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Horse bites at bridles/halter

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  • Horse bites at bridles/halter

    When we bought Mikey he has been somewhat spoiled by the last owner. Who should have known better but anyhoo--

    Due to school & life Im now working with him. Weve worked on the sideways biting at me but theres this other little thing. When you bridle or halter he tries to lip the sides of whatever. Its not anything mean just being a baby.

    I dont want to make Mikey headshy but its a heck of a lot easier to bridle when he takes the bit instead of the side peices!

    Help!
    “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” Peter Drucker

  • #2
    Rode a horse like that. He'd always reach for the cheekpieces of the bridle (never the halter ) rather than for the bit. He also would chew on any stray bit of leather that was within tooth reach. Made tacking him up a bit challenging, especially since he was a 4th level dressage horse with the requisite full bridle. One rider found out just how creative he was about reaching his "chew toys", after coming back from a potty break and finding that the horse had managed to reach both his bridle reins and personalized them. Owner was NOT pleased!

    That said, this horse didn't bit at people. I think you're going to have to make Mikey a little more respectful, but I wouldn't think you need to smack him in the face at this point. Just be persistent about guiding the bit or the opening of the halter toward his mouth, no matter what he does. Then, if he still persists, take the halter or bridle completely away, and then reprimand him. Be consistent with your demands, and he'll come around. He sounds like a pretty smart cookie.
    In loving memory of Laura Jahnke.
    A life lived by example, done too soon.
    www.caringbridge.org/page/laurajahnke/

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    • #3
      When you get Mikey trained, can you come work on my horse? In the course of bridling him, he will have the cheek piece, the caveson, and the throat latch in his mouth. Then once bridled, he goes desperately searching for the reins. Which, once found, he GRiNDS in his front teeth.

      One thing that does help is getting the caveson, throat latch, and anything else up in my right hand leaving only the cheek pieces and bit in harms way.
      Get the bit in your left hand, run your hand down the front of his nose, then insert bit quickly. No dangling anything... it only makes it look more intriguing.
      ::Sometimes you have to burn a few bridges to keep the crazies from following you::

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      • #4
        I had a horse that bit the bridle cheekpiece while bridling. He was the kindest most gentle horse I've known, and in his case it was his way of playing a horsey joke. You could see the twinkle in his eye as you realized what he did (he was very subtle -- I never saw him bite, I just couldn't raise the bridle up any higher). I would laugh and say you goose, and then he'd let me go on with the bridling.

        Not to say your horse isn't spoiled (esp. if biting at YOU!).
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        • Original Poster

          #5
          Dunno if hes biting at me or just making "conversation". He pretends a lot. Hes never actually bitten me. Therefore he still has teeth. Thats one thing I wont tolerate. Of many.

          I have the same problem smf. Hes a big boy and I have to hold bridle & caveson in one hand and bit in the other. I need a 3rd hand to run down his nose!
          “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” Peter Drucker

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          • #6
            Mine is big too! The left hand with the bit runs down the nose. Don't just dangle it out in front, then reach for the bit. Have the bit under control at all times.

            Of course, when I think I have everything under control, that's when he reaches around and starts tickling my tummy with his big ole lip. Really, he thinks this is hysterical!
            ::Sometimes you have to burn a few bridges to keep the crazies from following you::

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            • #7
              My 4-year-old does this and it is not in any way mean. He grabs the halter, nose cavesson, reins, whatever. Nothing can be hung outside his stall or he will destroy it. I've seen him walking around the field with a branch in his mouth.
              "Can you imagine what I would do if I could do all I can?" Sun Tzu, The Art of War
              Rainy
              Stash

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              • Original Poster

                #8
                Originally posted by SmartAlex View Post
                Mine is big too! The left hand with the bit runs down the nose. Don't just dangle it out in front, then reach for the bit. Have the bit under control at all times.

                Of course, when I think I have everything under control, that's when he reaches around and starts tickling my tummy with his big ole lip. Really, he thinks this is hysterical!
                So bring bit down from earn not up from ground!

                I can see Mikey doing the same with his lip. Are we great big toys to them?
                “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” Peter Drucker

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                • #9
                  Some horses are very mouthy. I fail to see the problem as long as they are not biting people.

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                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    I dont care if he mouths the crossties/stirrup irons/my foot. It is harder to bridle this way tho.
                    “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” Peter Drucker

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                    • #11
                      OK, I just got back from a ride, and paid special attention when I was bridling Grey, and it was a huge disaster... worse than usual, so it's only fair I report back.

