My boy thinks it his right to grab the reins, rope, throat, latch whatever he can.
I am tired of it. He is 8 he should be over the oral fixation. He grabs, I take it out of his mouth and he grabs the next part he can reach, shampoo on the lead really didn't slow him down and it makes the reins sticky. I do have a bottle of habanero oil concentrate that I bought for another use.
I used a q-tip to put a drop of it on the reins and throat latch of his bridle points where he thinks its fun to grab and chew I went very lightly on the oil but now I'm not so sure. The oil is a million scoville units and that might be too much for a correction. I eat really spicy food and this stuff makes me dive for a glass of water. I am tempted to wash it off the reins and throat latch before it gets near him on the other hand I don't want him to feel he has carte blanch to chew on whatever he feels like.
Will this cure him or am I inviting disaster.
Last edited by 5; Nov. 26, 2012 at 10:41 PM.
The Denver Broncos went to visit an orphanage. "It's so sad looking into their faces so devoid of hope." Sara aged 6
My horse (now 10) was a very mouthy recently-gelded 3yo back in his day.
I solved it with training advice that somebody gave me.
First, I taught him to move his feet. He had to back up with a yes ma'am, come forward again with a yes ma'am, and yield the haunch and shoulder with a yes ma'am.
He was to LEAP to attention and practically fall over himself to comply with each request.
So, then when he got mouthy, he had to WORK.
Back two steps! Forward! Back again! Yield the haunch! Forward! Back back back! Then he got to stand flat footed and rest with a pat. This was not, "Oh, hm? You were saying? Let me drag my foot slooowwwllly back," this was, "Let me SIT DOWN to back up promptly enough. OK OK OK!"
This had several practical applications.
1.) When he chewed on the lead rope, "GO TO WORK!"
2.) When he tried to spook at a draped blanket on a stall door, "GO TO WORK!"
3.) If he got rude being led out to the paddock, "GO TO WORK!"
After three or four days of enforcement the mouthy behavior was gone, and the tool was firmly installed for all of the other subsequent helpful uses as well.
Personally, I think using some sort of bad tasting stuff is just scratching at the symptoms, not eradicating the problem. Probably if your horse were to learn the sort of ground manners where he leads and backs with a "yes ma'am!" off a subtle gesture and stands for grooming completely flat footed even when not wearing a halter, he wouldn't be having this problem.
Just take the cross ties off for a grooming session and see how much work you have to suddenly do to get him to stick around. Does grooming the back legs where you are further away from grabbing the lead suddenly look daunting? Will grooming take an extra 40 minutes because you constantly have to put his feet back where they were?
We tried that method with our young doberman, turns out she likes spicy foods...not sure how a horse would react to it
I had the same issue when I put Raplast on a sheet to keep a mouthy gelding from chewing on it..he liked the taste! Instead of obvious chew marks, I went out the next morning to find the sheet hanging off the horse in strips.
Bitter yuck stuff on plants to deter cats...cat likes it, I taste it for 3 hours after I spray it.
meupatdoes has good advice. This is what I have to do with my mare when she forgets her manners. We have been working on standing sans ties & although she needs a reminder now & then, she is now pretty good. No fidget, no dance, no nosing, pushing, etc. Must be boring for her
My mother had a horse a while back who was pretty mouthy (only vaguely remember the horse), though she was a youngster - so not too surprising. My aunt supposedly put some juice from a hot pepper on a lead rope or something. The filly nibbled on it and supposedly it knocked her on her bottom (literally). I was too young to remember (or I was riding the little shetland all around the property so not in the barn).
I too suggest the 'DO THE WORK' method - usually mouthy/annoying horses are sweet but their brains are just on overdrive (like my guy) -- it SO helps if you make him think....make being good be easy, and being an idiot difficult
To be loved by a horse should fill us with awe, for we hath not deserved it.
I would go the route of herd conversation. whenever I have a horse who either bites, mouths me or stuff while in hand or generally doesn't obey the personal space rule, I go low. By this I mean that I correct by putting pressure on the horse below the knee. I do it in graduated levels of pressure from just a formidable energetic presence near the lower legs to all the way contact with a crop, lead or my toe.
Envision two horses in the herd. One is either wrastling with the other or generally crowding and bothering the other horse. Horse being bothered goes for the legs to take the means of escape away from the annoying horse. It prevents making a biter headshy by going for the face or neck. It gets the annoying horse to lower the head and back off. It's done and over in a moment. Sometimes, I don't have the luxury of "making the horse work". Horse was doing a specific bad behavior. I correct with a specific corrective singular move. And it's over.
I go low. By this I mean that I correct by putting pressure on the horse below the knee. I do it in graduated levels of pressure from just a formidable energetic presence near the lower legs to all the way contact with a crop, lead or my toe.
What specifically do you do on the lower legs? I can totally picture how a horse would bite at another horse's legs in this case.
I think there was a section of some Black Stallion book that had a solution: A horse that went for body parts was treated to a hot potato tucked up in the groom's sleeve.
Personally, I'd do the habenero experiment. What's the worst that could happen? The "Your feet will have to do the walking if you thought your lips could do the walking" is the right answer, but tiring for the trainer, too. Screw that, if possible.