Help! She chews on EVERYTHING! Yearling filly. Chews on ropes (attached to other horses' halters, if they're being saddled while tied to the fence), chains on gates, some wood, horse face masks, blankets - or anything we don't want her chewing on! We had to rig a special wood/wire/chicken wire cover for the stock tank heater which thankfully keeps her from chewing on the heater and cord. But - make her stop!
On the racetrack I used to paint horses' leg bandages with a concoction of soap/hot pepper/stuff to stop them from chewing on their bandages, but that's kind of a pain to run around painting everything from this filly, and picking up after people leaving their ropes temporarily tied on the fence. And some horses liked the taste of that stuff anyway!
You know that while it might be a stage she grows out, she might not and it's her personality, right?
DH's good mare is a pest. She has broken her third water heater in a year, and we've discovered a new kind that goes in through the drain plug to use now. And if DH is outside working on something, she will take it and leave. Her niece, DH's new filly, is the same way. His older mare is 10, the filly is coming three. I don't anticipate either of them growing out of it.
My gelding is insanely oral. He licks and chews on anything that doesn't move or try to kill him (cough, my mare, she hates him and won't let him near her because of it). He will pick up and chew on anything left near him, he plays with blankets and leadropes on the gate, my hoodie I hung up, sticks or dried weeds he finds on the ground, anything. He's four, five next year. I don't think he'll change. And despite some warnings from friends, he has shown NO inclination to trying out cribbing like my mare, though I've seen him grab a post...he gives up.
COTH's official mini-donk enabler
"I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl
With a yearling, I would still keep hopes high that it is just a phase, especially extreme chewing you describe.
Our first mini chewed like crazy, when he first came as a little under two years old. Grab, chew, grind, and this would include my jacket, my hair, my ears- if he could get to that.
I attributed it to the teething and exploratory spirit.
Everything was a major PITA. He could not stand still for grooming, because he was too busy screwing around with a rope or the post. It was like opening a can of worms and having them crawl all over the place.
He eventually outgrew it. He is almost a model citizen now, as he is busy putting our new mini in place.
So the PITA title has transferred to our second mini now, two year old, uncut. The same thing, maybe even little worse. I expect him to outgrow it, too.
These "training" techniques helped me a lot, but they probably won't be your cup of tea.
I trained him to stand still for grooming using treats- lots of positive reinforcement for standing still for even a mili-second at the beginning (no fussing and chewing).
I taught him tricks to pick up things, but only on command. I did it daily. It seemed to help to get that chewing & grabbing re-channeled.
I provided a lot of turnout, albeit in a muzzle, so that he could get his "oral fixation" satisfied.
I left "stuff" to chew on in the paddock- mostly wood and tires. He did not swallow.
I still do have a minor problem with all three of our horses and that is little nibbling on the fences, when in a paddock overnight. I attribute that to the boredom.
Don't underestimate the value of doing nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can't hear, and not bothering. - A.A.Milne