                      I carefully put the nose of the caveson, throat latch, and right rein on top of the crown, and gripped in in my right hand. Dropped the halter. Grey takes the opportunity to crane his neck around right to check out what's goin on down the aisle. I grab his nose with my left hand and haul him back in. He attacks my stomach with his lip (no biting) tickling for all he's worth. I fight my way out from behind his head, tangling myself in the reins. Get ahold of the bit in my left hand and bring the whole mess in front of his fidgeting face. Right wrist rests on his forehead and left hand with bit tries to capture the tickler. He grabs the bit from me and obligingly puts his head down to knee height snuffling at my half chaps. I haul him in again dropping the caveson down and fumbling with the throat latch. Somehow, the right rein (which I had up along the crown) is now also behind the bit, under the caveson, and all the way through his mouth. Grey frantically gropes for the left rein while I determine the right rein is irretrievable. Consider starting over... Find the buckle somewhere under his jaw. Unwrap the rein from the bit and fight with the caveson buckle. Grey gazes innocently out the window wondering why his human is so inept.
                      ::Sometimes you have to burn a few bridges to keep the crazies from following you::

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by JohnDeere View Post
                        I dont care if he mouths the crossties/stirrup irons/my foot. It is harder to bridle this way tho.
                        Mouthing the stirrup iron is one thing I do NOT allow. Many years ago I had one grab the stirrup and get it hung on her lower jaw - I saw it coming and thank gawd jumped off her back - just in time for her to panic and try to flip over backward, then commenced to frantic circling, clearing out the ingate at the show I was attending....... We were saved by VA horseman Bobby Jones who jumped in and rescued the mare before she did any permanent damage to herself. VERY SCARY.
                        "Can you imagine what I would do if I could do all I can?" Sun Tzu, The Art of War
                        Rainy
                        Stash

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                        • #13
                          Use an old bridle (if you have one) and rub cayenne pepper or something he finds horribly distasteful on the inside straps.

                          Put peppermint or something he *does* like on the bit.

                          Let him mouth the wrong parts. Say, "NO!" when he does. The taste will reinforce your, "no". The good taste will reinforce the bit part.

                          Do the same for anything else he likes to grab.

                          Eileen
                          Mad Mare™ Studio
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                          http://MadMare.com

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                          • #14
                            Can we trade horses?

                            Originally posted by JohnDeere View Post
                            When we bought Mikey he has been somewhat spoiled by the last owner. Who should have known better but anyhoo--

                            Due to school & life Im now working with him. Weve worked on the sideways biting at me but theres this other little thing. When you bridle or halter he tries to lip the sides of whatever. Its not anything mean just being a baby.

                            I dont want to make Mikey headshy but its a heck of a lot easier to bridle when he takes the bit instead of the side peices!

                            Help!
                            You have it easy, if that's all your darling does! My old hunter is incorrigible, I've given up trying to out wit his efforts to grab/destroy any thing I'm putting on his head. He's too quick, no sooner do I yank a cheek piece out, he's got the cavesson or a rein. I won't use any of my good halters or bridles on this brat. BUT WAIT! It gets better!

                            He's so oral he'll actually dip his nose in, real quick, and snatch a rein while we're on a ride! When he thinks we've been out long enough, or some comand is annoying him, he will snatch a rein and bomb off with it clutched in his teeth. Lucky for me, he's too lame and slow to do any real damage, so he's pretty easy to bring back around. It's just his trick, he's a clown in every way, will never give it up. Sure makes tacking and riding, and untacking him an adventure. But I love him dearly, I'll just live with it!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              You guys aren't giving me much hope for my 4 year old! I was hoping he'd grow out of it............... Oral just doesn't begin to describe him. If it's within reach of his mouth, it's in his mouth, and it doesn't matter what it is. He is really good at clearing off shelves, unpacking grooming boxes, removing his buddy's fly mask etc etc. I can't count how often I say 'drop it' to him on the average day. I've given up trying to get after him for anything, it's really quite pointless, you could chase him around yelling and screaming like a madwoman for a half hour, and one minute after you stop, he'll be back at it.

                              One thing I will say is, he was the easiest horse in the world to bit up for the first time! I put it in front of his mouth and he grabbed it with such enthusiasm. It really was quite priceless to see the confused, annoyed look in his eyes however when he realized that he couldn't just spit it back out

                              Do you throw your reins over his neck when you bridle, or are they hanging down in front? If in front, try throwing them over his neck, he'll have to reach further to grab them and maybe it'll give you a split second longer to get the job done. I too, will never ever bother buying a 'good bridle' for this horse. I can get my guy's on easy enough, but I do have to be like a lightening bolt doing up the throat latch or its gone.

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                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Smartalex when will the video go on utube?
                                “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” Peter Drucker

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by 2bayboys View Post
                                  Mouthing the stirrup iron is one thing I do NOT allow. Many years ago I had one grab the stirrup and get it hung on her lower jaw - I saw it coming and thank gawd jumped off her back - just in time for her to panic and try to flip over backward, then commenced to frantic circling, clearing out the ingate at the show I was attending....... We were saved by VA horseman Bobby Jones who jumped in and rescued the mare before she did any permanent damage to herself. VERY SCARY.
                                  They allus find ways to get hurt dont they?
                                  “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” Peter Drucker

                                  Comment

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