Opinions on head rubbing (horses on people)

Moggy in Manolos

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What are your thoughts on a horse doing this alot (Not relating to my horse btw)

Personally I see it as rather cheeky and a bit disrespectful to their handler.
A little rub is one thing but full on continual rubbing I personally see as the horse treating you as lower in the pecking order if you know what I mean. I will not allow more than the tiny odd rub on me, even then its flipping rare as I do not tend to let my mare do it tbh

Well that's my personal opinion, would be interested to hear yours.....

So, over to you, whats your thoughts on this?

:D
 

Snowysadude

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Agree with you, I hate it! My boy wouldnt dare on me (although he tried today for the first time on my friend and nearly knocked her over which I have to admit I laughed at). But being such a big horse I cant afford for him to push on me, he would send me flying - so good thing he doesnt try it!
 

horseandshoes77

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county durham
well i let my mare rub on me for a scratch i often stand and rub her ears etc n she will rub against me however she only does this when we are grooming etc, she never tries it anyother time !
 

RolyPolyPony

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I hate it! My boy used to do it all the time when i first got him, it used to knock me off balance he would do it that hard. He's learning though that i just about tolerate a gentle rub but that's it.
 

Lurky McLurker

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My horse has always loved a good head-rub - once he used my back as a forehead scratching post so vigorously that my bra came unhooked! I always found it funny, but then I read a bit about it and realised that maybe I shouldn't be letting him push me around like that so now I've stopped letting him do it. If he tries, I gently push him away and then give him a nice rub on the forehead with my hand so that he still gets a scratch, but it's on my terms. Then again, even if I did still let him do it I don't think it would do much harm because he is the most low-ranking, submissive horse I've ever met and I can't imagine him ever getting bargy or dominant with me, but I don't like to take chances with such a big strong animal!
 

Enfys

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Bad manners.

It is two way thing though, the horse knows he shouldn't but has an itchy head, so it's my lookout if I don't stop him doing it, give him a scratch, or at least get out of the way.
 
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I wouldn't let mine do it; it shows the horse has no respect whatever for the handler and just regards humans as a rubbing post! And what happens on the ground will translate into ridden work, its bound to.

If mine started doing it, I'd go right back to groundwork, primarily about reminding him that I'm the "herd leader" and start off by setting boundaries about space, then I'd progress to moving feet, backing up, etc etc.

Head rubbing might be thought to be an endearing trait; until the horse gets bolshy and starts banging his head into people and knocking them down. Ultimately, a horse that doesn't respect humans can get hard to handle borderline downright dangerous, and unless things like this are checked at an early stage its just asking for trouble IME.
 

bigboyrocky

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Only time i let my boy do it is when im poo picking the feild or filling up water etc.. i do think its rude, but thats his chill out time, and we play games in the field :p but no, when he has bridle on/in the stable/being handled etc, big no no!
 

wellsat

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I think its disrespectful and don't tolerate it. If they want to scratch they can do it on the stable door or wall. They're too big to be pushing me around like that.
 

dibbin

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Mine does it after he's been ridden, allowed a little rub (I usually put my hand up and rub his face with that) but not the full on pushing and shoving!
 

babymare

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never allow it as its dangerous rude and totally at of order- bits getting stuck in clothing etc buckle wounds to face - and I cringed when see ppl letting horses do it but always give my 2 a good scratch of head with my hand . Murphy hates his ears being touched but loves a good scratch with my fingers lol
 

4leggedfurries

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I'm the odd one out, I let my boy have a good old head scratch on my back when he's out in the field. He hasnt got hands to do it him self so I just let him. This doesnt mean he has any less respect for me, he knows his place and never puts a foot wrong, if I tell him to stop he does. Mind you though the only time he does it is when he is in the field, never in the stable or when he's tacked up. The one I do object to try have a scratch is the shetland as its his bum he loves to scratch and would literally sit on me to do it. I leave the roller in the field for him.
 

Cedars

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I wont tolerate full on, knocking you sideways head rubs, however I dont mind if they just knock in to me briefly to say "aaaah mummy itchy here!". I will however brace myself against rubbing if they just want to rub against my hand and I can spend HOURS itching Puzzle all over. xxxx
 

Moggy in Manolos

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Each to their own, but personally it doesn't bother me. I often interact with my horses and give them a rub and a scratch.
Giving them a rub and a scratch is different to what I am talking about here,unless I have misunderstood your post ofcourse. I am talking about a horse who is pushing you all over the shop rubbing their head on you, perhaps I was not clear enough, but anyway...each to their own as you say
 

redcascade

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Hate it. Red gets a smack for it, I find it extremely rude, I will not have any horse rub its head on me and Red isn't allowed to do it to anyone at all. My mum lets him do it :rolleyes: I tell her off for it too cos then he just does it to me later!
 

