Horse Nipping

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Horse Nipping

This is a discussion on Horse Nipping within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category

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  • 1 Post By CowboyBob

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    03-19-2013, 10:37 AM
Horse Nipping

I have recently acquired a horse that they said is a "play nipper". He loves attention but he likes to "Nip" at your clothes. I don't believe he is being mean about it but it in my mind is dangerous regardless. Any ideas on how to stop this? We give no treats at all.
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    03-19-2013, 11:11 AM
Has he nipped you before?
    03-19-2013, 11:14 AM
It don't sound like you have a big problem YET with this horse. However this might get worse. Think about when a horse gets into another horses space the horse on the higher side will shake its head or swish its tail or pin its ears something small but IF the horse knows its place it will move away. This is exactly what you need to do. Take an hard step into your horse make it take a step away from you. "pin" your ears (give him your best dirty look) Lift an elbow. Do something to teach your horse that you are to high on the pecking order to get that close to.
gambler2007 likes this.
    03-20-2013, 01:19 AM
I have a 4yr. And 5yr. Old and they like to sniff out my clothes/hair/face, they will the odd time try to nibble on my clothes/boots but I push them away when they do that, I don't want to start off nibbling to biting......
    03-20-2013, 09:37 PM
Yep, this behaviour needs nipping in the bud before anyone else gets... nipped in the bud!

Clear & *consistent* boundaries are vital with horses & I would be teaching him that he's not to come within about 1' of me without an express invite, and that he is to keep his nose to himself at all times. If he takes it as a game or challenge you're maybe not being firm or consistent enough, or your timing is out - horses are more likely to misunderstand & play 'tit for tat'(well, hopefully not tit..) if you *react* to their 'wrong' behaviour with punishment after the event, but if you can set it up so he 'punishes' *himself* for it - eg. You're waving your arms around 'randomly' and he gets in the way, you happen to be holding something pointy or prickly when he shoves his nose on it... he'll realise this isn't a good idea.

Another thing to pay attention to is reinforcing Good manners, especially if they're exclusive to the Bad manners - eg. He won't be nipping you if you're reinforcing him for 'respecting' your personal space & keeping his nose in & down. You can use food treats or anything else he really likes(like a good rub) as positive reinforcement, but whatever you use, it's important NEVER to reinforce 'rude' behaviour, even if it's in conjunction with something Good. Horses learn from association, so *whatever is happening at the time of* a reinforcement or punishment... which I think is a big reason why so many people have problems with food treats & horses reacting badly to punishment.

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