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Biting Yearling

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  • Horse biting ray hunt
  • What to do about nibbling behavior in yearling horse

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    03-31-2012, 04:19 PM
  #11
Foal
If you study mamma horses with their babies they give warning (swish of the tale, stop of the foot, ears back). If we want these babies to understand us we need to speak their language. Remember that they are still learning how to speak horse and are certainly not aware of what we want if it's not put in terms they can understand.

With that being said, here's my suggestion:

Chances are he is giving you some sign, and you are simply not noticing it, try very hard to study his actions, and look at his eyes to see when he gets that wild playful look.

To dieter his biting start by simply jerking your arm or hand or whatever he's trying to bite as if you have a twitch, but don't acknowledge his biting any more than that. This problem comes down to a respect issue. Even though you say he has good ground manners, if he's OK with coming into your space without being invited then he's just pretending to respect you most of the time.

Each time he tries to bite you jerk you arm etc. I find an elbow to be the perfect body part to use. Just flap your arm up like a chicken wing, very fast and very sudden. He'll either startle and move away or get an elbow to the face which should startle him and make him move away.

Look for him to lower his head, sigh, lick his lips, rotate his ears to you, or any combination of these things and then approach him and run his head. This will ensure that you don't end up with a head shy horse despite your discipline.


Now, you don't say if he is on a lead when he does this or free in the pen, or if he is reaching over to nip you or charging at you, but always match his energy, so if he's running at you run at him and be big and mean about it. Pin your ears back and tell him to back off.(Figuratively of course)

Since he’s been getting away with this it may take him a while to change his thought process and realize that you will not tolerate his behavior and that if he wants to come into your bubble he needs to wait for an invitation.

Best of luck, and let us know how it goes.

-Clover
     
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    03-31-2012, 04:21 PM
  #12
Yearling
Is he still a stud colt, foals get mouthy around that age. How I cure mine from biting is take a tack and put it between my fingers when they try and bite I pop them in the nose with the tack it takes twice maybe 3 times for them to stop, and it doesn't really hurt them but they get the message.
     
    03-31-2012, 04:23 PM
  #13
Foal
Thank you everyone for your advice. I will keep you posted and hopefully we will see some improvement! :)
     
    03-31-2012, 04:47 PM
  #14
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by cmarie    
Is he still a stud colt, foals get mouthy around that age. How I cure mine from biting is take a tack and put it between my fingers when they try and bite I pop them in the nose with the tack it takes twice maybe 3 times for them to stop, and it doesn't really hurt them but they get the message.
This seems to be a common misconception. We think that since there is no lasting damage then we are not "hurting" the horse. But really it is a hurt, just not in the same way we humans feel it. The pressure is what causes the horse to "get the message" and pressure is just a nice way of saying discomfort. In the case of a bop on the nose or a tack, there is pain involved, horses simply register pain differently than humans do; they are much more stoic. A horses job is not to cry and whine about pain or to nurse a painful spot but rather to get away from whatever is causing the pain as fast as possible.

Just wanted to point that out
-Clover
     
    03-31-2012, 04:58 PM
  #15
Yearling
Yes I know it causes pain, but so does biting, a pop with a tack causes no lasting damage to the horse, and it works for me. Biting and kicking are not acceptable to me.
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    03-31-2012, 06:23 PM
  #16
Super Moderator
Hold a nail in your hand with just the sharp point sticking out between your fingers. Keep it between his mouth and any other thing he might try to bite.

I have not had this fail and the horse thinks the behavior caused the discomfort and not the handler. No ducking or dodging or making a game out of it (which is what most people do when they hit a horse). If you do not hit them hard enough the very first time to stop the behavior completely, you have failed and have only 'pecked' on the horse and made a game out of it.

It is no different than a horse sticking his nose on an electric fence. It is unpleasant and they stop doing it.

This is for nipping and not vicious attack type biting.

If your horse has not been gelded, he should be and that will help. Even for geldings, though, it is normal behavior for horses to bite. They use biting and play-fighting to figure out herd behavior and status. Right now, he is on top of you in your 'pecking order'. You need to establish that you are at the top of your pecking order and that he is not allowed to do that. You need to do this without him thinking it is all a big game. That is what they do with each other and he is just treating you like 'one of the boys'. Rearing up and sticking a foot on your shoulder or head will be the next thing he tries, again out of instinct and not meanness, but unacceptable all the same.

Oh! And by the way it is the method the Dorrance Brothers and Ray Hunt have used, so it is good enough for me.
     
    03-31-2012, 07:30 PM
  #17
Foal
I will most definitely give this a try. I am fully aware this behavior is unacceptable and he is definitely going to get it into his head that he cannot bite one way or another. He was just recently gelded in February so studdiness is no problem here.
     
    04-01-2012, 05:28 PM
  #18
Foal
Here is an update on Senzy pony. Today I took the tack out to train the devil pony. I got almost the whole way through our session before he tried to take a nip at me and got the tack instead. He decided that he didn't like that one bit and left me alone for the rest of the lesson. I will continue to carry it with me for a bit until I'm positive he has gotten the point through his brain but so far so good! :)
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    04-02-2012, 02:55 AM
  #19
Foal
Remember that that will only make that behavior less prevalent. The real problem here is that he doesn't respect your personal bubble and that is what you MUST work on or more issues will arise as you further his training.
texasgal likes this.
     
    04-02-2012, 09:43 AM
  #20
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by cmarie    
Is he still a stud colt, foals get mouthy around that age. How I cure mine from biting is take a tack and put it between my fingers when they try and bite I pop them in the nose with the tack it takes twice maybe 3 times for them to stop, and it doesn't really hurt them but they get the message.
I know this to be a "tried and true" method to discourage biting especially with an intact stallion and some geldings. Look back at what a foals mother will sometimes do when baby nips/bites at her. She will often times nip back at baby. When using a tack or nail I suggest not "popping" the nose with the tack, but let the horse bump into the tack or nail. The youngster gets the message that "I got bit before I could do the biting". Also, a horse that bites causes the handler to have pain and can cause injury to that handler so stopping the horse from biting needs to be "nipped in the bud" ASAP.

My 2 cents worth...
     

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