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How do you 'thank' your horse after a ride/walk? Multiple choice!

  • A pet, or hug.

    Votes: 15 88.2%
  • A treat!

    Votes: 12 70.6%
  • I don't.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • A 'goodboy/girl'!

    Votes: 12 70.6%
  • OTHER

    Votes: 1 5.9%
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Everyone (I hope) loves a cute horse, or when horses do cute things. I've seen a lot of cute pictures on other threads, but how does your horse--or one you know-- show affection?
Elvis, a Welsh pony I exercise, will shove his head into my side whenever I'm near him, or after a walk. Especially when I'm brushing his hair! It's a very cute and gentle movement, which usually doesn't get in the way. Phew.

So how does your horse say, ''I love you!'' or ''thanks!''-?
 

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Tough question.


I do not allow my horses to touch me without my permission. For me that is inviting trouble.

I do though, enjoy being with my horses, scratching their itches, giving them treats, etc.

I don't give treats just to give treats, and some horses don't like scratches.

For treats I do carrot stretches at the beginning and end of every ride, so they get their sweets in then and it doubles as a health benefit.

I have some horses who would rather I just not touch them, and others like their itches scratched. Mayzi, my youngster, is a very loving animal and really gets comfort from being touched and scratched. When she is nervous, usually a pat or a scratch calms her down. At the end of the ride I like to scratch her forehead, as she is itchy there pretty often.
 

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Generally I use a wither scratch, or some variation of it, as a reward/reinforcement. It's a simple, easy thing to do, and it's spring here at the moment, so most of the horses are shedding out their coats and quite itchy.

I sometimes use food, but generally in a positive reinforcement training session setting rather than a random reward, and normally with horses that find human contact aversive or just completely unmotivating. Sadly I work with quite a few horses like this, that have come from neglect/abuse situations, and have had little to no positive human contact.

With the horse saying "I love you", I don't particularly buy into that line of thinking *hides under desk*. IMO, horses use us for things that benefit them - he's nudging you because he wants a head scratch, not because he loves you. BUT, in cuteness terms, I know horses that will present their withers for scratches, etc.
 

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My horse is not into cuddles, and VERY into food, so much so that I have to be careful not to handfeed him treats as he will agresssively demand more. His way of showing that he likes me is that he listens to me, is tuned in to what i ask him while riding or leading him, and welcomes me with his ears up when I arrive. He will also whinny when I leave, but thats more of a 'mom you forgot I need more treats, com back here' than an 'I love you mom dont leave me' lol. He doesnt really show affection, but I think he enjoys working with me, as he tries really hard for me!

I reward him with a pat (like stroking, not a slap) on the neck, and lots of soft and low 'goooooood boy' when he's doing something thats difficult for him right. He also gets to share my apple after our rides, and sometimes I handgraze him for a bit. And he gets a flake or two of hay once he's back in his stall because he needs more weight anyway.

All feed and treats go in his feedbucket (Except the hay, that goes on the ground) to keep him respectful of my space.
 

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I use treats for very specific goals and rewards, and rarely.

I use release and praise for training rewards -- the praise is to tell the horse "yes, you guessed right and did it correctly, good job!" to reinforce what I am trying to communicate. My horse is not much for petting really. Sometimes she likes scritching in specific places.

I am very fond of my horse, and she does look to me for certain things like reassurance, guidance, and breakfast. But she's not a dog. Which is good because she won't fit under my bed, much less on top.
 

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I am very fond of my horse, and she does look to me for certain things like reassurance, guidance, and breakfast. But she's not a dog. Which is good because she won't fit under my bed, much less on top.
Yeah she will xD

 

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Oddly, my very extroverted horse Harley doesn't really come to me for attention. He only cares if I have food or something new he has to check out. At night though, after I feed him and blanket him, I always give his head a big hug so he's started looking for it. He will turn his head towards me expectantly when I come into his stall and let me hug his head.

Now Kodak, my shy, introverted mare, she's the one who comes to me for scratches. Mostly when I'm cleaning out the manure out of the paddock in the evening and she's had her food and is just hanging out. She walks over to me and starts smelling everything - the muck bucket, the manure fork. She casually makes her way closer and closer to me. Lately, she's even taken to putting her nostrils up against me and smelling me. This is new - she would never smell me before, not even when I had my hand stretched out towards her. So I let her. Then I start scratching her neck, her ears, her poll. She was very head shy when she came so I try to touch her head a lot. When I stop, she moves her head very close to mine like she's asking for more. She never touches me, and if I ignore her because I have too much work to do, she just stands there and watches me quietly, but I often put my tools down and give her some all-over scratches because we're still bonding and I want her to like being touched everywhere. It makes me happy that she is seeking this out too.
 

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My older geldings get treats after I'm done working with them - but I make them do stretches for them. My oldest gelding also really likes being scratched, so when I groom him I always give him extra scratches where he likes them.

