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Marsha Cassada

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Sometimes I sit in the pasture with my two horses. Dapper Dan likes to nibble grass all around me and will tolerate a scratch or two. But he moves off if I try to pet him. Midnight gets as close as she can and stands. Sometimes she lays her head on my shoulder.
My question is, when she lays her head on me is she asking for mutual grooming, herd acceptance, or is it a type of domination? I have had Dapper Dan for 18 years and Midnight for less than two.
 

Pitter Patter

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I'm really new at this...I do the same thing with a variety of reactions, but my favorite mini sat on my lap a couple of times. Not sure exactly why, although she had a dry skin on her teets. But she did it even after I put cream on them a couple of times. If she's not nibbling on you, I would like to think it's affection. I have a new larger pony who is VERY skittish, but when I was scratching her under her chin and then on the other side of her neck (doesn't let me get closer), she rested her head in the crook of my arm. I am happy she was relaxed enough to do this! I think Midnight loves you! :)
 

Taz

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I'd say she's coming over to 'watch out for you' and have some quality time while you're resting. She considers you part of the herd, lucky you 😊
 

Cayuse

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If Midnight is being gentle I'd consider it a hug :). When Peanut does this, it's definitely a rude and dominant move on his part and it's usually done to to put me "in my place" in his small herd. When he decides to give a hug, he wraps his neck around the front of me and leans onto me with his shoulder.
 

Pitter Patter

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My new pony who is blind in one eye is really coming around with me now. I am so happy. She came to me very skittish of people and a back end full of manure and mats from diarrhea. Yesterday was warmish (about 35F) so I decided it's about time to try to clean her up. I was worried because she has just recently let me touch her but now I can put my hands almost anywhere. In fact, she is more compliant that my minis now! Poor thing. Worked on her back end for 3 hours and had to trim off half her tail and longer hairs that were matted down her back legs and lower belly. Still not completely done, but almost. For a skittish girl, she sure was VERY tolerant! Although a nasty job, I think she must have appreciated it afterwards. She has no ground manners yet--working on that slowly of course. While timid with people, she sure lets my "marish" mares know who's boss! She bites and kicks at them. I think she's going to be a good pony, even with kids on her eventually--as long as they she is led and the adult walks on her blind side so she feels protected where she can't see. Previous owners couldn't catch her without grain but I am feeling so happy she comes to me without a bribe and before she heads over to eat. She sure wasn't that friendly when I brought her home, but I think that remaining calm, looking down and letting her smell my hand and even face before before making a move helped! Now she follows me everywhere.
 

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