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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a horse who has not had any experience with anything and I try to pet her muzzle and she throw her head and looks away. :-(
 
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Leave her mouth alone. She doesn't like it and most of us will tell you to not handle the mouth at all, as that leads to biting, and nipping.

Horse is telling you she doesn't like it, which 99% of the horses will also tell you.

And to continue to do it will set horse up to see you as aggravating to have around.

Bitting, de-worming and the like are far different from a human just bothering horse.

You may also be doing other things that are aggravating, and exacerbating this too.
 

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well, if my horse doesn't want me to touch a part of her body, then guess what becomes my favorite part to pet... A vet is going to eventually have to check her mouth, a kid is going to try to pet her, start desensitization on her mouth and nose. pressure and retreat...work on it a little a day.

it will not lead to biting if you don't let it, or head shy, or any other silly thing if you approach it right.

good luck
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
thank you so much Sorral3 I will def be doing that and working with her :)
 

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I agree with Palomine. Yes you should be able to handle her mouth *if you need to* and should work on that in a training capacity. But she doesn't like it and you should also respect that. Don't pester her.
 

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I agree with Palomine. Yes you should be able to handle her mouth *if you need to* and should work on that in a training capacity. But she doesn't like it and you should also respect that. Don't pester her.
Ok, if the horse doesn't like being touched somewhere, then it is pestering....ok....

my horse did not want a saddle on her until I worked with her....so am I pestering her when I ride? Should I stop saddling her....Hell No. The horse is a subordinate animal, I will do what I want, when I want as long as I want or she is going to work her butt off. I really don't care if I am pestering or bugging her. She either accepts it or works hard, or goes to one of the auctions that I don't care who buys her. Touchy feely attitudes with horses equals poor mannered critters that I WILL NOT TIPTOE AROUND. I spend top dollar for feed, I use the best shoer I can find, I don't hesitate to call a vet if needed, get a second opinion on training if I am unsure, but I will not tolerate a 1200 lb animal telling me what I can or cant do.
 

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If it were me, I'd put a halter and lead on the horse and start with some ground work & desensitizing, completely ignoring the nose/mouth. When she starts thinking and starting to be relaxed I would put my hand up to the place (in the air) where she starts being uncomfortable, and just start waving my hand around, keeping her head towards me (one hand holding on to the halter, and the other desensitizing) back off when she relaxes and rub her on the neck...

Repeat over and over getting closer and closer each time, until you can completely move your hand around her face/moth without getting a reaction. I would quit there if she was really bad, if she wasn't I might hold my hand still for a second by the place she doesn't like then take it away and rub her face, then put it still right on her nose for a split second then take it away (making sure to take it away before she has time to react). If she does react just keep your hand there best as possible until she relaxes or holds still for 10sec. or so.. The more times she can't get away with something the easier it will get.

My 2yr old has been having the same problems, but she's been getting better and better each day. I will say she had one bad episode, but when she didn't win it was kind of a break through for us, everything calmed down after. I've made it a habit that everytime I am with her I'll do a brief session as I know that's her bad spot, I'll rub her briefly, but long enough to know she won't react... Before haltering, after haltering, before feeding her, after feeding her (I have to bring her in to eat so that the other horses won't bully her), before bridling after bridling, etc. etc. Every opportunity I get I take and use it as a teaching spell... Anyway hope this helps.
 

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Ok, if the horse doesn't like being touched somewhere, then it is pestering....ok....

my horse did not want a saddle on her until I worked with her....so am I pestering her when I ride? Should I stop saddling her....Hell No. The horse is a subordinate animal, I will do what I want, when I want as long as I want or she is going to work her butt off. I really don't care if I am pestering or bugging her. She either accepts it or works hard, or goes to one of the auctions that I don't care who buys her. Touchy feely attitudes with horses equals poor mannered critters that I WILL NOT TIPTOE AROUND. I spend top dollar for feed, I use the best shoer I can find, I don't hesitate to call a vet if needed, get a second opinion on training if I am unsure, but I will not tolerate a 1200 lb animal telling me what I can or cant do.
I agree with you. I didn't say we need to do whatever the horse wants. The horse should be able to be touched anywhere at any time. I'm simply saying that respect is mutual. If the horse doesn't like it's face touched, by all means get it used to having its faced touched and be able to handle it... and then leave it alone. There is no need to push the buttons, *for no reason*. Training needs to happen, safe handling needs to happen, pestering does not.

