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Franklin Levinson's

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My horse will turn its butt to me or backs up to me


I enjoy reading through all the questions people have wrote you and respect the answers you give them. I have an odd question. I bought a 3 year old mare a few months ago that is green broke. She handles well, is sweet, and at first was more partial to me than anyone else. She has become more friendlier to others and is doing great with riding and learning and adjusting to her new home. I didn't ride her or mess with her for one week because I was sick and when I went down to the barn she let me pet her and then turned her butt to me. I laughed it off and then the next morning as me and my husband were leaving we saw her and my husband's horse by the driveway so we stopped and I called her name and she turned her head away. I figured she was mad at me for not coming around for a week. So, the following week when I started riding her again she was fine, she gets rode about three times a week. Well, last night when I was waiting for the farrier I had both horses in the barn and while the other one was eating hay she kept following me around every time I would move. Once I stood still she walked in front of me to where her rear end was facing me and then looked back at me to see exactly where I was and then started to back up.

I just stood there because it was obvious she was not going to kick me, she was not looking remotely mean at all and has never tried to kick, and once she got close she stopped and rested her back leg looking relaxed as ever. I walked to her side and rubbed her neck, wondering what she was doing.

So, my question is what does it mean when she puts her rear to me like that? Is she mad at me or wanting something else? Thanks for your time.


Hi Tara,

Interesting question. On the one hand, if, when this horse was a foal, it LOVED to have her butt scratched, she may have gotten into the habit of backing up to the hand that scratched her butt for more scratching. This became habitual behavior. More often then not when a horse backs to another individual, it is not a good sign. Horses will back into each other and kick the crap out of one another. Sometimes doing serious damage. Personally, I do not suggest you allow that behavior to continue. Whether you think the good intentions of the horse were obvious or not, it is inappropriate behavior and potentially a problem if a horse is allowed to back into another individual. So, to interpret the behavior, it is one of two things. I didn't see it so I cannot guess which it is. But, it is either habitual behavior from when the horse was a foal. Or, a display of "I am the boss and go wherever I wish" sort of thing. Personally, I don't like it and feel it should not be tolerated.

A good rule of thumb with horses is to always be the compassionate, kind and excellent leader. In part this means, always keeping appropriate boundaries. The equine leader of the herd always makes certain the other horses show their respect for her by not invading her personal space unless invited. She controls the spatial aspects of the herd. You should too. If you do, this will enhance and increase the level of trust and respect that the horse has for you.

Sincerely, Franklin

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