Umbongo

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Each to their own, but personally it doesn't bother me. I often interact with my horses and give them a rub and a scratch.
So do I and I don't mind the little nudges, but this is different to having a horse rub it's head on you and push you around everywhere...normally as soon as you get off. I hate it and it is a sign of disrespect. Sadly I ride a lot of horses for people who do this to me...I can't stop it much as the owners let them walk all over them :(
 

NeedNewHorse

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My horse rubs her head on me all the time and i allow it and even encourage it. When she was out 24/7 in summer and had nothing to rub her head on (this was when she was out alone in a paddock) and wanted a good headscratch, I just thought why not! And i still do now, I do allow it. She is fantastic to handle - I actually give her treats pretty much all the time too. Never had she bitten me, nuzzled for treats or put her ears back or is a pain in anyway to handle, so I just cannot see the problem. If she wants a scratch, then I am more than happy to oblige her!!
 

shoo

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All three of mine do it, I have no problem with them rubbing, I see it as a way of the horses showing they like me :)
 

Kokopelli

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I think ots damm rude to be completly honest, no horse of mine would dare do it to me, but when I deal with horse that does it they won't do it for long.

I think its crazy that owners let there horses do it!
 

lisab

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Oh! Mine has always done this. As soon as I get off and he would knock me off my feet if I let him. And I had to change his bit because it was a full cheek snaffle and it got caught up in my hat strap once and nearly knocked me off my feet. I didn't realise that it was the height of disrespect and bad manners. Oh!!! I am quite shocked at how this is absolutely not allowed (not shocked in a mardy way but genuinely surprised).

Erm - I've had him 8 years now. How do I stop him doing it without falling out with him every single day?
 

polopony

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When I first got my boy i was a bit of a push over and let him do it, thinking it was him being affectionate. But then he started to do it harder and I was like right that's enough I love you and everything but i'm the boss DONT EVER DO THAT EVER AGAIN!!! he doesn't do it anymore, he tends to try and nuzzle into me instead, especially when he's in trouble :p :D
 

Mike007

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Since every horse I have had has felt the need to do this in some way and clearly from all the posts ,it is not abnormal. HOW CAN IT BE RUDE, the horse is behaving naturaly, curb it a bit if you are frightend,but dont blame the horse.How can a natural equine reaction be rude or disrespectfull.No wonder so many horses have hang ups and problems.
 

Tinypony

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I have a pony that was in a sorry and nervous state when I got him. The only times he rubs his head on me are when he's very anxious. So, I don't react in a big way or "make sure he'll never do it again", because in his case it's a displacement behaviour and shows that his stress levels are high. I just push his nose away and see if I can do anything to settle him down.
Very easy to label a behaviour "disrespectful", but in reality there can be many reasons. It might be that the horse is used to pushing people around, it may simply be that their head itches. I don't let a horse beat me up with head rubbing, but if I take the bridle off after a great ride and they are obviously itchy, I put my hand out and brace so that they can rub on my hand.
 

shoo

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Since every horse I have had has felt the need to do this in some way and clearly from all the posts ,it is not abnormal. HOW CAN IT BE RUDE, the horse is behaving naturaly, curb it a bit if you are frightend,but dont blame the horse.How can a natural equine reaction be rude or disrespectfull.No wonder so many horses have hang ups and problems.
I agree :)
 

Trinity Fox

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12 April 2010
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I allow all of mine to rub on me or my back none of them are rude or bargy its a natural thing esp if they are sweaty,i wouldnt get my knickers in a twist about it they are only horses i think people read too much in to every aspect of horses behaviour nowadays.

All my horses respect me they do what is asked of them and never really take the p i can even feed them their hard feed in buckets in the field togethor and they stay at their own feed if i stand with them so see me as head of the herd so i dont see a bit of rubbing as harmful and it certainly hasnt made them behave in a disrespectful way.

I have to say i am not one of these people who expect horses to stand stock still and never try to interact with me.
 
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