I am simply saying respect needs to be mutual. Pestering (and no I'm not saying "putting the saddle on" or anything silly) is not part of training, and imo is a cause for "touchy feely attitudes". I guess you got the wrong impression of what I meant by pestering..
 

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I really don't care if I am pestering a horse. They get 18-24 hours a day to be left alone. When I step into a corral, they are on my time, and will have to put up with anything I want....that is what they get for being lower on the food chain. I don't know if I respect a horse. I respect my wife, my boss, and most American veterans, I would not put an animal on the same level. They are livestock that I care for to get a use out of or make a profit from. Yes, riding and training are fun, roping and working cattle are too, but I don't form any tight emotional bond. I see horses for what they are, livestock... And will touch my horse's month weather she likes it or not.
 

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Meh, I don't think you're following me. Obviously you aren't going to stand there and poke her with a stick because you can, I'm just saying the same with playing with her mouth.

Agree to disagree on what you said though. I think pretty much anything/one you expect to give you respect deserves respect of their own and that ultimately they are the same. Shrug. To each their own. I think we have the same basic line of thought and just aren't communicating well :)
 

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Haven't read all replies, but no. 1 if you have a horse who is unhandled, don't go for the nose - or other 'difficult' bits. Yet, Sorral. Yes, I would call it 'pestering' if the horse & human are new to eachother and both inexperienced/uneducated. I'd develop your relationship & understanding with the horse a bit first. Not knowing anything about you OP, I'm guessing that you're inexperienced, so especially if you also have an uneducated horse, I suggest you find yourself a good trainer or someone experienced to help you.
 

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I have a horse who has not had any experience with anything and I try to pet her muzzle and she throw her head and looks away. :-(
I think the key word here is pet. Usually, when I think of petting, I think of a horse that is free to move into or away from touch. That to me is different from handling, where we train the horse to stand still and calm and accept our touch for the purposes of grooming, tacking, and directing from the ground and the saddle.

Therefore, what Palomine and Yogiwick were responding to is the OP's expectation that the horse would like to be petted on the head and muzzle. Just from the way the post is worded, I think the OP is new to horses and needs some very basic handling advice.

First, to horses, reaching out and touching their head and muzzle is not pleasant. Only horses who have been handled a lot by people are comfortable with it. Horses approach each other at the withers. To start with your horse, reach toward the withers first to scratch softly and see how he/she responds to that. Don't overdo it. Stop and let the horse move away from your touch or stay there. Move away, looking down or away from the horse after a brief scratching and see if the horse follows you with his eye.

To work on desensitizing the horse to touching the head and muzzle, I would start with the horse on halter and lead and practice the head down cue. Pull down on the lead and keep pulling gently until you feel the horse move its head down. As soon as you feel even the slightest movement (or even the thought of movement) down, release. Wait 5 seconds, then start the process again. As the horse improves, you can increase your expectations (how low, how long) until the horse will keep its head down as low and as long as you want.

From there, you can start the same process with touching different parts of the head, but I find once you can get horse to put its head down on cue, and control the head that way, any other handling of the head just follows very easily.
 

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Here's a great video that might help you. While he's showing how to worm a difficult horse, the techniques are the same. The key is to not take your hand off the head/mouth when the fussing starts. The hand only goes away when the horse is calm. Look for tiny signs of trying to do the right thing for you and reward them.
 

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When my horses have objected to being touched in a certain way I work it into our normal handling routine. No drama, no tension build up... I just casually do it as I'm going about my business. I can touch my gelding all over, play with his ears, run a finger into his nostril, flap his lips, look at his teeth back to the molars, pick up feet, clean sheath, brush belly and inside the legs... pretty much touch him however I like because I don't treat it like a game or like any big deal. If there's a trouble spot I work on it until I get the response I want, then I praise and move on.
 

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Absolutely^^ I never make a big deal of it, just kind of do what I normally do with a couple swipes over the touchy spots, the first couple times can be interesting, but after the break through it's just maintaining... Seems to be working so far for me.
 
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