Should I stop this? - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 15 Old 08-05-2008, 08:22 PM Thread Starter
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Should I stop this?

I'll give you a little back story first. I've had Vida for about 4 years now, she is 9 yo. She is my main riding horse. Not the alpha in the herd. She never liked being touched around her flanks pretty much from there back she would pin her ears if you brushed her too hard or even tried to give a friendly scratch. She lifts her rear feet for cleaning fine and always liked having her tail dock scratched but anything around the rear legs and up under her belly was a no no.
I have slowly gotten her so she will let me clean the gunk out from between her teets but it took awhile and I even got kicked at once. Well....I started using my jelly scrubber to rub her down after a ride. She liked it so much she let me do her back legs, between her back legs, down her back legs and her belly! The problem is I think she is addicted. Every time I go out to feed, water get the mail or just say howdy she comes over turns her butt to me and wants her legs scratched. I mean EVERY TIME. This has been going on for about a month now. She will stick her neck out and her upper lip quivers. She has never shown any "sweet spot" to me before this. It just had to be her rear end
Should I let her do this? Is it ok for her to turn her butt to me for this, or should I start ignoring her?


"Until one has loved an animal, part of one's soul remains unawakened..."
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post #2 of 15 Old 08-05-2008, 08:39 PM
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If you're ok with having her turn her butt to you then I'd say no. It's not like she's doing it to evade you or to threaten you. It all depends on what behavior you consider acceptable.
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post #3 of 15 Old 08-05-2008, 09:05 PM
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Agreed--if it's not a respect/evasion issue, I wouldn't worry. Funny story, though!
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post #4 of 15 Old 08-05-2008, 09:58 PM
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haha, the mule did that to me too!

He just loved to have his butt scratched, but you couldn't go near his back legs for anything else or you'd be killed from him kicking you...

So as long as she doesn't try to kick you or get dominant with you I'd say go ahead and scratch! Vida will love you all the more
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post #5 of 15 Old 08-05-2008, 11:25 PM
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I think you're onto a good thing! Just found another effective positive reinforcement that you can use to reward her for things.

I had a mare who loved a tail scratch so much she'd come backing up to you in the paddock too. I didn't mind this, but if I wanted to eliminate this behaviour, I'd put it on cue and never ever reinforce it with giving her what she wants, unless I'd asked/cued it, and I would be reinforcing some conflicting behaviour, such as facing me.
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post #6 of 15 Old 08-06-2008, 06:05 AM
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I don't see the problem. My horses when they were younger liked me to scratch their butts, so they turn them to me every time. Interesting though with time they prefer face me "face-to-face", but I just scratched.
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post #7 of 15 Old 08-06-2008, 06:37 AM
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My mare does this too and in fact the gelding is starting to pick it up. It can be disconcerting when a horse greets you with their back side. I watch their ears and talk to them so that they know I'm in their blind spot - but I allow it. Although I'm cautious I trust those two not be doing that out of disrespect or danger.

I'm not arguing with you, I'm just explaining why I'm right.

Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.


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post #8 of 15 Old 08-06-2008, 09:59 AM
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My only concern about this is other people. Sure you know she just wants a hiney scratch, which really is funny and cute. But what about next time you go camping, or on a trail ride with other folks. I would be concerned that they would either A.) be scared and insist that Vida turn for them and get grumpy with her when she was only wanting attention. -or- B.) Think that she is wanting attention when she is in fact threatening them because she didn't like the way they were approaching or something along those lines.

I would hate to have an accident involving Vida while she was tied to a high line at camp after a great day on the trail because of a misunderstanding.....Maybe this is a behavior that does need a cue. In the end its going to be how you want to handle it. Does she do it to everyone or just you?

Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don't be afraid or discouraged by the size of the task, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.

1 Chronicles 28:20








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post #9 of 15 Old 08-06-2008, 06:25 PM
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you found your gals sweet spot!!! That's so cool. My 23 year old paint gelding has never relieved his to me or I have not found it. Since she is not being aggressive I would try to rub her with more grooming products...ie curry comb, dandy brush etc. this way ur not limited to the rubber mit. That's cute though. Grooming will be a lot more fun for the both of you!!! Enjoy.
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post #10 of 15 Old 08-06-2008, 06:43 PM
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I would always scratch Luna's butt from the time she was a few days old not realizing I was teaching her to back up to me every time she wanted a good butt scratching. I neglected to tell my husband this though, and once she backed up to him so he starts panicking thinking she's getting ready to kick and asks me what he should do. I said, "she just wants her butt scratched."

I think it's pretty harmless, too. Just inform others what to do if she presents her butt, I guess! Plus, you did a great thing by desensitizing what was once "touchy" area.

Stella - sweet, timid, elegant, lovely, lively, amazing
Luna - large, unattractive, naughty, adored
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