Dealing with a biting horse! HELP!

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Gracie

I was interested in what you said in your post. I have read that when horses are in a herd they discipline by giving a good firm kick in the chest etc which was similar to your remedy. They're certainly not gentle when correcting one other. And the other bit was that my instructor told me that in your partnership with your horse you need to hold 51% not the other way round.

I have been lending a horse to ride who has an annoying habit of nipping. Nowhere near as bad as Vina's experience at all but annoying as he catches my jodphurs with his teeth which is a bit to close to my skin for comfort! And he does it a lot at times. Just can't seem to get the idea not to! He's a big chunky thoroughbred who tends to be a bit bad mannered at times!
 

cwazka

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cracker (ma baby! :) ) nips and bites constantly, anyone who dares come within his reach when he is stabled, tied up anything! - he will lunge and bite you, when i first met him he did this to me constantly i couldnt groom him without tying him up short to stop him biting me because he really does go for it and would of seriously hurt me :s ! but after spending the past few months building up a strong bond and trust with him (some of you may know from my earlier posts about everything ive been thourgh with him? remember me?!! ;) ) he has stopped biting me, he still occasionally nips but i can now handle and groom him without tying him up short because when he does manage a sly nip he never does it to hurt anymore and i just push his head away and carry on with what im doing, the other day i was walking him down to the field and just had the leadrope loose over his neck and was walking alongside him when for no reason he spun round and clamped his teeth over my arm (unpredictable is just one of the erm...'difficulties' we've encountered!) he had my arm completely in his mouth and could of broken it with a clamp of his teeth and i admit i paniced i thought i trusted him completely but obviously i couldnt! i froze, but he just headbutted me and let go and that was it...and from then on i have trusted him completely :D anyway the moral of the story is......lol! i have NEVER used ANY form of punishment with him for biting or nipped i just ignorred him harsh words and slaps whacks etc. just reinforce the idea of violence i just made sure i always handled him like any horse despite his reputation for biting, kicking, rearing, spinning round and bucking at you.... randomly attacking people!lol! :s etc etc. and yes he did do all of those things but when he did i just waited for him to finish then carried on with whatever we were doing and it did take up to 2hours just to walk him into the field some days yes!! ;) but, and admittedly it wasnt deliberate it was just because i love this poor missunderstood horse so much, i only ever spoke kindly to him and gave him all the love and care in the world and to everyones shock the 'untouchable' horse lapped it up! he is so beautiful i trust him more than the world i sit on him bareback in the field and play with his mane evryone thinks im mad!lol! :s im not denying that 'punishment' can work in some situations but just be careful how you use it because in some cases, such a cracker, it only makes the situation a LOT worse and they learn to resent you and you are only reinforcing their violent solution to problems! :)
 

chapsi

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Jul 15, 2002
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Cwazka,

By the sound of it, your horse resembles mine in many aspects, as well as your responses. I am also struggling to overcome mine's nipping, biting, intimidation, although I feel that this horse likes me, but he tests my patience to the limit.
I am very interested to read your thread, it might help me. Which one is it? I also run a thread about my (mis)adventures with Pegasus (Mature Riders-Deeply Depressed). Please give some advise based on your experience.
Anyway, my vet - alleluia - after a few weeks wait, came to check my horse's teeth. Guess what, his teeth need floating, perhaps once he is done the biting will reduce.
The vet defended the theory that 90% of horses nip and bite as a form of social interaction, and hitting is no solution. What to do? Get yourself a horse muzzle to be on the safe side... ;)
 

cwazka

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hi chapsi! how nice to have someone to share experience with on these things :D if you have a look under search under this post it should come up with all my posts where you'll be able to find all the history on cracker ive posted on here :) theres also a few questions concerning feeding and lungeing issues i'd be really grateful if you could have a look at on there? and advice much appreciated! thanks a lot! :) hope to hear from you soon feel free to email/pm me anytime! x
 

mikka

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This is such an interesting thread! I've lapped up all the posted responses - they're so varied.

I never pat my horse. But I do squeeze/massage him about the wither and lower neck. And I give him a quick rub across the wither whenever I feel he's done well in the school.

I used to ride at a school where ALL the horses bit and kicked IN LUMPS - it was a parody of everything that's wrong with commodity-based riding establishments. What I learned there is that horses bite for a reason. Vina, I think you've got it when you take the suggestion that your horse's routine has changed.

Were this a horse who'd always been a biter, the story might be different.
 

Gracie

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Thanks Luvs Horses!
I was starting to feel kind of like I was unfair to my horse! But at no exception do I allow biting! And my horse hasn't bitten since with or without treats! And even if she threatens she gets reminded that its wrong! But she knows I love her!
 

