nuzzling/nudging vs. shoving
   

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nuzzling/nudging vs. shoving

This is a discussion on nuzzling/nudging vs. shoving within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category
  • What does it mean when your horse nudges up against you
  • Horses who nudge and

 
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    07-19-2011, 06:24 PM
  #1
Foal
nuzzling/nudging vs. shoving

hi everyone! So, the mischievous pony I ride quite often (apache) and I have made leaps and bounds in our relationship! No longer is he bucking or throwing me off, and he's not trying to race me down to the ring. He no longer tries to escape when I have his halter on (thanks to the stud chain) and doesn't purposefully boss me around. I can lunge him with no problems, he allows me to groom him and pick his hooves, he responds automatically when I discipline him, and I love him to death. Riding him as taught me a lot about how to deal with unruly horses, and how a horse can teach YOU when you are doing something wrong. I adore him so much. My question is about nuzzling. Now, when I started riding him he used to shove me around the ring with his nose in order to get me to send him home. Now, he doesn't do that anymore, but sometimes he tries to use me as a scratching post which I do not allow (i slap him on the shoulder, usually, to direct his attention elsewhere. My trainer enforces punishment and reward, not really natural horsemanship or praising only good behavior) but sometimes he just nudges me with his nose a bit. I want to know the difference between a friendly nuzzle, a meaningful nudge, and a violent shove. Well, I know the latter, but the first two confuse me sometimes, because I don't want to punish him for being affectionate, especially when we are having such improvements in our relationship.

I appreciate your help!

- checkers and apache.
     
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    07-19-2011, 06:56 PM
  #2
Foal
I'm not sure about the rubbing thing, my horse does that too, I personally think its a bond thing, he doesn't do it to anyone but me (but he could just be trying to play with me somehow). But if they softly nudge you then their showing bonding, shoving their just trying to be mean. Again with the rubbing if they stop when you tell them to without hitting them, then it was just a bonding thing I think.
     
    07-19-2011, 07:19 PM
  #3
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by MinnickVerse    
I'm not sure about the rubbing thing, my horse does that too, I personally think its a bond thing, he doesn't do it to anyone but me (but he could just be trying to play with me somehow). But if they softly nudge you then their showing bonding, shoving their just trying to be mean. Again with the rubbing if they stop when you tell them to without hitting them, then it was just a bonding thing I think.
yes, it must have been bonding then, which makes me very happy xD he doesn't respect any other of the riders at my barn, and is disliked by everyone but me. Thank you!
     
    07-19-2011, 07:26 PM
  #4
Weanling
I personally don't allow any of it. A "friendly" nudge will progress to more forceful nudge, then to shove, then to running me over, then to all matter of disrespect. Horses start out with very subtle challenges of your leadership, and I take any sort of nudging or touching me (unless I invite it) as an unappreciated challenge. Even if it is friendly, I don't much like being used as a scratching post So, I just don't allow it.
     
    07-19-2011, 07:36 PM
  #5
Showing
If you extend your arm, that is the space your pony is not allowed to invade under any circumstance. There is no need to hit him but you can certainly let him think you will. You need to start with just leading him and suddenly flap your elbow. (chicken dance). Keep him guessing as to when it will happen. This will teach him to stay out of your space. When you are brushing him or saddling, flap your elbows as a reminder. He doesn't want to get his face bumped so will become more mindful. When leading, give him about 3' of lead so he has room to stay away from your elbow. If you choke up on the lead, then this won't work.
     
    07-19-2011, 09:52 PM
  #6
Foal
Thanks guys! And yes, saddlebag, I demand he stay the entire lead rope length behind me at all times xD he's very, very good about that. He used to shove me into the fence with his head when I first started riding him, now he just touches me with his nose sometimes. And thanks pinny! I have read a lot about personal space, and I haven't allowed him to touch me at all since we've started cracking down on training, so he can show his affection in other ways xD thanks you guys!

And one more question: he tends to grind his teeth when he comes up to see me. Whenever I go to get him, he greets me with a whinny and runs to the stall door excited to get out, but he never tries to escape. But he does grind his teeth or "chew" when I put his halter on and he does the same thing when I am grooming with him. Any idea what this means? I heard it's anxiety. I don't do anything about it, I just go on with my mission and take him down to the barn.

Do you guys suggest any effective punishments when he's bad? Sometimes he tries to get away with things and I can effectively reprimand him with the stud chain, but it's harder with a bridle. My trainer says to pull on it hard and slap his chest, which I do during lessons if he bucks me off. He hasn't done that recently, but a few days ago he tried to take off after my friend's horse during a group hack and I had to get firm with him. I just feel like yanking the reins isn't really doing anything. Should I make him work more if he's being naughty?
     
    07-19-2011, 10:13 PM
  #7
Super Moderator
Don't punish him, just tell him not to do it and tell him where he is to stand. So, if he is pushin on you with his head, reach over and with two fingers tap him good and hard on his jaw and use your fingers to move him off of you.
Then, if he starts moving toward you, turn toward him , raise your hand and say, "stay!" and kind of tap the air to push him back. If you do this when he barely moves and are very consistent about it, you can train him to stand in one place and not be up on you.

I know it'a kind of hard , about the head rubbing and nuzzling and such. I , too, have been told it is not wise to allow it, but I do. Shame on me. I know that Mac is pretty good natured aobut it and just has an itchy face, but I insist that he wait until I have the halter off and a towel in my hand, which I then invite him to rub into. Small but crucial difference.
     
    07-19-2011, 10:23 PM
  #8
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by RED CHECKERS    
my trainer enforces punishment and reward, not really natural horsemanship or praising only good behavior) but sometimes he just nudges me with his nose a bit. I want to know the difference between a friendly nuzzle, a meaningful nudge, and a violent shove. Well, I know the latter, but the first two confuse me sometimes, because I don't want to punish him for being affectionate, especially when we are having such improvements in our relationship.
You'll get many different pieces of advice about this, and many folks maintain a very strict 'no entry/contact unless invited' zone around them, but the bottom line is that you can pick whatever space or contact you are comfortable with and your horse will respect that if consistently enforced. I personally prefer lots of 'touch time'/contact and very social horses. I don't want (or expect) our mares to avoid 'my space' as I move around, but instead do expect (and enforce) that they behave with me and each other (no fussing, nipping, kicking, etc) while in/near my space. If one of our mares wants to gently rub her muzzle on my shoulder, I have no problem with that...if she were to lean on me like a scratching pole, I would shoo her away.
Pick your limit, enforce it consistently, and you can have a well behaved, affectionate, and respectful horse.
     
    07-19-2011, 10:43 PM
  #9
Foal
When you are dealing with horses, especially horses that have had an issue with being disrespectful in the past, you need to be very consistent with what you allow. If you sometimes let him nudge you and sometimes you don't, you will only confuse him. Personally, I don't let my horse lean on me or nudge my with his nose. To stop it, I will flap my elbow and let him bump into it or I will use my hand to bump his jaw away. IMPORTANT: You are not hitting him for being bad. You are making it uncomfortable for him to lean on you or rub on you. You need to be the leader in your relationship, and you don't see a horse that is low on the totem pole walking up to the lead horse and using him as a scratching post. This isn't being mean and it won't make him like you any less. If you need to bump him, once he stops rubbing rub him on the face with your hand. That way, you don't need to worry about him getting head shy or anything. If he starts to lean on you while you are rubbing him, bump with your hand. You can rub him, but he can't rub you. Once he understands this, he will be content to follow you as a leader.
     
    07-20-2011, 12:01 AM
  #10
Foal
Thanks guys! All this information is very helpful <3
     

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