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Biting and Nipping

This is a discussion on Biting and Nipping within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category
  • Horse bites when doing up front cover straps
  • My horse tried to bite me and now i cant even halter her

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    06-01-2012, 01:45 PM
  #11
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeDonnaNancy    
My NSH likes to bite and nip when you 1) halter 2) bridle 3) clean his front feet (nips you in the back or the butt!). In other words, anytime you are near her face she likes to nip and bite. Usually it's nipping, but once in awhile she gets ahold of you and it's a nice pinch. How do you train a horse not to nip and bite? She's very mouthy and her former owner said she always has been. She's busy with a bit in her mouth too, usually gnawing on it. Any HUMANE suggestions? And no, I won't jab her with a tack or a nail when she does it.

I hope you know that she ain't thinking of the HUMANE thing when she's biting you.

I'm assuming you've never really been bit. Horses can crush bone. Seriously. And don't think she won't eventually get there. Bad behavior escalates.

I had a nippy horse when I bought him. He did not respond to traditional whack in the jaw, or having his feet moved, so I would simply keep him out of my space at all times. He tried to enter into my space, he would get an elbow in the face. This didn't even give him a chance to get close to biting me. I would just flap my elbows, and then continue what I was doing. Wouldn't look at him, wouldn't yell, just a "get out of my space." He thought he was running into me, similar to the nail thing that Cherie suggested. If this had not worked, I would have done the nail thing (as that would have gotten his attention even more). The horse is NOT thinking about your well being or whether she is being treated humanely, she is trying to dominate and hurt you. Period.
     
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    06-01-2012, 01:49 PM
  #12
Green Broke
Quote:
I'm assuming you've never really been bit. Horses can crush bone. Seriously. And don't think she won't eventually get there. Bad behavior escalates.
No kidding - I have been BITTEN, once, and that is all it took to convince me that a mouthy horse is just NOT something I am willing to tolerate, at all. I still have scar tissue underneath and scarring on the skin where I was bitten - and this was through three layers of cloth and in a way that the horse was not able to get *that* good of a grip/bite.
     
    06-01-2012, 01:54 PM
  #13
Yearling
I'm also for the nail or the elbow jab. I have been bitten by a mouthy horse on the hip, it hurt SO bad. I still have a scar there, and it bled for so long. They actually thought at the time that I might've needed stiches. I will NEVER tolerate biting EVER. It is what I classify as one of the most dangerous vices. Of course the horse tried to bite me a second time the next day because I didn't have time to discipline him. Let's just say it wasn't very pretty.
     
    06-01-2012, 02:10 PM
  #14
Super Moderator
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cherie    
You do not 'jab' the horse with a nail. You simply 'let' the horse run into it. Immediate fix! It is no different than a horse bumping into an electric fence. The horse teaches himself that it is an undesirable behavior.

I do not like teaching a horse to be afraid of quick moves or a handler acting like a screaming idiot. I want my horse's trust and do not want to make moves that encourage a horse to be head-shy or back or run away from me or my hands or someone else. It is why I seldom ever pick up a whip. You do things like this and when you or someone else has to run past your tied horse for some good reason and it will panic and try to get away. You can be riding near a bunch of people and some running, screaming kid will make your horse panic because you have taught it to. Certainly not my choice for discipline. I'll just let any horse I have run into a nail. But then, if you have a horse's respect, it does not try to nip or bite in the first place. I cannot even remember the last time I had a horse of my own try to nip me -- they just never do and not one of them is afraid of me.

The thing I find puzzling is how you can have the nail in the correct position (how do you hold it or do you strap it on something?) and at just the right time that the horse runs into IT , and not some other part of your body.
The horse does't always bite at the same time and location.
     
    06-01-2012, 02:20 PM
  #15
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyliny    
The thing I find puzzling is how you can have the nail in the correct position (how do you hold it or do you strap it on something?) and at just the right time that the horse runs into IT , and not some other part of your body.
The horse does't always bite at the same time and location.

That's a great question and I'm interested in hearing what others do to "set up" for that scenario. Is this something you just do in the wash rack when grooming and tacking? That's when he's the worst. I will say that over the past couple of days he's getting a little better since I've been popping him in the shoulder and asserting myself with a firm "NO". It's getting his attention, for sure. So it's possible slowing up, a little.....BUT last night he got a hold of my trainer when she was bringing him in from pasture and he got the business end of a lead line across the shoulder twice with a firm NO. She was not happy. We are working on this and trying to get it under control. But, keep the comments coming, I'm putting it all together and finding the consensus is 1) asserting yourself as the Alpha; 2) physical discipline in the form of a whack on the neck or shoulder that's loud enough to get their attention; and 3) possibly a nail or tack or something to mimick touching an electric fence or other undersireable object.
     
