What it means when a horse turns its back on you and what to do - Joyful Equestrian (2023)

You are tending to your horse in the stable and everything is fine, suddenly your horse turns its croup right in your face.

Perhaps you have a halter and want to lead your horse out of the box and he immediately jerks his rump toward you and looks around the corner.

You may be trying to press and release to get your horse to move and he will move his hindquarters towards you, ears down, tail wagging and biting the air.

Perhaps you have tied up your horse and are about to pull or trim its mane. Your horse tries to turn and pin you against the wall.

There are four main reasons that come to mind for a horse to turn its rear towards you.

The horse disrespects you and shows dominance, which can escalate further if the horse is not corrected. The horse is afraid and tries to avoid it. It's a mare in heat who sees you as a potential mate or threatens to walk away. After all, the horse learned at some point, usually as a foal, that you can scratch its rear and feel good.

  1. First, you need to find out why your horse is turning its rear towards you.
  2. You then need to teach them that this is unacceptable behavior in a way that best suits the reason your horse is doing it.

Spinning your ass means disrespect and dominance.

What it means when a horse turns its back on you and what to do - Joyful Equestrian (1)

There was a horse named Maverick, a muscular black gelding that he used to work and ride.

He was a stallion until he was 8 years old, when he became a gelding. Being a stallion for so long is probably why he was a more dominant horse.

When you were bossy with him and tried to push him or he realized that you were being too rude or bossy. Even if you asked him to do something he didn't want to do. He would become aggressive and try to put you in your place, showing dominance. He was also often the best horse in attendance.

If there was something he didn't want to do, he either put on a halter and walked out of his stall, or didn't want to be picked up and led out of his paddock, or told to wait around the corner when he got back. she was walking around his head to get it, but she wanted it now!

During that time the handler was scolded with the voice, was a little harder to try to get him to obey, or even held a whip or whip... more than protection I guess, just not around him easy to hit or something so. When the guide is impatient or bored. Those were the detonators that set him on fire and he got angry very quickly.

It wagged its croup, pinched its ears, flicked its tail, bit the air, nodded its head, raised its hind leg, and sometimes kicked. She never kicked anyone, but she threatened.

(Video) WHY YOUR HORSE DOESN’T LIKE YOU (and what to do about it)

If these are signs you are seeing in your horse, it is disrespectful, the horse is threatening to kick you and is trying to take over the situation.

But your horse can also show disrespect in more subtle ways.

When they shake their butts at you and maybe back at you. They may or may not wag their tail, their ears may or may not be folded back, their hind legs may move from side to side, or they may lift one hind leg slightly.

Just like an old horse trying to discipline or drive away a foal.

Moving towards you with the hindquarters signifies fear and avoidance.

What it means when a horse turns its back on you and what to do - Joyful Equestrian (2)

The horse may have had bad experiences that you are not aware of. A horse may back into a corner of his box or try to get away from you because he is anxious or scared.

In a stable where I worked there was a chestnut gelding that everyone loved. He was a very sweet boy, but also very sensitive. Sensitive to his body language, his emotions, how you handled him and touched him. He responded very well to front leg supports, which he might add.

Interestingly, he developed a fear of cameras and phones. She would run to the corner of his booth if anyone tried to take a picture of her and all she could see was her butt and the back of his head. The barn staff and trainers tried to get him used to photos with treats soon after, but I'm not sure he'll ever get over it.

Over time, I managed to earn more and more of his trust. He looked like a horse that had suffered a lot and had a difficult life. But you can see in his eyes that he is afraid but he wants to trust. I'm not sure if you've ever experienced this on a horse. I have a handful

When I started playing it, he would often turn around and point his butt at me. His head would be held high, his nostrils flared a little and his eyes widened, and his tail would be held back. She never threatened to kick him, never covered his ears, never wagged her tail, never raised her leg.

But you could tell he just wanted to escape. She usually did it with halters or when putting on or changing blankets.

So, given the circumstances, I was scared, without confidence, and desperately wanting to escape.

