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Do horses enjoy being patted?

Research has shown that patting is actually stimulating for the horse, and activates their stress response. That's why if you lean forward and pat your horse during a ride, they usually speed up.

Patting horses is something we've all done, but the science says stroking or scratching is much more calming and rewarding as it mimics their natural behaviour - when is the last time you saw horses pat each other?

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