    06-01-2012, 02:24 PM
  #16
Showing
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyliny    
The thing I find puzzling is how you can have the nail in the correct position (how do you hold it or do you strap it on something?) and at just the right time that the horse runs into IT , and not some other part of your body.
The horse does't always bite at the same time and location.
Reading body language and making it the closest thing available to grab. I've used a nail with a couple over the years, they both had predictable habits. One was a mare a friend bought that had developed a habit of biting when cinched (pain, ulcers, everything else had been ruled out, she was just a witch that had gotten away with it for years) I made my hand with the nail the closest thing within reach. Her owner had to use one once more with her and she stopped altogether. Woodstock was another, when we bought him back he was awful. Especially when being led. With him I put 3 small roofing nails between my fingers in the hand on the lead and just presented the opportunity, he got himself once and has never put his mouth on a person again.

I'm sure Cherie can add more and explain better.
Cherie likes this.
     
    06-01-2012, 02:47 PM
  #17
mls
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyliny    
The thing I find puzzling is how you can have the nail in the correct position (how do you hold it or do you strap it on something?) and at just the right time that the horse runs into IT , and not some other part of your body.
The horse does't always bite at the same time and location.
Ideally you have it through a leather strap or piece of heavy cloth so it's like an extra appendage to your hand/wrist. The horse goes to bite and you place your hand/wrist in the path of the mouth.

However, they move innocently to get a fly, or rub on something and you can catch them wrong (eye . . . ) I would not recommend for the OP.

I see nothing wrong with a good "fist meet corner of the mouth" with a strong "QUIT".

If done correctly, horses learn what a real raised voice is vs kids running around having a good time.
     
    06-01-2012, 07:56 PM
  #18
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyliny    
The thing I find puzzling is how you can have the nail in the correct position (how do you hold it or do you strap it on something?) and at just the right time that the horse runs into IT , and not some other part of your body.
The horse does't always bite at the same time and location.


Make a fist, and insert horseshoe nail in between first and second knuckles, or alternately, you can stick thumb between those fingers so that your nail sticks out. Horseshoe nail is inside your fist, and only tip of nail is out, and I mean tip...just enough to feel it when you touch hand to your face.

This will leave no mark, it is a correction, not a punishment, and the horse is the one doing the correction, not you. If it has its head/mouth/teeth where it is supposed to have them? Won't get "bit" by your correction, entirely up to the horse.

Again, NO FORCE from you at all, and no indication that you have even noticed anything going on.



You don't hold yourself in one position to do this as correction. You are going about your business of grooming, tacking or whatever, and while doing so you have the nail tip ONLY poking between your knuckles, 1/8th of inch is enough, just barely can feel it, or for that matter can use stiff brush too, and as you are working, you watch for horse to swing head to nip/bite and you casually move your hand to where mouth meets nail tip/brush. And you don't look at horse when do it. Nor talk. You continue with what you are doing, and you don't swing arm or hand into horse's mouth. HORSE moves head to bite, and finds mouth gets pricked lightly, and decides it shouldn't bite.

Same with point of elbow to jaw. NO force is used, you simply have arm bent, doing what you need to do, horse swings head around, and you have gently raised arm so point of elbow is what horse runs into. Same as trying to walk through crowded coffee shop, you are creating invisible force field if you will.

No different than females holding car key points between fingers when walking to car in parking lot.

And while the horse doesn't bite at same time and location? The horse always has its mouth at the end of its head opposite of the ears. You never find the teeth when you move the tail, nor will you find the teeth when you are reaching for the girth. Those teeth find you, and that means you can find the mouth.

You can also do the things that are going on when horse tries to bite, and do the nail/brush thing then. You know horse does it when being girthed? Be ready.

This is not rocket science people. This is basic horse handling 101.

And to OP, you are already setting yourself up for some major problems when you worry about "hurting your horsey" more than you are worried about that horsey hurting you.

Biting and nipping are major no no's and it will lead to more problems, and eventually you will get hurt badly, if you don't get over the attitude that you will never use any type of correction.
     
    06-01-2012, 09:57 PM
  #19
Foal
Even if you use a nail or elbow, timing is everything. You can smack a horse that nips good and hard and still get nipped again if the timing is wrong or the horse does not see you as dominant.

If you're not good at this technique, I suggest trying mouth wash in a squirt bottle. When he goes in to bite, squirt the mouth wash on his nose. You don't have to be as accurate, and you want to get a little in the nostril so it burns. My mom has 3 walker stallions, and for whatever reason (probably my personality) I always get into the nipping game with them. This stops that once and for all, and may be worth a shot in this situation.
     
    06-02-2012, 05:53 AM
  #20
Foal
Everyone can laugh at me if they want, but this is what has always worked for me. I bite back on the nose or ear and hang on, shaking my head. Usually only takes once. I figure boss mare would, so I will too.
     

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