Rubbing! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 07-27-2011, 11:11 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: indiana
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Don't know if this is in the right spot?

Anyway, we all know horses like to use us as scratching posts. But my mare does and always has done it constantly. I think it's a respect thing. Shell rub her head on me when I'm brushing her down, walking with her, EVERYTHING. she's getting better, when she does it I don't give her any 'feedback'. I just gently push her head away and go on with what I'm doing. She does her head rub but keeps walking twards me. I'll scratch her head but she doesnt seem like, ahh yeah, there's that itch. Anyone else have this issue? I think I'm getting it under control- I just didn't know if anyone else had the issue or opinions!
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post #2 of 5 Old 07-27-2011, 11:34 PM
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Oklahoma
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You are encouraging it. Stop her by giving her 3 or 4 hard jerks on the lead-rope and backing her -- pretty roughly -- up out of your space and teach her what "Whoa!" means. You need to have zone around you that she does not cone into without you asking her to. [I would not ask her to until she stays respectfully out of YOUR space for a good while.] Go to her to brush her, bush her head but do not rub it for a while, If she tries to bring her head around to you, 100% of the time, you need to jerk her lead-rope and move her gruffly away.

The one thing that gaining respect on the ground requires is for you to be 100% consistent. Horses do not understand why they can rub one time and not the next, so consistency on your part is key.

I can tell you my hard, firm rule -- The worst behavior that you accept is the very best behavior that you have any right to expect. They will always drop their behavior to that lowest level of acceptance.

Oddly enough (at least for most people to understand) is that they like you better, are more comfortable around you and accept what you want better when the relationship is one of 100% respect for you - a relationship where you make ALL of the decisions. You make them be very obedient on the ground and under saddle and they literally worship the ground you walk on. You are like a god to them.

You do not ever 'buy' their respect or loyalty with petting and treats. They hold people they can push around with disdain while they worship the people that make them mind.

I used to have people bring me their disrespectful or mean horses to me and they would invariably say something like "I don't know why he doesn't like me (or 'love' me). I have always treated him with nothing but love and petted him and gave him treats and yada, yada, yada."

Then they had the most difficult time understanding why their horse followed me around with ears up, listening and watching me and trying to do everything I asked it to do and all I did was boss the horse around when it needed to be told what to do and left it alone when it was doing the right thing. I would back them up, move them around, make them obey "Whoa!" and stand perfectly still and take no crap from them. The horse loved it and respected it and felt totally 'safe' around me. There was never a question of where they stood in the 'herd' pecking order or two -- them and me. The owners just shook their heads. If you are going to get along with horses and get a lot of enjoyment out of them rather than a constant struggle for dominance, you have to learn to start thinking 'horse' and not 'dog' or 'people'.
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post #3 of 5 Old 07-27-2011, 11:55 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: indiana
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Thank you so much for that response! I was at he horse fair last year, and that exactly was what he was talking about. I completely agree with not winning them over with treats, (which I admit, I have done before, but not this horse). I really want to make it happen- I honestly don't know where to start. Ive heard carrying around a little whip? The problem is, when we got this horse we took her to a very good trainer to see how she was. He said that the horse was babied all it's 'childhood' (which is true, she was the only foal at the barn we got her from, so she really LOVES people) , but she only responds to kindness. I really don't know if this is possible? But I guess I'm afraid of her ending up being scared of me. What do you think I should do? She doesn't have a mean nature by any means.
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post #4 of 5 Old 07-28-2011, 01:41 AM
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She is going to be very difficult to teach herd type manners and behavior to. She does not 'love' people. She just thinks they are her 'herd'. Sorry to say, like a orphan that identifies with people, she has to learn all of the herd manners from people that have not done a very good job of doing that.

Has she run with a herd of horses, even in 'turn-out' since she was a foal? The more time she spends with dominant horses, the easier it will be to teach her to move from pressure. She may never learn good herd socialization which puts you at a distinct disadvantage.

I don't think babies should ever be raised alone. They need to learn herd behavior or they are going to be very difficult to teach to move from pressure. You can train them, but it is a lot more work and requires a lot more skill. Most trainers would rather take in a wild horse than one that has not been properly socialized with horses more dominant than them.

The best way for a baby to be raised is with a mother that protect is for the first few months to a year. Then people or the mare wean it and is becomes the low horse on the pecking order in any mixed herd. It get bit and kicked and learns to read other horse's body language and learns to get out of the way and same its life when the other horses tell it to.

I have only one foal this year. I had 3 mares bred last year, but sold two of them in January and so I only have one foal. I will take in a foal from someone else or buy one if I have to just so it won't be weaned as the only foal. I do not like to run foals with older horses until they are yearlings because it is too difficult to get ANY feed in them. They are so far at the bottom of the pecking order (learning to be horses) that they do not get proper nutrition. I want all of my horses to raise running out in big fields because I am convinced they need this to develop good bone and feet I will not raise one in a barn or a lot.

Then, as a horse gets older, it starts pushing around the younger or more timid horses in the herd. I have watched this progression up the pecking order for decades. I have watched how each horse finds a a different place in the pecking order. I have experienced how horses from different spots in the pecking order train differently than others. A timid horse that always has bite marks all over it trains very differently from the dominant bossy horse that always gets the first feed tub. Some of the differences are good, others require a better trainer and are more work initially but can turn into the better horse.

Your horse can learn her manners from you, but you may have to get pretty rough with her to teach her that she is not the lead horse in your herd of two. She will not hold it against you after you finally get the respect she needs to establish you as the herd leader.

One thing to remember is not to 'peck' and her and 'nag' at her. Gett after her hard when she does not respect what you are asking her to do and them leave her alone. It is not productive to pet, praise or treat her. Just leave her alone and she will learn much more quickly how and when to do the right thing.

Good Luck. Cheri
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post #5 of 5 Old 07-28-2011, 01:48 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: indiana
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Thank you. She hasn't ran with otter horses when she was young that I know of. She was with people, and didn't get the horse skills, like your saying. We have 2 other horses, who dominate her, and she deffinatly has kicks and bites from the others. I agree on letting them run, and if it was my choice I would go that route. Thank you for the help, and I will deffinatly be rougher on her. Thank you!
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