Annoying behavior - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 09-05-2009, 03:09 PM Thread Starter
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Annoying behavior

I have an 11 yr old horse that I have owned and ridden for 5 yrs. I only use him for trail riding and that's all he's been used for his entire life. I ride him in a curb bit, which he has been ridden in since before I bought him. Recently when we have been riding he has started this annoying behavior of chomping or biting on the bit. His teeth were floated this spring and I haven't changed anything as far as tack. He seems to be fine when we are out by ourselves but once another horse is riding beside us or behind us it's as if he becomes competitive with them and then the behavior starts. It seems to take his attention off of me and even his ears are pinned back. I have let him be the leader and also have made him be the tail end during our trail rides. He just started this behavior this past year. It's more annoying than anything, but he also seems to lose his focus while doing this. Any suggestions?
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post #2 of 10 Old 09-05-2009, 03:24 PM
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I would still get his teeth checked again. Sometimes something can be missed with the initial floating.

Also, if it happens only when riding with other horses - I would do my best to get his mind off the other horse. Don't just mosey along the trail - make him work. Weave through trees, go over logs, turn around and head back the other way down the trail for a bit before turning back, sidepasses, backing up, circling, serpentines, etc. Make him work and MAKE him focus on you when he starts this.

All I pay my psychiatrist is cost of feed and hay, and he'll listen to me any day!

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post #3 of 10 Old 09-05-2009, 03:32 PM Thread Starter
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Oh trust me I make him work. The behavior can persist the whole time we are out on a group outing trail riding. He usually ends up soaking wet from sweat. I just don't understand because we have always went trail riding with friends and never had a problem. After he had his teeth floated he started acting somewhat better, but now he is right back to square one.
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post #4 of 10 Old 09-05-2009, 03:42 PM Thread Starter
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Oh I forgot to add that sometimes it's as if he gets so mad then he shakes his head and starts grunting at me. He still minds me under saddle and does what I ask of him.
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post #5 of 10 Old 09-05-2009, 04:38 PM
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As odd as it sounds I had the exact same issue with my gelding. It took me months to figure out what I could try seeing as how it was my first time ever training. Eventually it hit me to try using different bits. I went from a snaffle to a grazing bit. The behavior stopped for a while but not long. When he started it again, he also started throwing his head and snorting like your horse. Switching bits again I took something into consideration, my horse has a smaller mouth. So the curb I bought was extremely light weight. This solved the chomping and biting issue, but he kept shaking his head and such. Thats when I took something else into consideration, he has a longer neck. The horse I had learned to ride on was short necked so I got use to having shorter reins. With my reins pulled up I was making constant contact on his mouth thus irritating him. After giving him more rein he stopped throwing his head, and even stopped rubber necking.

Also if you say it only happens around other horses you may be wrong, (not saying you are ) I thought the same thing because he didnt do it constantly, but I was wrong.

Im not sure if any of this could apply to you but if your horse has a smaller mouth try a lighter weight curb bit and if hes long necked give him more rein, esspecially if hes well behaved. Past that i would go with the Cat's suggestion and get his teeth checked again. You never know what someone might have missed in their mouth.

Horses Will Listen...Even When No One Else Could Possibly Understand...
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post #6 of 10 Old 09-06-2009, 11:17 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the tip. I have tried giving him a looser rein and it does help somewhat. But I'll try using a different bit.
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post #7 of 10 Old 09-06-2009, 01:29 PM
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Yeah, as Pidge stated, just try a new bit, he may have only been tolerating the bit for that long time, and now he is sick of it, or maybe something about that certain curb just bothers him.
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post #8 of 10 Old 09-06-2009, 03:59 PM
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How light are your hands? How much experience have you had riding with a curb?
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post #9 of 10 Old 09-09-2009, 01:16 AM Thread Starter
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I have very light hands. In fact I don't let anyone else ride him for that reason because he can be sensitive. Then again sometimes he can be very stubborn as well and I do have to be more assertive. He is the only horse I ride in a curb bit, all the others I ride in a tom thumb snaffle.
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post #10 of 10 Old 09-09-2009, 01:19 AM Thread Starter
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Then again keep in mind too that I have had this horse for 5 yrs. Have been riding him in the same bit, bridle, saddle, etc and with the same amount of pressure from my hands. The behavior just recently started within the last year so I don't feel that it is me causing this behavior. ?? I don't apply any more pressure with my hands than I did 5 yrs ago.
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