Okay, so my issue is this...my fairly new (five year old appy gelding) horse has never bitten or nipped that I am aware of (for me or previous owner who has been very honest under other circumstances)....HOWEVER, there are times when I question the horse's intent. During grooming time, or in the stall and visiting time, my gelding will turn his head toward me and occasionally pucker his lips in my direction. I have never let him get close enough with his lips to find out if his intent is to bite or nibble. I have looked online at suggestions and many times I have read that if his intent is mean, ears will be back....never in my horse's case. I don't feel like he is being mean or is angry, maybe more curious or like a child testing boundaries. I have smacked him in chest each time he turns his lips towards me and have tried to be consistent, I have tried backing him each time when haltered, but he still does it.
I would like some insite into what his motive MAY be and what I can do to ensure that he is not trying his dominance over me.