does anyone know? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 01-04-2007, 12:59 PM Thread Starter
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does anyone know?

just recently our horses started to chew on lead ropes. now, that isn't really strange. but they practically try to swallow them. they try and put the whole rope into their mouths. they chew too. it's really weird. i don't understand why they are doing that. and they are getting enough salt because they have salt and mineral blocks in their stalls and pastures. and it isn't boredom because they just recently started to do this. all of them have. does anyone know why they are doing this?

thanks everyone.
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post #2 of 8 Old 01-04-2007, 06:00 PM
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A horse I use to ride started the same thing, chewing on the lead rop with he was tied up....eventually freeing himself, once he had discovered he could free himself he always done it...I suppose its attention also, because he wanted to go back into his field after a long ride out maybe.

But putting a whole lead rope in his mouth he never done....Im a bit confused at that! Sorry I wasnt much help!! :)
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post #3 of 8 Old 01-04-2007, 11:24 PM
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is he putting the end of the lead rope in his mouth?

If they just recently started, they may have just recently started getting bored when they were tied up....Try and see if you can almost get there attention away from it and see if that will help. For example the horse starts chewing on his lead rope, so go up to his face and brush his face for a second, or just pet his face, even start braiding his forelock, do something new so he goes oh, thats new..and puts his attention from that.

I can see though that you think its not boredom so I will go to my barn tomorrow and see if anyone has ideas of what it could be from!
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post #4 of 8 Old 01-05-2007, 11:17 AM
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How old are your horses? If they are young'uns, they will sometime pick this behavior up =)

I wouldn't blame lack of mineral, but good on ya for thinking about that (a lot of horse owners dont understand how important the mineral licks are!)

Were the halters always where they are now? Or did you just start leaving them out there? Are they usually really lippy and licky when you pet them?

Skippy!, my first horse (and current like.. ruler of the 7, lol) Likes to snoot around in manure, occasionally nibbling a nugget.. he likes to lick the dust off of his pipe corral, chew lead ropes, eat wood, chew buckets, and lick rocks. My dad and were absolutely stupified. He had a mineral lick, and was getting a supplement bucket on top of that. We asked the vet when he came out to give vaccinations.. and he asked questions, all of which were options we had already done.. and he said something to the effect of "Well, i think your horse is very oral, and just enjoys feeling the world through his mouth". A very interesting point of view! lol!

The one thing i would really advise you to be careful of, is make sure your lead ropes are securely tied to the fence/pipe corral in a safe way. Just incase one of them chews and pulls enough of it off to paw at it and get stuck, or entangled.

I hope that helps ya out some =)

-Skippy! The Wonder Horse!
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post #5 of 8 Old 01-05-2007, 04:15 PM Thread Starter
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our horses are 7, 9, and 10. we will try what you guys have suggested. thanks you guys for the help! we really appreciate it.
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post #6 of 8 Old 03-07-2007, 09:38 AM
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Maby they're just hungry, are you feeding them enough?
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post #7 of 8 Old 03-07-2007, 10:30 PM
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To get them to stop try putting lemon juice or vinegar in some water and putting the lead ropes in to soak for a while. Then take them out and let them dry. Next time the horses try to chew they get a nasty taste in their mouths and realise it's not a very good idea to chew the lead ropes!

Riding a horse is not a gentle hobby, to be picked up and laid down like a game of solitaire. It is a grand passion. It seizes a person whole and, once it has done so, he will have to accept that his life will be radically changed.
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post #8 of 8 Old 03-08-2007, 01:26 AM
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Three things come to mind.
Animals familiarize with things through sight, smell, hearing, touch and taste. Generally taste rules over touch, for obvious reasons. Horses are common to lick chew and taste things for familiarity. We touch things with our hands more so then tasting things, a horse is the opposite for the lack of arms. When an owner is really puzzled over a horse mouthing things, I don't think they realize the concept that horses are very orally prone. It's of course good to analyze a horse's diet to see if a mineral or vitamin is insufficient, but it may very well be just a mouthy horse.
With that said, when a horse eats hay they continue to chew until there is no longer any more food in the mouth. They keep feeding the hay through their mouth until they choose to move on or the supply runs out. The horse may just be naturally feeding things through his mouth by habitual eating, causing him to seem as if he's wanting to eat the entire lead.
And third, like said, this sounds like a case of boredom. Don't be so surprised how quickly horse's learn one another's habits. After all, they are very observant due to their natural instincts and a bad habit may be being passed around the barn like a case of the flu. If it bothers you, I also recommend the vinegar/lemon trick.
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