Nipping more lately - The Horse Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 Old 12-22-2010, 01:47 PM Thread Starter
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Nipping more lately

My OTTB is not getting as much work because we can't ride due to icy conditions right now. Our indoor is being built and wont be ready before February. In the meantime, he goes out with his pasture mate all day on the grassy fields and plays a lot.

He has gotten much more "nippy" lately. I can't tell if its playful because of pent up energy or something is bothering him. He wears his blankets most of the time. My trainer said that the winter coat plus blankets can cause more static which can irritate them. He was much more docile all summer. Sometimes he sort of bites the air like he is "pretending" to bite me. He's never actually done it. He also swishes his tail when he does it.

Is he just feeling good in the cold weather and playing? Should I correct him when he does it? If so, what is the right way to do that? I certainly don't want him to be head-shy.
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post #2 of 10 Old 12-22-2010, 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by SaratogaTB View Post
My OTTB is not getting as much work because we can't ride due to icy conditions right now. Our indoor is being built and wont be ready before February. In the meantime, he goes out with his pasture mate all day on the grassy fields and plays a lot.

He has gotten much more "nippy" lately. I can't tell if its playful because of pent up energy or something is bothering him. He wears his blankets most of the time. My trainer said that the winter coat plus blankets can cause more static which can irritate them. He was much more docile all summer. Sometimes he sort of bites the air like he is "pretending" to bite me. He's never actually done it. He also swishes his tail when he does it.

Is he just feeling good in the cold weather and playing? Should I correct him when he does it? If so, what is the right way to do that? I certainly don't want him to be head-shy.
The only time I had a horse nip is one that were getting fed treats. I never feed treats and do not have a nipping problem. If blankets were making my horse unhappy I wouldn't use them.
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post #3 of 10 Old 12-22-2010, 02:56 PM
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The swishing tail tells me its a little bit of an attitude problem. I havent heard the thing about static, but I do know that its more prevalent now in the winter time.

Regardless of the cause, I would definitely correct this behavior. Nipping for any reason (whether it be to just be plain mean or playing) shouldnt be tolerated, it will only get worse.
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post #4 of 10 Old 12-22-2010, 03:01 PM Thread Starter
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Is a correction a firm tug on the lead shank and a voice command?
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post #5 of 10 Old 12-22-2010, 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by SaratogaTB View Post
Is a correction a firm tug on the lead shank and a voice command?
I would definitely start with something like that. Its really hard to tell someone how to correct a behavior without seeing the horse exhibit the behavior.

Basically, the correction should be in line with the wrong behavior. You don't want to flat out go nuts on him because he swishes his tail and bites the air next to you, but you definitely want him to know that you notice his behavior and you DO NOT agree that its ok.

I would try minimal correcting at first and see how he responds. See if he stops exhibiting the behavior. If he doesnt stop or it gets worse or more intense, then the correction needs to become more intense.

If a horse flat out tries to bite me, you better believe I am making connection with his nose. It may not be a flat out punch, but I will definitely bop him.
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post #6 of 10 Old 12-22-2010, 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by DubyaS6 View Post
I would try minimal correcting at first and see how he responds. See if he stops exhibiting the behavior. If he doesnt stop or it gets worse or more intense, then the correction needs to become more intense.

If a horse flat out tries to bite me, you better believe I am making connection with his nose. It may not be a flat out punch, but I will definitely bop him.
No minimal correcting. If you do it right the first time, there is no need to ever do it again. If a horse attempts to bite, I aim for the mouth area where the bit sits (no teeth) and say QUIT very loudly.
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post #7 of 10 Old 12-22-2010, 03:34 PM
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The only reason I stated not popping him the first time is because in her original description it sounded like maybe he wasnt even trying to bite her...

If he is trying to bite you, then I would definitely do as mls said.
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post #8 of 10 Old 12-22-2010, 03:39 PM Thread Starter
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He has never bitten me or has tried. When I pick his feet or reach under to close his blanket, I can see his head make a move with a little "lip action" as though he is pretending to nip me. He has a little glare in his eye and its almost like he is teasing me. He didnt do this in the summer.
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post #9 of 10 Old 12-22-2010, 11:37 PM
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Ulcers can cause irritable behavior. What is his diet like? How much hay does he get in his stall and what kind?
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post #10 of 10 Old 12-23-2010, 03:13 PM
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It seems he's trying to tell you something, the swishing the tail and the 'threat' of a bite seem like whatever your doing at the time or whats going on at the time upsets or hurt him. What i'd do is look at the situation he's in next time he does it, if its when you move his rug try taking it off or changing it, if its when you pick his feet up check its nothing in his feet. If he's not done this before I can't see a reason for him to start. Also think have management routines or feeds changed? Id look at the cause before trying to stop him with a bop
Good luck
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