My 3 yo is very nippy, so I never hand-feed her treats. I give her scratches and will stroke her forehead (she seems to like that) to praise her. She does get treats, but they are fed on the ground and not by hand.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Tough question.
1) I do not allow my horses to touch me without my permission. For me that is inviting trouble.
2) I do though, enjoy being with my horses, scratching their itches, giving them treats, etc.
I don't give treats just to give treats, and some horses don't like scratches.
For treats I do carrot stretches at the beginning and end of every ride, so they get their sweets in then and it doubles as a health benefit.
3) I have some horses who would rather I just not touch them, and others like their itches scratched. Mayzi, my youngster, is a very loving animal and really gets comfort from being touched and scratched. When she is nervous, usually a pat or a scratch calms her down. At the end of the ride I like to scratch her forehead, as she is itchy there pretty often
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1) I think this is actually smart, touching without permission can cause trouble. I can especially see it being true in the case of a large horse, or a show horse.
I guess it might depend? I'm not an experienced horseman or whatever, but that gesture is often to show affection between friends, and I feel like shoving him away after exercise--when it's not a problem--would be unnecessary. Again, I could be totally and completely wrong!
I did actually train him to stop 'love-nipping' people's jackets. That was a good choice.

2) I don't give treats around freely, either. Especially if they did anything pushy to get it. It they see me giving a treat to someone who deserved it, and start nudging and being annoying, I will not give them one. Most have stopped begging. :p

3) And that's totally true, too! The barn owner's Quarter mare I ride, Ellie, hates touches, whereas Elvis loves them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
With the horse saying "I love you", I don't particularly buy into that line of thinking *hides under desk*. IMO, horses use us for things that benefit them - he's nudging you because he wants a head scratch, not because he loves you. BUT, in cuteness terms, I know horses that will present their withers for scratches, etc.
I don't mean to create an argument, but I don't really agree with that. I'd love to discuss this over messages? :D
 

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Redz likes to rub his head on me, and he will give me little kisses. It's so cute. :D He knows how to 'kiss' on command too. All I have to do is put my face up to him and tap my cheek! :)
I do give him treats almost every ride. His favorite is carrots.
I also make him stretch by making him 'bow', and I stretch his neck by making him 'hug' me on each side.

Another thing that I think is actually adorable, is that he has no teeth. He had dental issues awhile back & had to get them pulled. :/ So he can't nip me even if he tried. LOL! I think it's cute though, I love him to pieces!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Redz likes to rub his head on me, and he will give me little kisses. It's so cute. :D He knows how to 'kiss' on command too. All I have to do is put my face up to him and tap my cheek! :)
I do give him treats almost every ride. His favorite is carrots.
I also make him stretch by making him 'bow', and I stretch his neck by making him 'hug' me on each side.

Another thing that I think is actually adorable, is that he has no teeth. He had dental issues awhile back & had to get them pulled. :/ So he can't nip me even if he tried. LOL! I think it's cute though, I love him to pieces!
Aww, so cute! Have any pictures of the little boop?
 

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Trouble gets a scratch, and a good boy. He gets pushy over treats so I rarely give them.

Spirit on the other hand, hates any kind of affection and will snap at you or pin her ears it you let her. We've got the snapping under control but I just don't pet her. I reward her by leaving her be and not getting after her. Pressure and release. She also gets peppermints, which she lives for. She isn't pushy or nippy so she gets them whenever I'm in the barn or in the pasture. She just takes it and goes away to do her thing.
 

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My horses get a treat when I want to reward them for good behavior. Did y'all know that the riders of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna have treats in their coattails? I think if it is ok for the Lipizzans to get treats, it is ok for mine. If they get nippy they get corrected.

Affection? Yes, my horses do give me affection. The two older ones were my youngest kids horses and I didn't fool with them much, more just supervised what the kids were doing. Now that I am the one caring for them, I can see their sweet personalities.

Dreamer, the 26 going on 27 yr old, calls to me in the stall and will come to me when I whistle, at a canter if he can manage it. If I leave him in the cross-ties to go do something, he calls out to me. He makes it clear that his favorite place is with me. He never did this before with my youngest, and I like it. I had another horse very similar who was my heart horse.

The other thing he does which is so cute is he pulls up one of his front feet tight if he is really happy. He does this when I come in his stall with food. He does this when getting a bath on a hot day. He does this when he is itchy in the spring and fall and I am currying him vigorously. He does this when he is happy :apple:

Sassy, my 21 going on 22 yr old, comes to me when I call. This may not sound like much, but considering she has always been hard to catch...and still is with others...

The other thing she does is give me hugs. When I groom, pet, or hug her neck, she will sigh and gently lay her head on my shoulder. She also watches me constantly, but doesn't call out as much as Dreamer does. She whinnies in a very ladylike manor; just enough, lol.

My Rocky gelding, was very stand offish when I purchased him. He didn't care for petting at all and turned his face away when approached. Five years later and he LOVES attention. He can get rather pushy at times because he is young and medium-hot, but I just correct him. He tries really hard to do the right thing and only needs a soft correction. He also whinnies to me and gets excited in the gelding way (if you know what I mean) when I am grooming him.

This may not equal love/affection in some people's mind, but I can feel their love for me. They make their desire to be around me very clear through their actions.

They respect me, but I do not buy into the theory that "invading my space" in a calm manor is wrong. I want my horses to see me as the one they come to with problems or needing comfort. After all, I am their leader :smile:
 
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