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My Join-Up® Experience

Do I let her rub her head on me!?

Hello!

We did our first join up today!! (I'm sure I got some things wrong).
My question is, should I let her rub her head on me? I rubbed her forehead as I was supposed to, but she loves her forehead being scratched so she rubbed me right back.
I've been told this is a sign of her trying to assert her dominance over me - and I can see how that may be correct?
Can anyone tell me if I should let her "rub back"?
Thanks!!

Miriam (Holland&Germany)
Hello! 2014 Cyberhunt winner 100 lessons completed 150 lessons completed 200 lessons completed 250 lessons completed 300 lessons completed 350 lessons completed 400 lessons completed 450 lessons completed 500 lessons completed 550 lessons completed 600 lessons completed

Hi Cherie,
Congratulations on your first Join-up!
You found out, that letting your horses rub her head against you could bring you into trouble, her having so much more strength and weight as you do is one reason. The even more important reason would be that she invades your personal space, no leading mare would let another horse invade her space that way. You might take a brush and clean her head in a way she appreciates, but do not let her use you as a pole to rub herself against.
You want to be her leading mare and have many more wonderful expriences with her.
Keep us posted on how you're doing!
Miriam

Cherie
Hello!

Thanks Miriam :)
I thought as much, but was hoping not because she enjoys it so much! But it is difficult to stand in front of her when she uses my as a scratching pole! And I can definitely see your point about the leading mare. Her and her sister used to rub all over each other, but there was definately a battle for supremecy between the two of them.
Thanks again for your advice, I'll try to keep her off of me when I go out with her today.
Cherie

Miriam (Holland&Germany)
Hello! 2014 Cyberhunt winner 100 lessons completed 150 lessons completed 200 lessons completed 250 lessons completed 300 lessons completed 350 lessons completed 400 lessons completed 450 lessons completed 500 lessons completed 550 lessons completed 600 lessons completed

Hi Cherie,
Of course there is no need to offend her, when she seeks you.
Why don't you work with the Dually halter and establish a clear role for yourself and her, too. When you go out with her, have your brush in your pocket, so you can answer her need rightaway. Trust is the most important when working with and training horses. Keeping yourself in a safe situation gives you the best chance to be able to keep that trust. in both directions!
Have fun and be safe!
Miriam

ellisjill
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If your horse already understands that she cannot invade your space unless you invite her to do so, only; then it is perfectly alright for her to rub her face on you--only if you allow her and she asks or does so in a respectful manner (slow and easy approach, waiting for your response). This is the key...she has to understand that she is allowed at that particular moment to do this and that when you tell her to stop, she understands that she must do so. If she is not respecting your space at all, then no, you should not allow her to rub against you until you get her respect. And yes, a lead mare will allow another horse to invade her space as long as it does it in a respectful manner and with her permission. To understand this, spend some time watching horses in a herd..you will begin to see how they use their body language to communicate--lots of which is very subtle. But it is a great lesson and it will help you to understand and use similar body language to communicate with your horse.

Kim
Please upload your photo 100 lessons completed 150 lessons completed

I like the above comment. Additionally, I have taught my horses the word "gentle." They know that when I allow them to rub and say "gentle" that they may rub, but not so hard as to knock me off balance. Although voice commands may not be natural to horses, they can certainly learn them and they can be quite useful.

Kicki -- Sweden
Hello! 100 lessons completed 150 lessons completed 200 lessons completed 250 lessons completed 300 lessons completed 350 lessons completed 400 lessons completed 450 lessons completed 500 lessons completed 550 lessons completed 600 lessons completed

Kim,
I have done the same with my older mare. She is allowed to rub against me but only as long as she is careful and only until I say "stop". I don't use words in this case, like I usually do - it is just something that developed naturally between us over the years. :)
She does tend to take the permission for granted nowadays, but she doesn't insist if/when I say no.

ange.taylor
Hello! 100 lessons completed

Hi! Do you let her rub on you when she has a bridle on? I would be worried about being hurt by the bit or buckles...? With my horses, I have to insist that they don't rub on me, because whilst I might be able to withstand the pressure, my small children would probably just get knocked to the ground. I was talking to a gentleman a couple of months ago and his horse was wearing one of those bits like a tom thumb, but with larger sides. The horse lifted its head up and actually got the top pointy bit of the bit up his nose and nearly picked him up by it! Ouch! Although I must admit, with my old mare, once I have her bridle off, she loves it when I give her a good rub around the ears with a brush, or alternatively, I hold the brush still in the air and she moves her head up and down on it so she can get the spot and the pressure she wants. Where would we be without our beautiful equine friends!? :-)

Cherie
Hello!

Thanks to everyone for their comments!!
I am paying special attention to scratching her forehead during grooming, and she seems to have worked out that she needs to wait for her scratches.
I think over time I might let her have a rub on me occasionally, but only after we have got 'lead mare' position firmly grounded and she has learnt not to invade my space just because she wants to.

Ange, funny you should mention how your mare loves it when you rub her ears with the brush! Armani did that today also! She seems to have found another favourite spot.
I usually don't let her rub with the bridle on - but she's been having a break from training so I've been just riding her in a halter lately. So probably best we have addressed this before we start riding in a bridle again :)

genarkastar
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Hi

I did my first join up today with Red (OTTB 9 yrs old) had to use a different yard as both round at the agistment centre was not in use due to weather.

so we used a sorta round/square yard. we did the compass thing. when i rubbed the forehead, he lowered his head and leant his head on my boob. then we went to do the release and the ol boy upon release moved as per instruction but instead of going around he went straight to a grass patch. so we started again from the beginning. oh well i was happy with today's efforts i didnt expect him to listen but he was great. stopped when i stopped, head down leaning against the boob for a rub on the forehead.
i know it will take time but i will get there. he is the easiest of my 3 horses

Cheers

Kell