Lippy horse - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 04-21-2008, 11:12 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Greenville, NC
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Lippy horse

Please keep in mind that I am a first time horse owner please!!! I need any and all suggestions!!!
Okay, so my issue is 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.
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post #2 of 13 Old 04-21-2008, 11:20 PM Thread Starter
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I guess I should probably add that he has what appears to be an oral fixation. Overconcerned with feeding time, chews on bit, will suck on the end of his lead rope/rope halter if allowed, will lick wood....hmm!

And for the record, he hardly EVER gets treats! I have asked people at our barn not to give him treats....IF I do, they go in a feed bucket (and in the past 3 months he has had MAYBE 10 treats)
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post #3 of 13 Old 04-22-2008, 05:03 AM
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hmmm i don't really know melinda, maybe if u see if he does bite or not maybe if he does he could be sore some where. i don't think not giving him treats is the answer. does he get to graze all day??
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post #4 of 13 Old 04-22-2008, 07:47 AM
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I think it may be a bit of a curiosty thing, as horses dont have hands they will use there mouths to explore an object.

Next time you go to brush him for instance....try showing him the brush. Let him snif it and a little test bite/ nibble would be ok, dont let him try and snatch or anything but just let him see what you have.

My horses are oldies and they still get curious of things i carry with me, and i always show them what i have and let them touch it if they wish.

He is still young so i would think its just him trying to explore the world around him. So i would think let him. But give him a boundry. So he can snif an object , push it a little with his nose or what ever ( depending on what the thing is a little nibble would be ok too ) but dont let him go as far as nipping or actual biteing.

And being consistant choose either the smack or the backing up
( that backing up is what i would go with IMO ) . Doing both will confuse him and fail to have an effect. you can still back him up in the paddock with out a just choose one and only use that.
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post #5 of 13 Old 04-22-2008, 08:03 AM
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It sounds just like our Sassafras! She is a curious thing too and can stick her upper lip out rediculously far The only thing I have noticed with horses like this is they are smart and escape artists. 'Fras' will work on a door handle, gate latch, knot anything she has figured is a way to the food.
I agree with Bitless, start letting him sniff what ever you are using on him. And watch your knots and latches
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post #6 of 13 Old 04-22-2008, 11:55 AM
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I agree. I think he's probably just curious! My old horse Cody used to do that sometimes. I also think showing him what you're grooming him with will help. ;) Whenever I groom Lexi I let her see what I have all the time, just for the fun of it lol she likes to sniff the brushes.

Ride more, worry less.
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post #7 of 13 Old 04-22-2008, 02:09 PM
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does he pin his ears back? If a horse had the intention to bite, his ears would be back and he'd just look downright angry and upset.

Sonny will take his lips and move around my skin on my arms or even just my clothes. If I let him do it long enough he'll start licking my arm, clothes, etc.

He just sounds curious to me and is interested in what you are doing.

Sonny also will play with his bit...mainly because it has some sweet iron on it. Sonny liked to suck on the end of the manure fork when I went into the clean his pasture
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post #8 of 13 Old 04-22-2008, 02:49 PM
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Twister does that exact same thing...the only thing is... I don't want to find out if he may'm chicken, ya know once bitten twice shy kinda thing :roll: I'm pretty sure he's just investigating I let him lick my boots so i'm pretty sure he's just checking us out.

Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don't be afraid or discouraged by the size of the task, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.

1 Chronicles 28:20

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post #9 of 13 Old 04-22-2008, 05:31 PM
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Horses don't nibble or lick the alpha horse. And a horse can bite with his ears forward, so be warned! They don't have to be angry when they bite.
However, it kind of sounds like he may want to groom you. Most horses like to return the favor, or when you're close they would like to groom you because they like you! The problem comes in that when they offer (like you've described) and then someone hits them... they can get insulted. 'You didn't want to be groomed by ME?' Or not want to bond further. So backing up, in my opinion, sounds like your best bet (or moving his head away, politely but firmly).
Good luck!
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post #10 of 13 Old 04-22-2008, 08:39 PM Thread Starter
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Dumas, I am like you! I don't want to find out if his intention IS to bite! I know sooner or later I will get bitten, but I am not going to encourage it.

Sonny, he doesn't pin his ears back...but I still get the feeling he wants to take a nibble, just not an all out bite, sort of like a kid who is testing the waters. I am a teacher, so I am quite familiar with this type personality! Haha!

I do let him check out grooming tools and such, he isn't interested in them as much as I think he is interested in me.

Mayfield, you hit my main concern! We are still in the initial bonding stage as I have only had him a couple of months, and I don't want to insult him UNLESS it is a dominance issue and he needs to be put in his place.

CountryGirl, he is VERY PUSHY with food (something we have been working on), so no treats it is unless they go in his grain bucket. This was info given to me from his previous owner who had him from six months to just recently when I bought him. He knows and responds to "good boy" as his reward. Under normal circumstances he is pasture boarded, so he does get to graze. He isn't hungry!!! Is it that unusual for people not to treat their horses? If so, don't tell my horse!

So much good advice!
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