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post #31 of 38 Old 04-22-2019, 05:32 PM
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I admit I do both, I dont pat hard but I think I started doing it after working at the vet hospital, sometimes while the vet was working on a specific area or if the horse is a little needle shy we would pat different areas to draw their attention to what we are doing as opposed to what the vet was doing.
When I ride I feel like I start with a pat and go into a scratch or rub. 🤷‍♀️
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post #32 of 38 Old 04-22-2019, 06:44 PM
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I am going to have to look into it a little more, but I have had several people tell me that someone ran a study on this with dead broke lesson horses, competition horses, and young barely-been-touched horses and all 3 of them showed signs of distress even if they were ever so slight when they were getting patted. I will try to find the exact article and post it here.

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post #33 of 38 Old 04-22-2019, 07:50 PM
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^Interesting. I would have thought that horses who had been desensitised to it would not be 'distressed' about it, and while not actively enjoying, they could find it reinforcing by association. I wonder how they measured the 'distress'.

But then again, and further to what Hondo & Equilibrium recently said, my mother in law is a 'patter' of people - she likes to slap you on the back & I know full well she means well, so have said nothing, but I still hate it. She used to slap my kids on the back when they were very small, but little kids being 'innocently undiplomatic', my eldest just told her one day, with an upset look, she didn't know what she did wrong, that Grandma was smacking her... then just told her it wasn't very nice, when Grandma explained it wasn't punishment. That put an end to it with the kids, but she still does it to adults - perhaps she doesn't realise others don't like it, because we've never said so.
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post #34 of 38 Old 04-22-2019, 11:04 PM
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If you think about a horse having sensitive enough nerves to feel a fly land on them then think about what a pat might feel like to them.
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post #35 of 38 Old 04-23-2019, 11:18 PM
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Originally Posted by AtokaGhosthorse View Post
I had it put to me likore this once, and it is especially for when in the saddle:

Don't sweep your hand or hands forward in a big motion to slap/pat them on the neck, n have your fingers crooked if intending to scratch them on the neck... That's how predators bring down prey animals, and while most domestic horses are steady enough to not react, you do have the rare few that are nervous by nature.

I have one of those, so when in the saddle, I lean forward casually while running my palm up his neck and give him a good Attaboy Scrub after we've seen a booger in bushes and he maintains, or regains quickly, his composure . He flicks those ears back, I can feel that tension melt out of him and I know he's 'come back to me' rather than stressing about what he thought he might have seen or heard.

On the ground, I look for the scratchy spots and reward generously.

I FINALLY FOUND Trigger's scratchy spot, after searching for almost four years! Found it this weekend... And maybe he's just finally relaxed enough to admit I found it... but it's right at his throat latch, then under his jaw where that gland is located... right in that area. He will just curl right up for that. That's the High Praise Reward all my horses get these days - a deep scrubbing on That Spot, whether it's a butt scratching, or that always itchy girth and belly area, or for AJ, weirdly, her flanks.

I DO catch myself sometimes patting him while I'm on the ground, like after we've gotten back from a ride, and yep. It's when I'm giving myself an Attaboy, but it's not rough or hard - because OW. I know I wouldn't like being slapped on the neck and shoulders by some other enthusiastic companion or acquaintance of mine. LOL :P Gotta work on not pat myself on the back for merely hanging on.

I often scratch my lease horse with my hands crooked, like a claw. You know why? because they take on the shape of a horse's front teeth, and that is what they use to scratch each other, and they do it HARD! So, having my fingers all in a line, crooked so I can apply real pressure, makes it so I can scratch them almost as well as another horse could , with his top, front teeth.
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post #36 of 38 Old 04-23-2019, 11:51 PM
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^Haha! I missed that bit in Atoka's(I realise you are just repeating what you heard Atoka...). Sometimes people overthink the whole 'what's natural' kinda thing! Bit like the attitude 'horses take chunks out of eachother & kick eachother, so you shouldn't be worried about using hard punishment - a puny human can't hurt a horse'. Or 'horses don't ride/give treats to/love on(etc) eachother, so we shouldn't do that either'. Just because things are 'natural' doesn't make them necessarily right or good. Or relevant.

My boy loooves a good scratch on the face, esp after a ride, but he knows he's not allowed to come rub on me. So I often will stand in front of him, hands up like claws, and he knows that's an invitation to walk into them for a rub.
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post #37 of 38 Old 04-24-2019, 09:23 AM
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This is actually something I've never thought about...... I've always just thought about it as reassurance that he's done the right thing, that he's being good.

I remember when a specialty trainer came in to give Justice and I a lesson. She noticed that every time I patted him after a jump he would come down from a canter to a walk. So in his mind, I guess it meant, "Ok I did it, shes happy, now I can stop"

But i don't know. I always pat them on the shoulder when they do the correct thing. If I don't pat Chase and shower him with, "Goooodddddd boyyyyyy" Then he'll stop and turn around until I do.
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post #38 of 38 Old 04-24-2019, 09:47 AM
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Originally Posted by tinyliny View Post
I often scratch my lease horse with my hands crooked, like a claw. You know why? because they take on the shape of a horse's front teeth, and that is what they use to scratch each other, and they do it HARD! So, having my fingers all in a line, crooked so I can apply real pressure, makes it so I can scratch them almost as well as another horse could , with his top, front teeth.

Yeah, I meant the sudden fast sweeping hand in, wide, big movement, fingers spread and crooked like claws type motion. Not the type of scratching I give Trigger on a ride when he's juggled me through some nasty deep mud or didn't spaz out at the Worry Tree. ;)

I wouldn't say it's overthinking... If I did that around Trigger or Peso, my friend's flighty and also hot, reactive horse, they'd flinch or start at the very least - so small, gentle motions with the hands, no big wide fast movement with the arm. That's the difference. This is one of those context and individual horse and circumstance is everything type things.

If I did that around Supes, he wouldn't give a rip. Just... whatever man. I hate this trail riding crap. *muttermuttermutter*

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