Originally Posted by AQHSam
Odd, but would you please describe what you would call a horse biting or nipping. In another thread regarding aggression people wrote about this and how he or she would discipline.
In my opinion, My 5 yr QH doesn't nip. But does he? Yes, he does.
While I am caressing his neck he will sometimes GENTLY grab at a coat sleeve or my scarf. The hood attached to my coat. He is mostly lipping these items and may grab I tiny piece of material. When his teeth does connect with the material he doesn't swish his head.
I usually extract any cloth and laugh. To me it is bonding. But am I wrong?
Yes, this is wrong. You are allowing him to get away with nipping you.
There is no aggression in his posture. His eyes are soft and droopy. One back leg cocked.
Doesn't matter. A nip is a bite and a lip is a nip. I have a zero tolerance policy. I don't care if they're sleeping. If they nip me, they will be disciplined for it.
Is this the start of a bad behavior? Otherwise he is completely submissive. Great, no excellent tying and ground manners. If I move my position while grooming he will respond by stepping away from me (if I am near a wall) always to respect my space.
Yes, it is the start of bad behavior. If you let the little things go, it will progress.
A few years back I trained a young horse for a guy that described the same thing. He thought the lipping, licking, and nibbling was so cute. That colt was the WORST biter I ever fixed. Very dangerous. But you can be sure as rain that he didn't dare do that anymore after I had him. And I clearly instructed his owner to do the same, because he had no idea how dangerous it could become.
If you feel that you are going to "break your amazing bond" with your horse, think about this. When horses are out in the pasture, there's usually one that is the leader. When any of the other horses get out of line, what does the leader do? He might warn them with pinned ears or a turned butt, but when push comes to shover, that lead horse has no problem giving a good hard KICK or a huge BITE to the horse that is getting out of line. Does the horse take his punishment personally? NO. He knows what he did wrong because he was disciplined for it.
Same with your horse. You need to show him discipline in order for him to respect you and to trust you. He needs a leader. You can't be buddy-buddy.
On the football field, do you think the coach feels bad for chewing out a player who made a poor block? No. Do you think the player feels bad for getting chewed out? No. He knows he did a crummy job of making the block, so he's going to get out there next time and do it right.
It's soooo cute when he sniffs me and nuzzles my scarf the mouths it. Is it bad?
As described above, YES, what you are allowing is bad behavior. And it's going to come back to bite you someday (quite literally).
I just also wanted to add that I do hand feed treats to my horses. But they do not lick me, they do not nip me, they do not bite me. They've learned and they know what is allowed and what is not.
Also, it does not seem to sound like it is a "gromming return the favor" as was mentioned. Any time there is teeth involved, that's stepping over the line. Zero tolerance.