Biting The Lead Rope??? - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 22 Old 09-04-2010, 10:36 PM Thread Starter
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Question Biting The Lead Rope???

Okay, so my boy is 29 months and no stranger to being tied to a post and groomed before the day starts, but all of a sudden he has this notion that he can bite the lead rope! He stands for about 30 seconds before he starts going crazy trying to get the lead rope in his mouth, he bites down on it hard, then drops it and goes for it again. I've tried giving him some firm jabs to his shoulder to get his attention and make him stop or light jerks of the lead to get it away from his mouth, but he just gets more determined to get it! What's going on and what can I do?
Thanks!

There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man. ~Winston Churchhill
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post #2 of 22 Old 09-04-2010, 10:41 PM
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Sounds to me like he's bored and looking for ways to entertain himself. Do you tie him for very long at a time? Do you do it every day? You might consider trying to teach him to ground tie so that you can groom him away from everything his wandering mouth is drawn to. Or maybe change up the routine, work with him first and then groom him before turning him out. Catch him, groom him, and then turn him back out without working him. Just anything to break up the monotony and keep his mind focused.

That being said, however, there are some horses that are just mouthy. I cannot leave a hose in the tank unattended with my horse Jesse in the pen. He will drag the hose out as far as it will go if I walk away for even a minute.

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post #3 of 22 Old 09-04-2010, 10:49 PM Thread Starter
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Oh no, not at all. Its usually like 10 to 15 minutes and he's untied. And usually every other day. I vary it up so he gets used to rolling with the punches whenever I switch up our schedule and gets used to everything. He just started doing this more and more to the point where he's to ancy to groom and gets a little nippy when you try taking the lead away from him. I've never had this problem before which is when its strange. Also when leading him he'll almost act as if he can't slow down and get up real close to try and bite the lead then when I turn around to sen him out of my space he throws up his head all spooked like I hit him or something. Its like he knows he shouldn't be doing that an over reacts when I just face him. Its so odd.

There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man. ~Winston Churchhill
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post #4 of 22 Old 09-04-2010, 10:51 PM
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sounds to me like he's just mouthy, most geldings I know LOVE to chew the lead rope, some mares I know like it too.

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post #5 of 22 Old 09-04-2010, 10:57 PM
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Since this issue has suddenly gotten worse, I would guess he either has a problem with being worked and gets nervous about it, or he could possibly be having some pain issues somewhere. My first thought after reading your second post is ulcers. For him to be so manic about it all of a sudden, there must have been some trigger that caused it to get so much worse so quickly.

Always remember that feeling of looking at a big, open country over the ears of a good horse, seeing a new trail unwind ahead of you, and that ever-spectacular view from the top of the ridge!!! Follow my training blog: http://robertsontraining.blogspot.com/
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post #6 of 22 Old 09-04-2010, 11:04 PM Thread Starter
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Oh yeah, I never thought about ulcers. Well he's due for some shots and when my vet comes out I'll have him checked thoroughly. He is fine in every other respect. It seems like he's gotten more hyper all of a sudden. I have been feeding him beet pulp to put a little weight on. I've heard it can make a horse hot. The being too close when leading is nothing new, he's always had a bit of a my space, your space problem which we're working on, but the acting nippy and going for the rope is new.

There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man. ~Winston Churchhill
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post #7 of 22 Old 09-04-2010, 11:38 PM
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A gelding I used to lease had this issue. For us, a firm 'whack' and growling "NO" fixed it. But, he learned the behavior because a school student thought it was "cute" and encouraged it. Sounds like this has come on all of a sudden, and I second what others have said - have a vet check him out.

Of course it sounds like you already have a small respect issue going on, so if everything checks out with the vet, take him off the beet pulp and see if he settles down. If that doesn't help, start really getting after him about it. If reprimanding doesn't work, try getting an old lead you don't care about and putting something non-toxic but totally yuck on it, like hot sauce. He should object to the bad tasting lead and decide not to chew.

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post #8 of 22 Old 09-05-2010, 08:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smrobs View Post
Since this issue has suddenly gotten worse, I would guess he either has a problem with being worked and gets nervous about it, or he could possibly be having some pain issues somewhere..
Or the third option is just that he's learned he can get away with it, or possibly even been encouraged to continue.
I'm not discounting your options. They are very real possibilities that need to be considered. But I just wanted to suggest an alternative.
I've seen situations where a horse starts getting mouthy, and the owner at first ignores it, so it increases.
The worst is when the owner encourages it (Oh look, he's leading himself! How cute! Good boy). Before you know it, he's got his mouth on everything.
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post #9 of 22 Old 09-05-2010, 09:32 AM
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I think having the vet check him out is a good idea too. Especially because this is a new behavior. You might want to get his teeth checked too.

Soda is extremely mouthy, he's always chewing on lead ropes when he's tied (or the other horse's lead rope if they're tied). First thing he does when I put on the bridle? Grab the reins and chew on them. He used to try and chew Flame's halter if I had her tied up. He'll also chew on the metal gate pipes if he gets really annoyed that I'm not letting him out. And I've seen him bite peices of the wood supports in the barn, not cribbing, just biting a chunk out of it. But he's never mouthy towards people. Some horses are just like that, but I have to watch him so he doesn't eat something dangerous. Like the time he bit the trailer light off.
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post #10 of 22 Old 09-05-2010, 01:39 PM
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MNTigerstripes, Sunny is the same way. She bites bridles, posts, metal, leads....no cribbing, just biting. I'm worried she may have an ulcer.
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