Pet vs Pat - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 38 Old 04-12-2019, 07:21 PM
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Ha ha. I used to have a tomcat when I was a kid that I would pick up by the tail. Before I got him up to my chest he would always be purring loudly. And of course he got a lot of petting and hugging.


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post #12 of 38 Old 04-13-2019, 01:25 AM
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I pet, rub or scratch. I don't like to desensitize them to pats because a smack on the shoulder or butt are for discipline and for my hand's sake I'd rather a light smack work.
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post #13 of 38 Old 04-13-2019, 08:13 AM
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My horses like to be petted on the face but they are different from each other. All of them like me to run my hand over the top of their eyes and down their cheek. Laela likes for me to scratch under her jaw bones. I just maul Novia's face and she loves it but I've been doing that to her since she was a baby so she's used to it. Star is ok with me running my hand down her nose with the growth of the hair, she doesn't like rubs on her face.
I don't pat my horses either, they much prefer a pet on the neck or a scratch on the butt.

When I see competition riders smacking their horses on the neck with glee, it reminds me of football players smacking each other on the butt. It's weird to me but I accept it as something they do in their excitement of a good job. I bet the horse would appreciate some other gesture of a good job other than a smack on the neck.

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post #14 of 38 Old 04-13-2019, 09:09 AM
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I don't ever pat my horses I stroke them or scratch them. My mare loves a good scratch behind her ears, along with her chin, and along her rump. She also likes a nice stroke on her forehead and withers. Our gelding I have discovered likes a nice gentle stroke along his mane and withers and a soft stroke in s circular motion on his forehead he does not care for much more than that though. I have seen some people really manhandle there horses faces and they really don't like it but the person just does not pay attention. Many of the things we do with our horses are really more for our reward or pleasure than the horse. You really have to pay attention to your horse to see if they are just tolerating what you're doing as praise or if they really like it.
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post #15 of 38 Old 04-13-2019, 09:20 AM
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Reiterating what everyone has said, every horse (just like every person) is different. Dallas loves to have his face rubbed like you might take the hair off. Jasper doesn't like anyone going near his face, but he loves a good stroke-n-scratch on the neck. Nugget just about falls asleep getting groomed. Toby likes to have his face scratched after getting his bridle off, and loves a good butt scratch (like, right at the base of the tail). I do pat his neck when he does well, but also rub his neck or, usually toward the end of the session when stretching, lean over and scratch between his ears from the saddle.



I do think a soft pat is different than giving them a swat to the shoulder or butt, and they know it's different, or at least most of them do. I think a lot of the been-there-done-that-lesson/trail horses in particular are sort of aware that we're kind of strange and they meet us halfway.
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post #16 of 38 Old 04-13-2019, 09:28 AM
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My horse likes her eyes rubbed but not anywhere else on her head unless her sweaty bridle just came off and the bases of her ears need rubbing. She like her withers scritched and under her tail, and that's about it. She doesn't enjoy being slapped. If I do it, it's probably because I am cross with her.

I find those people (often top competitors) who whack their horses' necks after a successful jumping round or something to be a distasteful spectacle. Although probably the horse is so amped up they don't notice it that much.
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post #17 of 38 Old 04-13-2019, 02:45 PM
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I agree with @Avna .



"I find those people (often top competitors) who whack their horses' necks after a successful jumping round or something to be a distasteful spectacle. Although probably the horse is so amped up they don't notice it that much."


The horse that is consistently patted, even loudly, if it is associated with the completion of a task and the release of pressure, the cessation of work, or the gift of a treat learns that the 'pat' is a good thing because it accompanies other good things.


I pat my hrose sometimes, when grooming him, just to see the dust come up . "Ol' Pigpen" , I say. He may flinch a tiny bit, but I see it as part of the entire treatment of having him able to tolerate me doing just about ANYTHING to him while grooming him. He needs to be ok with me moving around him, slowly and sudden short movements. I'm not saying I'd whale on his face, but I want him to be ok with a friendly smack on his round butt, or me reaching under his belly with the fork to pick up poo, or dragging my jacket over his withers, . . . you name it. He must tolerate my holding his head for a bit, or leaning on him, or ruffling his mane. So, patting him affectionately might not be pleasurable to him, but if it's torture, then he needs work to learn that it's ok.
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post #18 of 38 Old 04-13-2019, 11:10 PM
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I like to give my horse either a rub, scratch, or a light pat to praise him. Iíve never done the over exaggerated big pats that too competitors do. I think he appreciates the scratches, rubs, and light pats, especially after a ride or during a grooming session.


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post #19 of 38 Old 04-19-2019, 11:24 AM
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I rub or pat as it pleases me, at times I pat others I rub the horses respond to both with a tail swish.
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post #20 of 38 Old 04-19-2019, 11:30 AM
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Depends on the situation. If I'm on the ground, always a pet/scratch/rub, usually on his neck, shoulders, or jaw. I know another horse who will lay his head on my shoulder and wait for me to reach my arm around him and pet the other side of his face.

If I'm riding and able to, I always reward with a release of pressure and a nice stroke on the neck. But if I'm cantering along, sometimes it's more of a gentle pat, because it's difficult to lean forward, stroke, and steer. :'D
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