Another sign of fear and mistrust is fleeing in a trading zone. It could also be disrespectful and not wanting to do something. But when it's being disrespectful, the horse often shows other signs of aggression.

Turning her hindquarters towards you means she is in heat.

What it means when a horse turns its back on you and what to do - Joyful Equestrian (3)

Yeah, it's kind of gross when a mare considers you a mate. Mares have something else on their minds when they're in heat, so they can't think as clearly. There was a mare in a stable, I was a hardworking student, when she was in heat she was a different horse.

(Video) SIGNS A HORSE DOESN’T RESPECT YOU | Horse Behavior Guide

She would move her butt towards you or rest her head on your shoulder or her head and push down. This only happened when she was in heat.

You may notice the mare is in heat and considers you a mate, if she turns around, shows no signs of aggression, she may crouch down and urinate and be startled.swinging. She might look at you like you've been waiting for this.

Or return to disrespect and dominance. Some mares don't show much change in behavior when it comes to proper heat. But other mares become more moody, moody, aggressive, and uncooperative.

If this only occurs during heat, there are hormonal options to discuss with your vet.

Turn the hindquarters towards you to learn a behavior you get from butt scratching.

What it means when a horse turns its back on you and what to do - Joyful Equestrian (4)

Foals are adorable, and if you haven't already read my Foal Facts blog post with cute foal photos, you should. Turning the butt towards humans for a scratch usually comes from the foal's hood.

Someone discovers that the colt loves to have his ass rubbed. You can't resist the cuteness of the foal moving its lip and wagging its tail while scratching itself.

As cute as it is as an adult, having a big horse shake its butt at you to scratch your butt is not good behavior. This puts you in an unsafe situation when the horse decides to kick. Not to mention, you're in the horse's blind spot.

Find out why your horse is turning its back on you

What it means when a horse turns its back on you and what to do - Joyful Equestrian (5)

I have a table to help you compare the behaviors with the different reasons why they turn against you. Below are some solutions to try with your horse based on why the horse is turning its croup towards you.

Dominantfear basedno heat Sexualaggressive in the heatHe likes scratches on his butt
Aggressive and trying to keep the situation under control.Scared and trying to avoid itsexual, the mind is busy with other things and does not think clearlyhormonally uncomfortable, moody, unwilling to work, not thinking clearlyfriendly but disrespectful bad habit
pricked earsears in front of youEars pointing forward, to the side, or back toward youpricked earsEars pointing back or ears pointing forward
Leg raised and threatens to kickLegs on the floor, hips down, possibly leg raised if threatenedHind legs on the ground, slightly spread, perhaps rocking back and forth.Leg raised and threatens to kickback to you without lifting the leg. Move slightly back and forth. Stop and restart.
Tail wagging and not relaxedthe tail is stuckThe tail is raised to the side and it is allowed to urinate.Wagging his tail, not relaxed, he can urinate.The tail is relaxed.

What to do if the behavior results from domination?

What it means when a horse turns its back on you and what to do - Joyful Equestrian (6)

It is possible to train a horse to become dominant, a horse may already have a dominant personality, or a horse may develop aggressive behavior if treated roughly.

What you should do depends on your experience, skill, and comfort in dealing with a more dominant horse. You need to set limits, correct the behavior immediately, follow through, and be consistent.

If you are not comfortable correcting this behavior, it is best to consult a trainer who has experience correcting this behavior successfully. Be sure to look at the training methods used and understand what is being done and agree with the method.

Horses sometimes need rigorous correction to know what is right and what is wrong, especially when the horse is exhibiting potentially dangerous behavior.

Remember that each horse reacts differently.

(Video) How to Turn your Horse?!

5 things you can do to prevent a horse from turning its dominant croup

  1. One important thing to note about aggressive behavior is if the horse is in pain.

There are many reasons why a horse may be in pain. When a horse is in pain and is being ridden or handled, it causes more pain. They understandably often become unruly and uncooperative. This can lead to aggression to protect themselves from further pain.

