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Biting horse...How to stop it??

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  • Biting horse...How to stop it??

    My buddy got this
    filly a little while ago, and we've started her training with the halter (that's right, she bought an un-halter-trained horse!). It was going fine until she learn't the joys of biteing... . She doesn't do it like a regular horse. You can put your hand under her mouth, press it on her lips, rub your sleeve in her face, and she still won't do it. But when I pick up her feet to clean them, boom, right on the but ! And then when I'll be leading her around obsticles, and then through a couple trees in the pasture and just when I don't acpect it, she bite my hand!! And then my shirt a couple times. What can I do to stop her?

  • #2
    Nip it in the bud right away. This is not acceptable behavior, even if she is a young 'un. What I would do is right when she is about to bite you, pop her on the nose. But you HAVE to be quick about it, so that she will associate biting with a smack and not want to do it anymore. Don't let her bite and then wait 5 seconds because then she will not know what the smack is for. Be alert always to give her a reprimanding. Only pop her on the nose, though - do not smack her anywhere else on the face because that will just encourage head shy behavior. A firm "NO!" will probably help reinforce that biting is negative behavior. Good luck. Whatever you do, DON'T let her get away with it.
    Time not spent with horses is time wasted.


    • #3
      I agree with Heart-n-Soul, BUT - I wouldn't pop her on the nose. I would smack her on the neck instead. The last thing you need is a head-shy, biting filly that isn't halter trained!
      "When you ride your last one, make sure he's the best one." -Chris Ledoux


      • #4
        omg !!

        i know this wasn't meant as a humorous post but seriously, i was just reading the post all innocent like, drinking my pepsi, and it was fine, right up untill the "boom, right on the butt" part
        why was this so funny? well because i have a horse (hubbys horse actually) who pokes me in the rear end when ever i clean his feet out, and i could just for that one second so see him giving me a good bite in the cheeks lol
        Little Wishes Pony Parties

        "Cause don't the sunshine lay the brightest on the shoulders of the wild?
        And don't the breeze blow the sweetest on the face of its own child?"

        kris delmhorst


        • #5
          When cleaning out her feet and she turns her face toward who's ever butt is is doing the cleaning, give her an elbow to the mouth as shes moving but just before she connects.. If the timing is right, she will get the feeling she did it to herself, especially if you just continue picking out the foot like nothing happened. a couple of those usually will cure a 'butt biter'


          • #6
            I don't know why the filly would want to bite someone's hand while being led around obstacles but the biting the butt part could be linked to an instinctive reaction of having the legs handled. I say this because I've run into this sort of thing before and it's a natural reaction if the horse hasn't had a lot of leg handling yet.

            Watching horses at play I've seen colts biting at each others legs before. I'm reminded of this when I go to reach down for a youngster's leg and it all of a sudden gets defensive with me. So I get an idea of the motivation and that comes in handy when trying to figure out how to get the horse not to bite/react.

            Another thing about biting could be how this filly sees humans in the "order" of things that concern her. If the humans aren't in the "lead" role biting could be her way of exerting herself as lead horse. So it would be a good idea to straighten that out and direct her vs letting her follow around. When you're not looking she could be pinning her ears and be getting the idea that she's driving you around vs following.

            Anyway, a horse can't bite if its lips can't touch you. So don't allow the filly to invade your space. If she's invited to come closer, that's okay but you would have to PAY ATTENTION the entire time she's that close. If you don't want to pay attention then get her at a safe distance. Until this little deal is worked out, whoever she's around will have to pay attention. It's better to ward off bites vs getting bit and then punishing the horse after the deed was done. That's a bit too late. Preventing a bite would be far safer.



            • #7
              When she nips you. back her up each time she does it. I mean back her to tim-buck-two. Backing is a natural punishment. When you are working on her feet and she does it, either make her bump into your elbow, or you are gonna have to MOVE her...any which way. Just make her feet MOVE....forward, backward, sideways, etc. You want her to know that standing nicely for you is EASIER than nipping at you.
              When you undervalue who you are, the World undervalues what you do.

              When you undervalue what you do, the World undervalues who you are.


              • #8
                Is it possible she's in pain or uncomfortable?

                It seems she only bites when you pick up her legs or lead her around obstacles (I assume circles)... Could she be ouchy somewhere?


                • #9
                  I have found that the best thing for biters is to stay aware. If you are constantly focusing on her and aware of her movements then it will be hard for her to sneak up on you. Set her up to punish herself when she does try. I use the bulb end of a crop for this sort of thing. I just hold it and let them swing htheir muzzle into it. I do nothing. No big reaction just steady eddie me. The horse usually looks very surprised that the biting hurt it and not me. They stop soon if consistant self punishment and very aware handling is applied.


