Battle Wounds... - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 01-25-2010, 11:24 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Alabama
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Battle Wounds...

Well it finally happened... Titan, My 20 yr old OTTB rescue horse finally actually BIT me...after weeks of threatening (bearing teeth, stomping feet, lunging at us) he really did it...

He's become VERY food aggressive, and we've been trying to work with him by being very gentle and showing him that we weren't going to take away all the food we had just given him. He was doing very well up until Saturday...
I'll have to get a picture and post it, Its about the size of a baseball on my upper arm, very pretty, all black and blue. Thankfully I had a sweater on, or he'd have probably broken skin.

Was just wondering if anyone had any ideas.. He's a great horse when no food is involved.
I cant Blame him for being food aggressive, he was a 1 on the Body condition scale when we got him, but now he's obviously become dangerous.
I'm at a loss as to what to do. When we work with him he's fine, Rides good, but feed him, and he turns in to 17 hands of pure devil horse.
Should I let him stay this way? Just not go anywhere near him when he eats? I feel like I need to stop this, but I dont want to make it worse.
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post #2 of 7 Old 01-25-2010, 01:06 PM
Join Date: Aug 2009
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You should keep an eye on him and protect yourself from getting bitten again. I would never give the horse any feed in hand or have feed around when I was handling him. If you want to work on it go into a large pen so the horse has room to move away and use a stick or a dressage whip as an extension of your arm to move the horse away from his feed. When he stands calmly away then mave and let him back to his feed. Most impotantly don't let his mouth anywhere near you for any reason.

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post #3 of 7 Old 01-25-2010, 04:06 PM
Join Date: May 2009
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^^^ Agreed. I don't think talking calmly and trying to coo at him is going to get your point across. He's not interested in being pet while eating, his concern is to get you away, whatever the cost.

You need to either accept the quirk and never handle him during feeding (not something I would personally do) or address it quick before he escalates. A big pen with a flake or two in the center would work best. When he starts getting aggressive, move him out - make his aggression into work. Once he's not charging at you teeth bared, happy to stand at a distance and not challenge you, allow him in to eat - but like kevinshorses said, stay out of bite/kicking range. If he gets uppity again and tries to get you out of there, move him out again.

Going to take patience and alot of sessions, but he'll be a safer animal for it in the end.

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post #4 of 7 Old 01-25-2010, 04:09 PM
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I agree with the above posters, being passive about this is not going to solve your problem at all and leaving him be like that will only ever provide you with more problems later down the road.
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post #5 of 7 Old 01-25-2010, 04:12 PM
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^^ I agree with both of the above; Don't deal with this situation, and someone who isn't as familiar with him WILL get more injured than you did.

When it comes to challenging, biting, and kicking, I DO NOT tolerate the habits; I figure out a way that works with the individual horse to get my point across that I am in charge at all times NOT him. Yes, he was starved, but he's not now, so there is NO reason to simply 'baby' the that is all it has become, a bad, and very dangerous habit.

"The ideal horseman has the courage of a lion, the patience of a saint, and the hands of a woman..."
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post #6 of 7 Old 01-25-2010, 05:08 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Alabama
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I guess I should have been a bit more specific.

He's only this way in his stall. If I place the hay out the pasture he's fine. I can brush, pick feet, mess with ears, etc. with no problems. Its only when he's in his stall that theres a problem.
I'm kind of worried about putting all 125 lbs of me in an enclosed stall with him. Call me chicken, but as I've gotten older, bumbs and bruises take longer to heal.
I think I'm going to start carrying my dressage bat, and just everytime he luges the door smack him in the nose with it. Sounds harsh, but the dern horse has to learn.
He's my first rescue, and let me tell you, I love him to death and would rather he be a lawn ornament for the rest of his life than see him go off to auction or something, but I worry about him hurting someone else.
I HAVE to feed him grain in his stall since my NSH will bully him and eat it all, which may have to with his food aggression in he first place.
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post #7 of 7 Old 01-25-2010, 05:26 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Sep 2009
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Do not feed him in his stall then. Take the opportunity for the behavior to happen away. Even if it is just to the outside of his stall, that gives you much more room to escape should he become aggressive and more room to work with him. Try feeding him in the pasture, that way when he acts the least bit aggressive move him away and make him work.

By feeding him in the stall and then just hitting him when he is aggressive IMO reinforces that bad behavior because to him sure enough when you are close to him when he eats, something bad happens. Not only that but it could cause him to be stall aggressive too...

Tie the other horse up or place HIM in a stall while you work with your aggressive boy.

If you want to stop this dangerous situation(and you need to) you will have to put some time and work into it and be willing to do what you have to to get it done.

Ω Horses are a projection of peoples dreams Ω
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