Some examples of sources of pain in horses:

  • ulcers
  • Lyme-Borreliosa
  • Poor saddle fit
  • Arthritis
  • Equine Protozoenmyelite
  • muscle tension or pain
  • A bone splinter or OCD injury
  • limp
  • single fine
  • Pain in the mouth due to dental problems or rough manipulation of the teeth.

Always rule out pain in horses first, or assume until you know otherwise. This is often overlooked and seen by most people as purely behavioral or disrespectful.

Just because a horse is in pain doesn't mean dangerous behavior is acceptable.

  1. Don't groom your horse loosely in the stable.Instead, have your horse tied up and in a spot where you can't get pinned against a wall if the horse tries to turn its rear toward you.

You can also continue the preparation with your horse on a lead rope. This gives you more control over how you move your horse's feed, which brings us to number 2.

  1. Have the horse on a lead ropeSo when they try to turn their hindquarters towards you,You have some control and can move the horse's hindquarters.

You want to do this right away so the horse knows better than to turn its hindquarters towards you. This is called dropping the hindquarters.

It's basically a simplified version of the forehand spin.

You can do this by swinging a rope or by using a training stick (carrot stick, clinic stick, etc.)

With one of these tools, you can stay clear of horses outside of the kick zone.

If you let go of the hindquarters, the horse will not be able to kick, back, resist, or take off efficiently. So it is beneficial to practice this with your horse; so if you really are in a situation where you need to take control of your horse, this is nothing new for either of you.

Letting go of the hindquarters is a good exercise in respect. The one who moves the feet of the other is the leader in the knight pack of 2.

Watch this video on YouTube where Andrea Coa explains it very wellProcess of releasing the hindquarters. Therefore, I recommend you watch the video if you still don't know how to do it.

  1. Spend time with the horse, except for working on the horse.This will help you bond with the horse and make it look forward to seeing you.

For ideas on what to do with your horse, visitthe fun things to improve your bond with your horse section' in my blog postHaving a horse during pregnancy: what to do with your horseYou may not be pregnant, but this gives you some ideas for bonding activities.

  1. Practice floor exercises that involve sensitization and desensitization.Groundwork done right can be a great way to develop a better relationship with your horse. You earn the respect and trust of the horse.

Here are some useful floor exercise books to try with your horse.

(Video) What Does It Mean When A Horse Lips You?

  • 101 horsemanship exercisesby River Barrett (Amazon-Link)- This book contains both floor and saddle exercises and uses lots of pictures to illustrate what they are talking about. Rio shows the ability to develop on the ground as the horse transitions to the saddle.
  • 101 ground training exercises for every horse and groompor Cherry Hill (Amazon-Link)- This book assumes that you are a beginner and gives you the information you need to succeed on the court. The exercises in this book range from learning basic ground manners to throwing and tossing. It's a great book to cover all the basics of your horse.

5 Things to Do When the Behavior Comes from Fear

What it means when a horse turns its back on you and what to do - Joyful Equestrian (7)
  1. Take things easy. You should never rush into training horses, especially a fearful horse. This puts more pressure on you and the horse. Enjoy small prizes.
  2. Although sweets are not always a good idea. Each time you pick up the horse, get a treat so that the horse associates you positively and wants to turn towards you instead of away. Wait for the horse to turn towards you before entering the stable.
  3. A bond done correctly can help a horse see you as a leader, which will help the horse trust you and stop seeing you as much of a threat.
  4. As I mentioned in the behavior section for horses with dominant behaviors, you spend more time with your horse than just riding or training. Just be with the horse, brush your hand, massage, scratch or pet the horse. In the section above, find the blog post that contains a section on horse bonding activities.
  5. Desensitizing base. A fearful horse is usually very sensitive. Desensitizing a horse results in a less sensitive and reactive horse. Just be careful not to desensitize the horse too much. Some mindfulness exercises may also need to be included. It's about finding the balance for the horse. You don't want a horse that is overly sensitive or callous.

Doing these things will make your horse feel more relaxed when you're around, and once your horse is no longer afraid, the reason he's moving away from you will disappear.