                  • #10
                    Long posting so be warned but in the light of this posting and the one relating to a 2 year old child being bitten in the face, I thought I'd attempt to do it justice and "put my money where my mouth is". You may have seen from my postings that I expressed strong views. I find biting an absolutely unacceptable behaviour in a horse and one that is not to be tolerated in any circumstances.


                    Biting is a classic form of dominant behaviour - horses nip and nibble each other and its too easy for a young horses nibbling to turn into full scale biting and the horse must learn right from the onset that this is unacceptable behaviour.

                    They don't grow out of it, if anything they grow into it, if its not checked then the behaviour becomes worse, so its vital if anyone has a biting horse, that they act as soon as it becomes nippy. Be assured though that its behaviour you can modify even when its become very bad and yours isn't - I've remedially trained some horrifically horrible aggressive biters and its easy to do.

                    The traditional way of dealing with a biting horse is to slap, punch or pinch it immediately as soon as it tries to bite and that is effective but you have to be certain that you can react fast enough to deliver the blow at exactly the right moment. The horse must feel the consequences of his actions at the same moment that she commits the crime. Don't ever just raise your hand and threaten, you must deliver an immediate penalty. A raised hand can cause a horse to just lift his head whenever you put your hand up and this will include when you go to put the bridle on. Oddly though a punch, nip or slap doesn't do that. In my mind the punch, slap is only best used when a horse goes to bite you. And to be honest if any horse ever makes a determined effort to be aggressive and bite me, then it would get a swift, immediate and almighty punch on the nose!

                    In your case though it sounds like there are specific circumstances and so I'm going to suggest another method - which I personally use in addition to the above. Because the above supposes that the horse is already biting - rather than being brought up never to even start biting.

                    Put a headcollar on the horse and grip one side of it as you stroke his face, keep a firm hold on the headcollar, but don't restrict the horse's movement - she must be free to behave badly so you can train her.

                    When she makes a move to turn a nibble into a nip or a bite , push her face sharply out of the way with the hand holding the headcollar and shout NO then bring the head back to you just as quickly and stroke it again. The message you are trying to get across is "behave well and things will be pleasant, behave badly and you will suffer the consequences". By bringing her back to you after the scolding you remain the good guy and don't hold grudges - so you use negative discipline with postive reward.

                    Its really important that the horse knows its YOUR decision to bring its head back to you and it shows that its YOU that controls the situation. If she attempts again, then repeat and be consistent whether or not she actually makes contact or not.

                    When you are satisfied its working, then time to put it to the test - and interestingly from what you have told us, your horse seems to know what to do but is testing you out so it is discipline that is required. Because to put it to the test you quite simply turn your back towards her (but keep an eye on her) Get close so you offer a tempting target and make it easy for her to make that mistake and forget her manners if she's planning to. At the slightest nibble, jab your elbow back so that you bump her nose sharply off course, then turn round and renew your friendship by rubbing her between the eyes.

                    Final test, try putting your fingers into the horse's mouth and rubbing her gums, if you have schooled her properly she will turn down this heaven-sent opportunity to bite and will do so every time from then on.

                    All horses should be trained so that they are totally accepting of this and aside from ensuring you have a safe manageable horse that isn't a liability to you and others, it means that you can, when necessary check her teeth and bitting properly.

                    And finally NEVER believe anyone when they tell you that its normal and suggesting that might mean acceptable for horses to bite or nip and that all horses do that. Quite simply those owners just don't train their horses and their horses don't respect them.

                    p.s. Just to say never reward a horse with treats - for reward a pat on the neck, rub between the eyes and soothing words - if you want to feed treats then put them in the feed bucket with normal food.
                    Last edited by Thomas_1; May. 30, 2006, 10:15 AM.


                    • #11
                      And finally NEVER believe anyone when they tell you that its normal and suggesting that might mean acceptable for horses to bite or nip and that all horses do that. Quite simply those owners just don't train their horses and their horses don't respect them.
                      That goes for so much bad behavior. I just said something similar the other day about people who say "he does X because he's a stallion." No, he does X because you let him.