Vina

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Well, at the assurance of my riding instructor that I am either going to get hurt or feel a little upset at giving my friend's horse a smack when she bites me, I decided to give her a smack. :(

I walked into the barn, she turned at me, with the usual sour look and struck out. I gave her a good smack and she backed off, looking very shocked. She tried once more (maybe she couldn't believe her eyes?) and I smacked her again. That was the end of it.

Although I still feel bad in doing that, it has (at least temporarily) stopped her from biting. I don't really think I can do much more, as the owner and another person working with the horse are using a riding crop-type stick to whack her if she bites, and I refuse to do that. She is being overworked as well, so I have, like I said before, discontinued riding her at all.

I don't think there is much more I can do at this point, as she doesn't belong to me and the final say is with the owner. I feel sad that this horse may be becoming soured to riding and maybe even people, but the owner seems to be pretty firm on what he wants done.

I'll let you know if anything further develops (hopefully it will be good news). Thanks again for all your support and helpful advice!
 

Vina

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NewRiderGirl, actually, it's not my horse...she belongs to a friend that wanted me to help in looking after her. That's part of the problem, too many people doing too many different kinds of things. I think she's going to end up a pretty confused horse.
 

Peace

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I learn so much from this board!

LOL - "air nips"! Had my first one tonight, but didn't know what to call it!:) I asked Quanah to make a turn at what he obviously felt was too sharp an angle. "Clack!" went the teeth, about 10 inches from my toe! I was so surprised I nearly fell out of the saddle!:D (note to self - fat ponies don't turn on dimes . . .)

But there's a boarder at our barn who is a serious biter. He does it because he's food-protective. Unfortunately, he's also huge, and incredibly fast. At his last barn, he actually bit a woman's ear off - she had to have it surgically re-attached!:eek:

My barn owner manages him by putting his food into his stall before he goes into it. But last week, he had to be on stall rest. This made feeding him a pretty hair-raising experience, although there were no injuries, thank goodness.

Anybody got any suggestions on how to correct this?
 
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$@R@H

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The horse I ride pulls the most horrible faces. He is also a biter. I know he does this purely as a attitude thing so what I do is i give him a smack on his "breast" and say "NO!". The way I think of it is that if I was a nother horse who would I react? I would turn around and bite him back! But if a horse trys to bite a horse the bite it and misses or the horse runs away, it doesn't uselly go searching alfter it to get it back. IN other words, puninsh must be done Staraight away!
 

Vina

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I only gave her a pop with my fist (fingers rolled up this way because my trainer said it's better that than to lose fingers) and popped her under the chin. I did this at the same time that she was snaking her head out with her teeth bared. She also advised that I keep my other hand kinda near my chest, to either pat the horse afterwards if it were possible, or to protect my face if things got nasty.

I could never hit a horse with an object. I would walk away and never work with a horse again before I would whack at it with a crop or whatever (I don't mean riding and tapping with a crop, I mean whacking it harshly for punishment). Even the hand pops make me feel bad, but she IS cutting out the biting and I don't care to lose an ear (like the lady above) or worse.

But I was wondering about what was said about horses having to be struck very hard (as they are by other horses), otherwise they won't feel it? How, then, when a fly lands on a horse's skin, it can feel that, or when a rider touches them lightly during riding, they can feel that also? Perhaps that poster meant to say that horses can take a lot of rough horseplay from other horses, not that they are necessarily tough-skinned brutes?
 

galadriel

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Re: I learn so much from this board!

Originally posted by Peace
My barn owner manages him by putting his food into his stall before he goes into it. But last week, he had to be on stall rest. This made feeding him a pretty hair-raising experience, although there were no injuries, thank goodness.

Anybody got any suggestions on how to correct this?

It's not *too* difficult to make a feed door, if the barn is wooden. You cut a square from the front of the stall, attach the square together, and put hinges on one side. Then you attach the feed bucket to the inside of the door. To feed, you unlatch the little door, swing it towards you, dump the feed, and swing it back, relatch it.

Power tools are helpful ;)
 

Peace

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Good idea!

I like the feed door concept!

We had a woman come to trail ride today, and she slipped and fell in the mud. Next thing I knew, she'd walked into the paddock with old "ear-amputator" himself, and was rinsing her hands in his trough, while he rested his head on her shoulder!:eek:

I said, very softly;) , "Let me show you where the wash rack is," and she left the paddock without incident. But I think I saw a gleam in his eye as he followed her to the gate!:D
 
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