What to do if the behavior is due to heat

What it means when a horse turns its back on you and what to do - Joyful Equestrian (8)

If this is only a problem during heat, it may help to give your mare a hormone to prevent her from going into heat.

Regumate is a product that veterinarians prescribe for mares that are in a bad mood during heat or when owners do not want their mare to come into heat.

This is something you should discuss with your vet as it needs to be prescribed.

What to do if the behavior is scratching

What it means when a horse turns its back on you and what to do - Joyful Equestrian (9)

First, stop allowing your horse's buttocks to be scratched.

Until the horse understands that the behavior is undesirable, hold a rope on the horse so that it can turn it towards you or release the hindquarters.

Watch the video in the section to learn what to do if the behavior is due to dominance. This video shows how to free the horse's hindquarters.

If you choose a paddock and the horse keeps coming to scratch, back off. If you are not comfortable doing this because you are afraid of getting kicked.

When clearing the paddock you have several options:

  • Put the horse in another open paddock.
  • Tie up the horse in the paddock in a safe place with you nearby
  • put the horse in a stable

If you are consistent, eventually the horse will understand that he is no longer scratching his rump and that it is not okay to turn his rump towards you.


  • Find out why your horse is turning its croup towards you and address the problem based on the reason.
  • Fear and aggression as reasons for turning the hindquarters towards you may be related to pain, so rule this out.
  • Keep a halter and leash on the horse when working with the horse and practice letting go of the hindquarters. This will teach the horse to turn away from you and face you.
  • There are recipes like Regumate that can suppress estrus in mares when behavior problems are caused by hormones.
  • No more scratching your buttocks!

I hope you found it useful if you decide to share this post on social media. It helps me to continue and write.





What does it mean when a horse turns its back to you? ›

The ultimate sign of disrespect is when a horse turns his butt towards you when you enter a stall. If you notice that your horse has this habit, your first step is to start the Fundamentals with him, and that begins with the roundpenning exercises.

How do you tell if a horse respects you? ›

If a horse is grazing in a field and they come towards you when you are around you can be sure they like you. Horses that follow your movements in their presence show they are focused on and give you 100% of their attention. If your horse follows you around when they see you, they consider you as a friend.

How do you know if a horse doesn't like you? ›

When a trained horse becomes frustrated with the rider, the signs may be as subtle as a shake of his head or tensing/hollowing of his body, or as blatant as swishing the tail, kicking out or flat out refusing to do what the rider asks.

Why is my horse suddenly aggressive towards me? ›

Horses may behave aggressively towards people if they feel threatened, or if they are trying to escape or avoid doing what the person wants them to do. They may also behave aggressively as a result of previous experience.

Do horses rear when happy? ›

Rearing and pawing

It may look as though your horse is fighting, but rearing up with his front legs at another horse or pawing the ground are often signs he's enjoying himself.

How do horses show disrespect? ›

What is labelled disrespect usually involves things the horse does that the person does not like: crowding space, ignoring cues, barging over the person, standing too close, biting, kicking, pinning ears, rubbing his head on the person, not standing still, turning hindquarters towards the person, spooking and not ...

How do horses show love? ›

In the wild, as well as in domestic care, horses will show affection to one another by sharing breath with one another. Horses will put their noses together and then share the air. This tendency extends to horses showing love to their owners as well.

Why shouldn't you look a horse in the eye? ›

Never look a horse in the eye

You're only a predator if you intend to eat what you're looking at. Horses can easily tell the difference between a predator looking to eat and predator looking in curiosity and wonder. Horses do, however, struggle to understand the intention of a human who hides his eyes.

How do you know if your horse is mad at you? ›

The ears laid flat against the neck, head raised and the horse may lunge at you, whites of the eyes showing, and their mouth open showing their teeth. You should avoid approaching a horse from behind. If you do, they may warn you if they're angry and want you to stay away or go away. If you ignore this, they may kick.

Will a horse forgive you? ›

The short answer is yes. Except in extreme cases, horses are capable of trusting humans again.

