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  • Why does my horse bite the stall bars

 
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    12-11-2009, 10:52 AM
  #41
Foal
Biting is absolutely the most dangerous habit a horse can get. Lots of reasons--most are "I don't want to" but as always check for physical problems first-back, feet, mouth etc. Lots of ways to fix it but all require changing the habit. No striking in the face--no no. Chance the venue on him and don't let him win. He will only change the habit when it is clear that this behaviour will get him exactly what he doesn't want--more hard work and sweat than normal.
     
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    12-11-2009, 11:14 PM
  #42
Foal
Its great to see that I am not the only one that has a horse who's favorite food can be human flesh. When I first got her I knew that she was protective of her stall, but as far as I know she has never had any reason to be food aggressive she had always been her stall. Well when I got her I sent her out to the pasture to make new friends where she was on round bails. Her attitude changed for the better and I was thrilled. Recently I have moved her inside to be trained and I can really tell when she doesn't get riden in couple days because she has the biggest attitude ever. She has bitten my badly once and tried a second time. The first time I didn't have the time to hit her but the second time I did. My concern is that if she doesn't stop this and I keep hitting her I fear her becoming head shy and I don't want that at all but I don't want a biting horse either. I think her main problem is that she doesn't always get enough excersise. Any Ideas?
     
    12-11-2009, 11:46 PM
  #43
Trained
To the above poster -- If you think her main problem is she isn't being exercised enough, start exercising her more. O_O

Quote:
Originally Posted by QtrHorse    
The behavior modification techinique that I found most humane and easy for my horse to understand was simply to make it impossible for him to follow through on the action. As I do not know the extent of this horse's behavioral problems it is difficult to offer specific techniques to use. I can only share what worked for us.

For my horse's biting, the use of short tying and bending opposite techniques worked well. He was accepting of that and did not resist. Some horses will resist and create a very difficult situation.

During the final girthing and mounting, I simply pick up my right rein and turn his nose to 2PM, keeping the rein taught, I girth and get on. This works well as I usually walk him down the road for the final tightening and mounting.

Another technique I used for a while was I made a piece of leather, measured the distance from my girth ring to the offside bit ring, with a clip in both ends. One of the clips I attached to the bit ring and the other I attached to the offside of my saddle girth. His head was kept nose straight and he was not able to turn his head to the near side and get me. Once on, I simply disconnected it and put it in my saddle bag.

For the cow kicking which he attempted during the girthing process, I simply used a looped rope which I slipped over his back right leg, under his pastern, and brought it up and over his back, lifting the leg so it was off the ground and he could not kick me with his near leg.

As our saddling process became a more pleasureable experience for him, he reduced his biting attempts and the kicking stopped completely. However, I found it important to keep it a "business like" process that he could expect was going to happen as part of our normal routine. I do not draw it out, oooh and aaah over him, give treats, etc. It just happens in a manner which is respectful for both of us. He gets a kind word and a nice ride as a result of his cooperation which he seems to accept as a great reward.

I do not hand feed this horse treats. He is not allowed to extend his mouth in my direction or approach me unless invited to do so.

Also, one of the strange things I have found is that when I avoid extended direct eye contact with his "evil eye", I notice a softening of his character much more quickly than not. That does not mean that I am not aware of his every possible intention. I simply make a quick eye contact, disconnect and get to business. He seems to accept that I am not interested in his intimidation techniques. This has worked much better than standing back and doing a long visual assessment as to how to approach the situation, during which time he is watching me and plotting his next move.

As a handler and rider, my first and foremost concern is that we both stay safe!
Wow, thanks so much for posting that! I wanted to hear how people handled that. Also, thanks especially for saying that particular horse never gets fed by hand. So many people hand-feed their horses and get mad/upset/confused when their horse starts getting mouthy.

Just one question. Your techniques are great, definitely worth doing for a habitual biter, but what did you do the first time your horse tried to bite you? Or what would you do? How do you react in the moment? Just ignore it and then start applying your techniques?
     
    01-04-2010, 11:17 PM
  #44
Foal

This on top of three scars I have from my horse biting.
Plus numerous times that it didn't scar.

My horse bites if you try to pet him through his stall bars,
So I assumed it was territorial.
But he also nips at you if you are putting him the cross ties,
So if he gets close I'll bring him out with a chain lead rope.
Then he tries getting you when you groom and tack up,
Figured he was ticklish, so try to be gentle.
I've only smacked him a few times,
Don't want him to become head shy so try not to.
He bites you when you put his blanket on too.
Honestly, I don't know what to do.
Need help!! PLEASE!
     
    01-05-2010, 08:41 AM
  #45
Yearling
Wow that's some serious biting!
     
    01-05-2010, 09:33 AM
  #46
Green Broke
Wow its amazing the damage they can cause. Hunter went to the trainers last Thursday and one of his issues is nipping - as he is ony 2 I'm hoping to stop this behavior now. He tries to nip in the cross ties and when being groomed too and his worst time is dinner time - he has some serious food aggression. I am hoping that she can help him overcome these issues. He seems to be improving with daily work - only been 4 days though.

Also, one of the strange things I have found is that when I avoid extended direct eye contact with his "evil eye", I notice a softening of his character much more quickly than not. That does not mean that I am not aware of his every possible intention. I simply make a quick eye contact, disconnect and get to business. He seems to accept that I am not interested in his intimidation techniques. This has worked much better than standing back and doing a long visual assessment as to how to approach the situation, during which time he is watching me and plotting his next move.

That's funny I found the same thing with Hunter. If I don't look at his "evil eye" he is pretty calm and lets me pet his face without ears back and trying to nip.
     
    01-05-2010, 10:02 AM
  #47
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by horsexquad    
YouTube - My Worst Horse Injury (Bite)

This on top of three scars I have from my horse biting.
Plus numerous times that it didn't scar.

My horse bites if you try to pet him through his stall bars,
So I assumed it was territorial.
But he also nips at you if you are putting him the cross ties,
So if he gets close I'll bring him out with a chain lead rope.
Then he tries getting you when you groom and tack up,
Figured he was ticklish, so try to be gentle.
I've only smacked him a few times,
Don't want him to become head shy so try not to.
He bites you when you put his blanket on too.
Honestly, I don't know what to do.
Need help!! PLEASE!


Stay out of the way of his mouth. Tie him shorter when you handle him and don't worry about making him headshy. It is much easier to get him over being headshy than it is to get the reconstuctive surgery when he grabs you by the face and picks you up off the ground. You have been very lucky so far but don't depend on luck.
     
    01-05-2010, 11:12 AM
  #48
Foal
Something Monty Roberts taught me--You have to be able to read him pretty well to make it work.

When he thinks bite--thats the read thing-- use your boot and tap him on the front leg. Pretty soon he will think bite and look at his leg trying to figure out why every time he thinks bite his leg hurts.

It only works if you stay calm and act like you are not doing anything. If you stare at him and kick him it won't work.

I've done this with some real alligators and it works but for sure you need to stay very tuned in and alert when you are around one.

Be very careful--biting can really put a hurt on you.
     
    01-05-2010, 12:11 PM
  #49
Super Moderator
Quote:
Originally Posted by kevinshorses    
Stay out of the way of his mouth. Tie him shorter when you handle him and don't worry about making him headshy. It is much easier to get him over being headshy than it is to get the reconstuctive surgery when he grabs you by the face and picks you up off the ground. You have been very lucky so far but don't depend on luck.
Bit him back. Hard. On the nose. Immediately.
     

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