Originally Posted by Percivaldurham View Post
What I meant to ask was, horses do not like to be looked at directly?
I see this has been answered, and I'll concur with the assessment. So far, I've found ours, and we have 7 of all ages, from 6 months to 22ish, do not like it. For one, Trigger, he demanded that you look him in the eyes but he was also an emotional trainwreck. NOT being able to see your eyes would cause a trembling meltdown for a while. I didn't know any better and thought like a dog, he was challenging me by going out of his way to literally look me in the eyes. He would do my hubs that way too, so it wasn't just me. A punchy friend of ours told us to quit - that he's insecure and probably learned to gauge intent by reading the eyes and facial expressions. IDK about that last part, but I quit after that and unless we're in a good, calm place, I don't usually look him right in the eyes. I keep my gaze only slightly averted. When I do, it's very briefly.
I still don't wear sunglasses around him or any of them now because of his reaction to the sunglasses when we first got him. He would spaz right out and it may well be because he couldn't read our expressions correctly. It became a balance of how much to let him look and see vs. keeping the eyes averted. LOL We've found our happy medium.
Anyway - The logic is the 'stare down' is a predator trait. Dogs and cats use it to show dominance among each other, large predators will stalk prey while staring it down.
Horses have been food for predators for millions of years. They've evolved to feel uncomfortable when being looked in the eyes - that's stalking predator behavior.
TO ME.... your boy may be flirting with you. It's hard to know without seeing it first hand. But.
It sounds like a shy, flirty greeting and an invitation to follow him. Is he playful when he retreats or cautious?
Trigger and I have our own greeting ritual... he shyly touches his nose to the back of my hand, which I hold extended to him, low, and relaxed, then gently, barely there stroke it down his face from eye-level to the end of his nose, then he's gone... he takes two or three steps back - I follow. He stops, I scrub his forehead, he'll lower his head, relax, then I back up two or three steps... and he follows. It's almost a dance.
Once that ritual has concluded, I can then drape a catch rope over his neck and walk away with him following. Sometimes I don't have to hold the rope. He goes where I go, stops when I stop.
When he's feeling saucy and flirty, he initiates the greeting ritual, then prances off and if I let him carry on, he'll show off his flashy high stepping trot and his gallop. It's hard to shut him down when he's showing off though. Man I love watching it. If I need to shut it down,. I can usually shussh him with arms in the air like I'm trying to drive him away and he'll stop, turn and give me two eyes, head up, ears pricked forward, and he'll wait for me to walk up to him. I've not yet figured out what he's thinking when we do either of these two greeting rituals, but it works for us, so I try to not over analyze it. LOL
Let me ask you this... when he moves away from you, is he giving you a side-eye/one eye, or two? I find that unless Trigger is giving me two eyes, there's no touching him. He has to switch his brain function to the two eyes thought process or it's pointless to pursue him.