                      • #12
                        ok dokey -- dont have to hit it dont have be nasty its easy to clean up and get habit gone

                        first always have a hitching rail with a bit of bailtwine tied to it
                        put a lounge line on said horse in the normal way clip it to the head collar
                        runit through the bailing twine and groom siad horse as you groom you give
                        as you brush if it pulls you give with the horse so it doesnt hink it can run off
                        if it does you can yank on the end of it -- when picking out feet and ponies bite
                        collect up line and bend down and shorten it if it goes to bite pull back on line
                        a cuople times hard -- if goes to kick at rear end then have the line so it holds head whilse attending back feet

                        its sycological horse will learn a not bite and not to pull and if it still kick out when doing feet get a lead rope tye it up properly and a hose pipe
                        and hose all legs that kick out -- it can do it till the cows some home it wont hhurt itself as its kicking out at the water eventually it will give up--

                        if it still bites then a little water pistol comes in handy -- squiirt it one in the mush-- only takes acuople squirts


                        • #13
                          agree with thomas but iam am talking about grooming and giving but also being firm -- biting is a naughty habit oh and no tip bits in field for turnout or bring in none in pocket as they can smell them no tip bits do as thomas says reward it with tis diiner and tip bits in itss feed bowl and have no feeding signs on door and agtes to stables so your in full charge of her not biting

                          also if she lunging over stbale door put a bar up nose high so she cant bite others or lunge at people this will also trian her to back away from door when you enter the stsable as you say back when you walk in --

                          back is a useful command word


                          • Original Poster

                            [QUOTE=Phaxxton]Is it possible she's in pain or uncomfortable?

                            It seems she only bites when you pick up her legs or lead her around obstacles (I assume circles)... Could she be ouchy somewhere?[/QUOTE

                            Actualy, It is just anywhere she doesn't think is appropriate to go. for example, if she hears a horse niker in another paddock, she will nip me and tug in the other direction. She doesn't always bite when I clean her feet. She's a very umm... "different" horse. She has her good days and bad. She somehow reminds me of a spiolt rotten little kid sometimes. Some days she will nip me and then try and kick me when I lift up her feet, and oither days she'll be fine and a bit more relaxed. I've already had a farrier come out and look at her feet, he said that her feet are fine though.


                            • #15
                              horsesrme -- not so-- like yours not so - if you let a horse bite or nip you it will turn into a vice which is as thomas says unacceptable behaviour
                              it s like you putting a baby to bed but wakes up so you let it stay up intime you cant get him to bed aand later in life that child then misbehaves moreso becuase it got away with it when a baby so that take it that one bit further until they out of control and want and dont listen to whome is boss of the household as they have learnt in time to push you wher they want you to be--hence the way some kids are today -- same to of the horse--
                              you arnt ruling you are being ruled not good-- iam the boss and alpha mare


                              • #16
                                If she's kicking out too then she's bad mannered and doesn't respect you and needs training and discipline for bad behaviour and positive praise too for good behaviour


                                • #17
                                  Haven't read the rest of the posts, but nip it i the bud.

                                  My mare one day when I was saddling her, she bit me right above my knee. I punished her for it. She tried it only one other time when I was messing with her mane and she got punished for it again. Never again has she even thought about biting me. I showed her the first time that is totally and completely unacceptable behaviour.

                                  Always be paying close attention and let her/him know it is unacceptale to bite a human.
                                  I love cats, I love every single cat....
                                  So anyway I am a cat lover
                                  And I love to run.


                                  • #18
                                    Sounds to me like the behavior appears when she would rather do something else or BE somewhere else. This doesn't sound like the "ideal" horse/human relationship yet if the filly is trying to say what's what. Keep working towards a better, healthier relationship so that she WANTS to be WITH you no matter what else is going on. When she's with you, it's on YOUR time, not her's. She'll have HER time when she's turned loose.

                                    If you KNOW when she's more likely to bite you, you can prevent it from happening.

                                    I bought a mare that was known to lash out and grab with her teeth. This wasn't some little nippy thing either. She could do some damage if she had it in mind to do. You wanna bet I'm VERY aware of what's going on when I'm working with or around her. I have a feeling her biting came about because she started off being owned by greenies as a baby. They probably had no buisness owning a horse much less a baby one but that's how it was. If anyone is the least bit wimpy or timid with her, she'll suddenly turn nasty and lunge at them with teeth going for flesh. She is better around self-confident people with horse sense. You can ask her to yeild way and she will but if you're trying to BS her, she sees right through the facade and watch out!

                                    You can keep from turning this filly into such a monster. Be the boss hoss so she doesn't assume the position for herself with you or anyone else. However, don't fake it or she'll know it.



                                    • #19
                                      Biting is aggression and that is that. It's right up there with kicking and striking. All these things are a no-no in my world and I don't tolerate it. Quite frankly I don't really care WHY they do it (I understand why, I just am not going to analyze it at that moment!) they are going to get punished for it. I do the classic 3 second kill. For three seconds, they think they are going to DIE. That's what their herd friends do, that's what I do. Then I just go back to whatever we were doing, like it never happened.

                                      I rarely have a second occurence.
                                      "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
                                      The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.


                                      • #20
                                        Let her whiskers grow out a little, and then pluck one every time she threatens to bite. It shouldn't take long for her to realize that it stings a little when she nips at you.