How to Scratch a Horse - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 04-06-2009, 04:52 PM Thread Starter
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How to Scratch a Horse

By Rebecca Boardman, eHow Editor
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Learning how to properly scratch your horse is one of the best training tools you can have. A horse is a body oriented animal, so speaking to it through body language is the best way to communicate.


Difficulty: Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • The ability to get dirty and not care
Scratching your horse

Step 11
Rewarding a horse by giving him a good scratch is the best training tool you can use. Scratching is how horses communicate happiness and contentment in the wild, and by using this natural body language, you will communicate directly with your horse in a better way than voice or training equipment alone.
Step 22
The best place to scratch your horse is where the withers meet the neck. Naturally, this is an area a horse cannot reach itself, so it is an area that is like the middle of the human back. Anything that can access it and give it a good scratching is welcome and will be sought after. So using this area as a training tool by giving the horse a reward scratching is just good sense.
Step 33
Another spot is along the backbone, but be cautious. The backbone can be sensitive, so scratch more gently and watch your horses reaction. If he stretches out and wiggles his upper lip, he is enjoying it and you should continue.
Step 44
Scratching down on the chest, between the front legs, is another great spot. Again, be cautious, as in the wild, a horse will nip at another horse in the chest when he wants to play, so make sure your horse knows you are going to touch him there for scratching purposes. Watch his reaction and make sure you are ready to move if he nips at you.
Step 55
When you are done riding, and have removed the bridle, you can reward the horse by giving it a good rubbing and scratching behind his ears, and in the places the bridle rested against. Just be careful you do not allow him to rub his head on you, as that will become a habit and soon he will be knocking you off your feet.

I am concerned for the security of our great Nation; not so much because of any threat from without, but because of the insidious forces working from within. Douglas MacArthur
RegalCharm is offline  
post #2 of 9 Old 04-06-2009, 07:43 PM
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I am also a firm believer in scratching. My horses love it and it is great for bonding. My horse will stop eating to get a neck scratch. He absolutely loves it when I dig my nails in along his crest.

Someone stole my %&#*@&% Carrot!
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post #3 of 9 Old 04-06-2009, 08:05 PM
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Heehee, I love giving horses a good scratch.
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post #4 of 9 Old 04-06-2009, 09:43 PM
Green Broke
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I think I would have a revolt on my hands if I didn't give my horses a good scratch every day.

All I pay my psychiatrist is cost of feed and hay, and he'll listen to me any day!

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post #5 of 9 Old 04-07-2009, 10:36 AM
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That is really neat. Thanks for the article!

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord. 'Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future'" ~ Jeremiah 29:11

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post #6 of 9 Old 04-07-2009, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Cat View Post
I think I would have a revolt on my hands if I didn't give my horses a good scratch every day.
You and me both Cat. LOL

One thing that really bothers me is when I see people giving their horses a real good smack as praise. I've never understood that. Jeepers they can feel a fly on their butt and now they've just done a clear round of jumping and your smacking them on the neck.......
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post #7 of 9 Old 04-07-2009, 06:10 PM
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I don't "Smack", but I do pet, kinda like petting a dog. More of a pat, with me saying "thank you". When my kids get off the horses, they go to the head, fuss them & say "thank you".

I try to scratch at the withers, but my mustang usually backs away. If I get him along the mane behind the ear, he's like putty in my hands. If I actually scratch in the ear.....that's all she wrote! He'd stand there for hours if I had the strength! lol

Horses are God's apology for men.
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post #8 of 9 Old 04-07-2009, 07:40 PM
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Funny, many of the places she said to scratch, a mare would be upset if you scratched them there. I notice she says "he" so maybe its a gelding/stallion itchy spots article.
My mare hates getting scratched at the wither/neck area. She also hates the chest area being scratched.
Every mare I own wants to have their butts scratched. Its so embarrassing to be out with them in the pasture. Every one of them will walk up and after the initial greeting, turn their butts to me for a good scratching.
SpdDrv likes this.

"Until one has loved an animal, part of one's soul remains unawakened..."
- Anatole France
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post #9 of 9 Old 04-07-2009, 08:13 PM
Green Broke
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I haven't found a place yet that both horses don't like to be scratched. T's eyes close and Walka moves towards me if I stop as if to say "hey don't stop".

I think scratching and rubbing are ways to help build a relationship with a horse and show affection.

Wish someone would scratch and rub me!!!!
Walkamile is offline  

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