Should you allow your horse to rub their head on you? - Page 3

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Should you allow your horse to rub their head on you?

This is a discussion on Should you allow your horse to rub their head on you? within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category
  • Is it ok to let a horse rub on you
  • Why does a horse rub its head against me?

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    11-17-2008, 09:35 PM
I personally would not allow this. If they rub on you after you take the bridle off maybe you could just scratch her, but I would not allow them to rub on you. I have a friend who has allowed this and it had worked up into a bad habit. After every ride the horse ends up pushing my friend around for a little bit so he can scratch his head.
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    11-17-2008, 09:37 PM
I would NEVER allow one of my horses to rub it's head on me.

A. It's their sweat not mine...if they don't want it, why do I??
B. As someone else said, I am not their scratching pole. Do you see them trying to scratch their heads on the dominant horse?
C. I don't want to be knocked over because my horse is a disrespectful bubble invader.
D. I don't want to be knocked in the FACE cause...well see above.
    11-17-2008, 09:42 PM
My horse is fine with it. Doesn't get overly pushy. Like I said, he's not shoving me with his head, he's just leaning into it and helping me out when I'm scratching him. Not sure if that makes a difference to you, though. I dunno, if not that's all right. Works for me and I've had no problems. I just like to give him a nice scratch since it probably feels nicer to get your itches out on a hand/arm than a wooden pole. Lol I also scratch under his chin where he can't reach at all that's like his one spot he loves scratched all the time. :)
    11-17-2008, 09:47 PM
You scratching your horse, and him rubbing are two very different things.
You scratching is offering to groom him, which is a social behavior that isn't related to hierarchy in the brings each individual onto the same level.

Now a horse coming up and rubbing on you is the horses' way of saying "hey, stand here so I can feel good, I don't care if you want me to or not."
It's complete disrespect...most horses will get kicked for it out in the herd unless they do it to a horse lower than them...funny how that works
    11-17-2008, 09:57 PM
Originally Posted by confetti    
For me, it depends on the horse. One of the mares that is boarded here completely shoves with her head and will lift you off the ground, and that's annoying. My Bo, however, only rubs his head on me sometimes and in a loving way. He only seems to do it I'm in the mood to... If you know what I mean? I'm usually already hugging on his face or something.
It's like my dog. I let her jump on me if I hold my arms out and tell her to give me a hug, but if I don't tell her to, she's in trouble :)
I'm the same way. TJ doesn't rub his head against me, he shoves me with his nose. Everyone around me is always like "Tch." But he never was negative or mean-spirited about it so it doesn't bother me.

There's actually a write-up on Friesian personality traits and one of them is that Friesians like to shove you with their noses, and it's not a flaw. It's how they say "I love you". It emphasizes you NOT to scold them as your Friesian will lose respect for you. But you can shove back. Which is what I do with TJ. I'll also massage his lips/gums when he does it.

So people think I'm wrong. But TJ doesn't. And his opinion matters more!!
    11-17-2008, 10:26 PM
I don't allow it either...for the same reason listed by IS disrespectful and I can think of no good reason for allowing it. It is not going to hurt a horse to wait until I'm ready to groom away bridle itchies.
    11-17-2008, 11:36 PM
When Athena rubs on me it's not an everyday occurance. Infact, I can't remember the last time she's done it. But she has never gotten me off the ground, or has done it in an aggressive manner. Whenever she did rub/scratch on me I always do it back, usually harder then she does.
Now that I think about it, maybe I have 'moved on up in the herd' she hasn't done the rubbing thing in like, well, a very long time. And like someone had mentioned earlier that a horse would rub on another horse that's lower in the pecking order. Well, yay, it seems like I'm top dog now. No more rubbing! Lol
    11-20-2008, 03:11 AM
I have a mini that does this after you bathe him. I do not allow him to do it because he is trying to dry himself off on me and he is rough about it. I do not want to be wet anyway.
    11-20-2008, 03:31 AM
I don't ever allow it because it may seem harmless at the time but it can create a very bad habit. If it starts out as just something that they do after a workout, then it leads to every time you are around them, and ends up something that they do when you are trying to bridle or halter them. Thus making it so much harder to tack them. Also it is dangerous. By doing this, they are treating you no different than a wooden post and that means they have no respect for you. Not everyone likes a horse who rubs on them and many people would be bothered by it. If someone doesn't know your horse or just doesn't know horses in general, they may take it as an aggressive action and you can never be sure how people will react. Your horse may end up getting hit by a person defending themselves from what they take as an aggressive horse. I am all for scratching THEM after a ride but that still lets them know that you do it because you want to, not because its what they want.
    11-20-2008, 09:13 AM
I definitely don't allow my horses to rub their heads on me (even if it IS really cute!) because it can become a nasty habit. A horse a got about 2 years ago came with that habit. She rubs her head against me whenever she wants attention. She almost broke my ribs (she had me pinned against a wall while rubbing my chest)! Even though I've been firmly diciplining her, she still rubs. It's a hard habit to break, so I wouldn't recommend condoning it.

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