this horse owner being ridiculous? re:patting horses=slapping a person

This is a discussion on was this horse owner being ridiculous? re:patting horses=slapping a person within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category
  • Do horses like being patted on the neck
  • Do horses dislike being patted?

 
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    04-28-2011, 06:32 PM
  #1
Weanling
was this horse owner being ridiculous? re:patting horses=slapping a person

I kind of thought she was ridiculous...but I am open minded enough to learn new things, even though I am not new to the horse world. For instance...I used to squirt down my horses with cool water to cool them off in the hot summer, until I read on this forum that is a mistake, because the water ends up heating up on them and feeling like a warm soggy blanket. That made sense to me, and I feel like "Duh...can't believe I used to do that!"

So I took my very first paso fino riding lesson today (I may post more about that later, maybe on the gaited horses forum) and there was a woman there that owned 3 horses. I was talking to her after my lesson as she had one of her horses out on cross ties, and she was grooming him. I was admiring his color, stroking his neck and then I patted him. On his neck, kind of "pat pat pat." Not hard, but yeah, you could hear my hand make contact. I have done this all my life, especially from the saddle at the end of the ride, kind of a like a "good job" pat.

Anyway, her facial expression changed and she said, "No, no...you never pet a horse like that. That is the equivalent of me walking up to you and slappng you. That doesn't feel good to a horse." It kind of took me aback...I kind of stammered and said, "Oh, I have always patted horses like that...and my dog, too. They seem to like it, my trainers have done it..." etc etc. She said, "How can that feel good? Would you like it if someone came up and slapped you as a greeting?"

Of course, I now wish I would have said a few things such as, "Well, no, but I also would not like you to put a saddle on me and ride me!" Also, I wish I would have said, "Look, if you don't want me to pet *your* horse that way, that is fine. But don't tell me this is an abnormal way to pet a horse." But of course I did not say those things. I just kind of said, "Oh, hmm, I have never heard that." I told her to have a nice day and left.

Sooooo, anyone out there agree with her? Is this a regional thing...maybe breed specific? Was she a nutjob?
     
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    04-28-2011, 06:37 PM
  #2
Super Moderator
A lot of horse trainers with really good feel for the horse say that horses do better with a stroke , rather than a pat. It is NOT a crime and I think that if the horse is used to it, I am sure he will know that this is "good boy". But a hard , smacking pat, is probably not as pleasant to a horse. The woman could have said all this without comimg off so bruskly.

NOt a regional thing, btw.
     
    04-28-2011, 06:38 PM
  #3
Yearling
I have always pet horses like that....and my dog LOVES it, seriously the harder the better and she'll start wagging her tail and playing or lean into you wanting more pats. But that's off topic.

I don't see a problem with a good pat and I've never seen a horse upset by a nice pat on the shoulder or neck. Maybe im crazy tho...
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    04-28-2011, 06:51 PM
  #4
Weanling
I don't think it's patting horses=slapping a person, to me it is more like
Patting horses=patting a person on the back. Like saying 'good job'.
     
    04-28-2011, 06:59 PM
  #5
Yearling
I have never heard of that....

I always thought of patting a horse like saying good job and thank you. Some poepl beleive that stroking a horse would be better though. It's a personal preferance maybe?

There is nothing saying patting a horse is bad.
     
    04-28-2011, 07:05 PM
  #6
Yearling
I've heard that before, but don't really believe it. Although I have delt with horses that if you just ever so slightly patted their neck they'd get a fright and panic a little. However I put that down to the fact that those horses weren't handled at all until they were the age of 5.
My horse doesn't seem to mind it, I mean it's not like i'm full on slapping her with all the force I have, and as others have mentioned it's kinda like a pat on the back kinda thing.
     
    04-28-2011, 07:15 PM
  #7
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by dirtymartini    
I...I used to squirt down my horses with cool water to cool them off in the hot summer, until I read on this forum that is a mistake, because the water ends up heating up on them and feeling like a warm soggy blanket. That made sense to me, and I feel like "Duh...can't believe I used to do that!" It's fine if you scrape the water off after hosing them off - it colls them down faster - as long as they're not too hot (breathing VERY heavily) before you hose them down.

... On his neck, kind of "pat pat pat." Not hard, but yeah, you could hear my hand make contact. I have done this all my life, especially from the saddle at the end of the ride, kind of a like a "good job" pat. ...
.... I just kind of said, "Oh, hmm, I have never heard that." I told her to have a nice day and left.

Sooooo, anyone out there agree with her? Is this a regional thing...maybe breed specific? Was she a nutjob?
She was totally off base unless the horse was shying away from the contact. Suggest you just stay away from her.
     
    04-28-2011, 07:23 PM
  #8
Started
I've always, from the time I was a kid first being around horses, instinctively felt that people should quit slapping their necks to say, "Good horse!"

Yet, in the 50's & 60's, I hardly saw anyone NOT doing it (although I wasn't spending time with people who don't slap, like the Dorrance brothers). So, I just kept it to myself & always stroked my own horse.

35 years later, I read in Parelli's book that "horses don't like the neck-slapping".

Whether a dog or a human likes it is irrelevant: what's the horse's preference?

I'm sorry if the woman was brusque with you, but it's good that you didn't argue, imo. Perhaps you'll look back on this issue the same way that you now look back on hosing a hot horse with cool water. :)
     
    04-28-2011, 07:38 PM
  #9
Yearling
Okay, I am certainly not an expert, but this is how it was explained to me...

1) A horse's skin is sooo sensitive as to feel the most minute insect alight upon them, imagine what a light pat of our hand might really actually feel like to them then?

2) Yes, horses are all individuals, and what bothers one may not another.
Yes, it is also what they may or may not have become accustomed to in their life.

3) Dogs are a Predator, Horses are Prey.
They look at things in completely different ways as far as how they are "handled" physically, and how their minds look at things.
You have to remember that horses are a flight animal, and patting is actually looked at by them as a predatory action. Yes, seriously.

I find my own horses personally prefer a nice affectionate, loving stroke as apposed to being patted.
I see other horses who are completely used to a "good job" pat as well. (I am going to ad, they are USED to it, may not mean they actually LIKE it)

So in the end, I think it really comes down to your own personal preference, and what you and your horse(s) are accustomed to.
No, it is not a crime, just keep it in the back of your head that some owners will not appreciate you patting on their horse, and others won't give it a second thought....

Just my two cents.


     
    04-28-2011, 07:52 PM
  #10
Banned
No, the vast majority of horses do not like patting, and find it intimidating. I wouldn't quite say it's equivalent to slapping, but it's not much better. Stroking/rubbing is soothing....patting is stressful. Temple Grandin agrees.
     

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