This fad about labeling all sorts as 'disrespect' or telling people they need to 'make' their horse respect them
really grates on me. I don't believe a horse rubbing on you has any more to do with 'disrespect' than a dog going through a door before it's owner. I also don't believe it's helpful or productive to just lable it as such - & therefore just presume it deserves punishment - if a horse bites or otherwise 'tells you where to go'. I do think that in many cases problems such as that are indeed due to disrespect of the *handler* for the horse. I believe respect and establishing 'rules' is absolutely vital, but I believe respect is *earned* & is mutual, not something you can force.
Now I've had my rant... horses, as with other animals, do what works for them & quit doing what doesn't work. So it's up to you as handler, to be consistent about what you want to allow/reinforce & what you find undesirable and want to discourage. This includes considering - and often changing - the *motivation* for the behaviour.
**Regardless of whether you personally find things like nibbling 'cute' or such, always keep safety in mind when training a large, potentially dangerous animal.
you know, i think i really needed to read this. that makes alot of sense, and i think being on this site sometimes makes me feel i always have to be in complete control of every move my horse makes. you made a really good point, not only about the similarity in types of "disrespect" like how the dog does through the door first thing, but also about how it depends on what the rider allows and thinks is comfortable or acceptable.
maybe this sounds silly or wrong to some people, but horses have nearly no freedom in the hands of some. stalled up all day, told every move to make or not make etc.. i really dont want to be that person who gets after my horse for things i do not support all the time, especially things such as nibbling or affectionate things that really arent hurting anyone at all (at least when he only does it to me)...
i know that no one likes it when their parents tell them every little thing they do wrong, or every tiny thing they cant do or that is unacceptable... so me, and maybe some other people will see this and decide to loosen up a little and decide what can be allowed and not taken so seriously as apposed to what needs to be.
with as gently and slow motion as he does this, i really think its just an affection thing and not a rude thing. he doesnt really care about the mare we have in the other pen, and is always so glad to see me when i go out to him and wanting to play and such, i think he is just probably glad to see me and wants to give me love nibble but goes slow and gentle because hes probably wondering if thats okay with me, hence him being so cautious and all outstretched about it... he never does any harm and is never aggressive so i think he if wants to nibble a little thats fine...
sometimes he does it when im picking up his hooves, just barely but i can feel him on my lower back.... when im messing with his hooves, and he does this i usually look up and tell him to knock it off because its one thing when im upright and can see what he is doing but its another when my back is to him and if he wanted to bite ever i wouldnt see it coming.