How do you get a horse to accept you? ›

Try this…
  1. Start on a large circle in trot.
  2. Slowly spiral inwards onto a smaller circle. ...
  3. Increase the pressure with your inside leg while maintaining a good contact with your outside leg and rein. ...
  4. Once on your bigger circle, change the rein and repeat.
May 6, 2022

How do you get a horse to trust you and respect you? ›

If you're struggling to gain a horse's trust, seek out help and have others watch you—they'll catch on faster than you about what cues you may be giving the horse. They'll see what you can't. Also, let your horse guide you. He won't lie to you; he either thinks of you as the leader or not.

What does it mean when a horse gently bites you? ›

Typically, a horse bites someone as a sign of aggression. However, in some cases, a horse can bite you in a playful manner or even as a sign of affection. Although this can seem sweet at first, any type of biting should be immediately discouraged.

Do horses get emotionally attached to humans? ›

Horses are very social and affectionate animals. They cannot verbalize “I love you” but they can communicate those sentiments through their actions. Not all horses show affection in the same ways though.

How do horses respond to human emotion? ›

Research shows that horses recognize and react to human emotions expressed by facial cues alone. We've all been taught that horses can readily pick up on our anxiety, anger and other emotions from our body language. Now, research from England suggests that they can read our facial expressions as well.

How do you say hello to a horse? ›

The most basic equine exercise is to connect with an untethered horse in a paddock. An Equest facilitator explained that the proper way to say hello to a horse is by gently extending your closed hand. The horse returns the greeting by touching your hand with its muzzle. Simple enough.

Can horses sense a good person? ›

In one study, the heart rhythms of horses and humans were analyzed over the course of various interactions with one another. The findings indicated that horses care capable of detecting when a human is expressing and projecting positive feelings towards them and is likely to reciprocate those positive feelings.

What do horses not like? ›

1. Humans making sudden, unnecessary movements—movements that could be perceived as aggression on the part of the human (like chasing them with a plastic bag tied to a whip). 2. Humans cranking their cinch/girth tight all at once.

How do you show your horse you are the leader? ›

Groundwork can mean asking the horse to stand still, leading him or doing circling work. Every time you work with your horse, make sure he's following your rules and moving out of your space—constant reminders that you are the leader. Make him feel secure by giving him easy and clear rules to follow.

How does a horse say I love you? ›

Much like other pets, horses use licking as a way to show their love! Breathing on you, licking, and kissing are all ways a horse may be trying to tell you how much you mean to them. They also may grasp you with their lips to pull you in, and then lick.

How long can a horse remember you? ›

Horses also understand words better than expected, according to the research, and possess "excellent memories," allowing horses to not only recall their human friends after periods of separation, but also to remember complex, problem-solving strategies for ten years or more.

How does a horse show that it is happy? ›

A snort can be a good sign that a horse is happy or feels at peace. And the more they snort, along with other positive visual indicators, the more they are likely to be feeling calm and comfortable.

Why shouldn't you look a horse in the mouth? ›

It was a smart thing for traders to look in a horse's mouth in detail before buying it. When given a gift however, the saying is suggesting that one shouldn't look over it with too much scrutiny because it's a gift. Essentially the saying means “don't quibble about a gift and be grateful for it”.

Why don't you look a horse in the mouth? ›

The saying "don't look a gift horse in the mouth" means that you shouldn't criticize a gift, even if you don't like it very much. A gift horse, in other words, is a gift.

Where should you not touch a horse? ›

Be sure to stay away from the sensitive areas of the horse like the eyes, ears, muzzle, and belly of the horse. While some horses might be OK with you petting these areas, many are sensitive and won't like to be touched there.

How do you tell if your horse has bonded with you? ›

Here are 8 Signs a Horse Likes and Trusts You
  1. They Come Up to Greet You. ...
  2. They Nicker or Whinny For You. ...
  3. They Rest Their Head on You. ...
  4. They Nudge You. ...
  5. They Are Relaxed Around You. ...
  6. They Groom You Back. ...
  7. They Show You Respect. ...
  8. They Breathe on Your Face.
Nov 12, 2022


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