Hey all - I have been riding a lady's Shire draft horse for almost two years now. She hired me to ride him twice a week just because she doesn't have a whole lot of time to ride and wanted him to get some regular exercise. I've grown up around Quarter Horses, and have never been around a draft horse before to know what their personalities are like. "Prince Albert" as he is called, is very grabby with his lips. I have heard this is sort of a typical behavior with a lot of draft horses, but I have no idea. Every time I walk by him or put my hand close to his head while saddling or anything, he tries to nip at me with his lips, or grab the brush out of my hand, or anything he can get a hold of. He is not trying to bite me, it is more of an automatic reaction to reach out whenever something comes close enough that he can reach! I don't know if there is any way to help curb this behavior, or if it is just natural in this breed. Any tips would be appreciated! On a side note - he is also very pushy with his head - tries to rip the lead rope or reins out of my hands all the time. We're working on this one though, and I have seen some improvement! (The picture below is Albert and I, just so you can see what he looks like!)
Is he actually biting?
My half Shire mare does the same 'lip grab' thing to absolutely everything, but never bites, so I let her do it. Her mother (the shire) also does it. . .so I guess its just a draft thing?
It's nothing more than bad manners and wasn't corrected a long time ago when it should of been. Drafts are no more mouthy than any other horse. I think the real problem is because of their size, the handlers tend to back off and give them space instead of making the horse back off, not crowd and run over the person. I would also suspect he is hand fed treats. If you feed him carrots or cookies put it in a feed pan and never let him frisk you for treats.
I do agree...the owner is a very petite little woman who is not very strict with him...I have been working on correcting a number of "bad" behaviors since I started riding him...I will continue to "bop" him on the nose like I have been doing :)