Horse Body Language (help me translate) - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 13 Old 04-04-2011, 09:02 PM Thread Starter
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Horse Body Language (help me translate)

BACKGROUND INFO: My horse, Scarlet, and this Thoroughbred, Roman, share a small 2 stall barn way back in the pasture, away from the main barn--and people traffic. Although Roman isn't mine, I do feed him for his owner when I go out to feed Scarlet, show him affection, talk to him and occasionally brush him out. I've never ridden him or seen him be ridden by his owners. Maybe it's the limited attention he receives, but he acts more like my horse than my own horse! Roman follows me like a shadow when I show up, never do I need to "catch" him to bring him to his stall. He is gentle although he towers over me and is never pushy and gives me my space.

The Point:

I stand around with Roman a lot, and just observe how he interacts with me. But in this video, I'm not sure what he's telling me.

He engages anytime I apply "pressure and release"--like I said, he'd follow me for days if he could. But here, after every pat-he nudges me hard with his head. Is he saying "get away" or "I like that!" ? I can't really tell.

At one moment, I scratch his withers and he turns to look at me (I'm out of frame), when I looked back at him he quickly turned his head and faced forward, like he was afraid or something. Anyway, tell me what you think is going on here...

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post #2 of 13 Old 04-04-2011, 09:22 PM
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What he's doing reminds me of what my mare does when she's "telling" me where she wants to be scratched. She loves having her head/cheeks scratched so I'll scratch her head for a bit, then she'll turn one cheek to me "scratch this one, mom!", I'll scratch that one, then she'll show me her other cheek like "hey! You missed a spot!". I think when he's looking back at you he's just requesting that you come back to his head and scratch that.

He looks like a big ol' sweetie! :)

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post #3 of 13 Old 04-04-2011, 09:24 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wallaby View Post
What he's doing reminds me of what my mare does when she's "telling" me where she wants to be scratched. She loves having her head/cheeks scratched so I'll scratch her head for a bit, then she'll turn one cheek to me "scratch this one, mom!", I'll scratch that one, then she'll show me her other cheek like "hey! You missed a spot!". I think when he's looking back at you he's just requesting that you come back to his head and scratch that.

He looks like a big ol' sweetie! :)
Thanks! Yeah, now that I think about what you said and watch his behavior, it makes sense!
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post #4 of 13 Old 04-04-2011, 09:27 PM
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man, he's adorable!!! I think his nudging you is asking you to continue what you were doing because he finds it reassuring and pleasureable. He seemed to be fairly polite about it, not like he was using you as a scratching post. He has a really sweet eye. Hve you tried scratching him just between his withers and his shoulders? Watch his face and see if while doing this he makes mouth or lip movements and maybe stretches out his head with it kilted off to the side. These are all signs of pleasure. They are exhibite when horses do mututal grooming.
He is a lovely boy and seems to find peace with you.
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post #5 of 13 Old 04-04-2011, 09:32 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyliny View Post
man, he's adorable!!! I think his nudging you is asking you to continue what you were doing because he finds it reassuring and pleasureable. He seemed to be fairly polite about it, not like he was using you as a scratching post. He has a really sweet eye. Hve you tried scratching him just between his withers and his shoulders? Watch his face and see if while doing this he makes mouth or lip movements and maybe stretches out his head with it kilted off to the side. These are all signs of pleasure. They are exhibite when horses do mututal grooming.
He is a lovely boy and seems to find peace with you.
Thank you! This is reassuring to read, since I only aim to make him happy even though he's not mine :) He's a very sweet boy, and as you saw, he stood there without being tied up. So it's nice to know he enjoys our interactions... He does twitch his lip a lot when I'm scratching him. Is this the lip movement you're talking about? Do they only do this when being groomed? Bc a lot of times, he just stands next to me and his lip and mouth and twitchy---then he nudges me! Lol
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post #6 of 13 Old 04-04-2011, 09:40 PM
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Well, we have a horse, Tiger, who is just like that...literally! You go and start rubbing him and he just looks at you, then when you come back he nudges you and brings his head around


Gorgeous horse, BTW

If you want a stable friendship, get a horse.
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post #7 of 13 Old 04-04-2011, 09:43 PM Thread Starter
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lol! Thanks, he's a handsome boy. And I'm 5'2'' and he towers over me and lowers his head a lot so I can give him some love :)
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post #8 of 13 Old 04-04-2011, 09:53 PM
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ya I definitely think he's saying: KEEP ON SCRATCHING! In an adorable and polite way. :)

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post #9 of 13 Old 04-04-2011, 10:08 PM
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I love a horse like that. I mean no dissing to mares, but I find that geldings are often a lot friendlier in the way Roman is. Yoou hsould ask about riding him. He might be an awesome ride. When tbds are good, they are wonderful riding horses.
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post #10 of 13 Old 04-04-2011, 10:08 PM
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Gosh, he reminds me so much of my Texas....he's not on a lead, so if he didn't like what you were doing, he'd walk away. He wants attention/food whatever, and he has a very kind eye. You're just fine in his eyes :)
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