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This is a discussion on Mouthing within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category
  • Horse habits - mouthing lead rope when tied up
  • How to mouthing a horse horse training

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    04-24-2013, 03:36 PM

Dubai is now 4, 17hh and bulking up to be a nice chunky WB. He is very fit, but an absolute doll.

I just have one issue. I know I shouldn't humanize him, but he is like a toddler!

He keeps putting everything in his mouth. I mean EVERYTHING.

Tied up, he will chew his leadrope. He sucks and chews but doesn't break it. This wouldn't be such an issue but he sometimes gets stuck in to it and freaks and pulls back. So, I put some anti cribbing paste on it (and touched my eye OW)
He likes the taste of it

Picking his feet out, he tries to lip at my bum, or take the hoof pick.

Coats he likes to hold on to collars.

He will take baseball caps and woolley hats off.

I don't feed him by hand ever, and I will firmly use the headcollar or leadrope to move his head away. He gets the message and will stand there. But the next time, he goes again.

Two days ago I lost my rag with him a bit.. I've been very ill and I am exhausted. Grooming him he was fine and he started pratting around with the leadrope. I gave him a whack under the belly. He stood there fine.. but the next day when I went to groom he started again! It is the leadrope thing I am most worried about as I am scared he will get it wrapped around his jaw somehow and pull back.

Any training ideas? In every other aspect he is a very well behaved, fine young gentleman but this mouthing business is driving me nuts as I don't then want a young child or someone unhorsey to be put in a situation where it goes from "cute" to not so cute if you get my drift.

Oh.. teeth were also done in Dec and had a check up last month when dentist was on the yard looking at a friend's horse.

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    04-24-2013, 03:43 PM
Green Broke
You need to keep at it. It is a measure of will sometimes.. who will out last who. When you work with him insist he keep stuff out of his mouth. Make that your priority instead of the job at hand (picking feet and so forth).

Or you can add a negative association... every time he mouths you make him work (move his feet).

He is bored, male, young, and clever with his lip. Just make it something you won't tolerate and be very consistant.
DuffyDuck likes this.
    04-24-2013, 03:47 PM
Oh he is clever all right, the booger >:(

No, I am really lucky with him and how chilled out he is on the floor and how willing to work he is when it comes down to it all!

I just don't want what seems to be cute mouthing to turn in to nipping and biting. It's been happening over the past couple of months.

I will start giving it a go! I am quite fond of my behind being in one piece, so I tend to put my elbow up and he meets it himself, but sometimes I just don't see him!
    04-24-2013, 04:16 PM
He's young and has yet to change some teeth. I noticed my youngsters going nuts with willow twigs at that age. Which, I'm willing to bet, he would enjoy too.
As long as he's not trying to eat you alive, I'd wait and see if he'll stop. Try the willow twigs. Good for him too.
DuffyDuck likes this.
    04-24-2013, 04:21 PM
Willow twigs? As in.. just twigs of willow.. don't laugh too hard, we don't get the things you lot get!

It is the leadrope chewing that gets me the most in case of injury!
    04-24-2013, 04:27 PM
Careful because Willow contains ASA and will show up in a drug test. As well, anything spicy contains capsaicin and will test.

This is what warmbloods are like lol. Ro is quite stoic but my friend's Oldenburg is a menace hahaha. At shows I have to stand and distract him for her so she can braid and mounting at strange places I have to stand in front of him, a hand on each rein, fiddling with the bit to keep him from Capriole-ing as soon as she mounts. It's a challenge but that's the fire that is going to get any horse to the upper levels. Ro has different ways of expressing his reluctance to be tamed. I always have to make sure he's tied firmly to a wall or he bolts. I can't lunge him like a normal horse as he will leave as well.

It is something you are just going to have to deal with. Cross tying helps with the mouthiness because at least there's nothing for them to grab easily.

Good luck!!
Kayty and DuffyDuck like this.
    04-24-2013, 04:34 PM
Hmmm may have to cross tie under the solarium!

Its his only...thing. And I quite like having my woolly hat on during the winter months!!

A few times when free schooling he has run up to the side, grabbed a lead rope, a whip.. anything.. and bolts with it. He also has a habit for nibbling my polised boots :/

Could always be worse, so I can't complain too much :P
    04-24-2013, 04:39 PM
Yes, there are those mischievous horses out there that will never change. Our mare, "Lady", is like that. All lip, never any teeth. She will untie herself and then untie all the others just because she can. I do believe that she is working on giving me a wedgie
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    04-24-2013, 04:52 PM
Originally Posted by DuffyDuck    
Hmmm may have to cross tie under the solarium!

Its his only...thing. And I quite like having my woolly hat on during the winter months!!

A few times when free schooling he has run up to the side, grabbed a lead rope, a whip.. anything.. and bolts with it. He also has a habit for nibbling my polised boots :/

Could always be worse, so I can't complain too much :P
Lol my friend's horse does the same thing with coffee mugs. All mine and hers have permanent teeth dents hahaha.
Just put them where he can't get to them. It really is like having a toddler :P
    04-24-2013, 04:55 PM
Super Moderator
A friend of mine had a horse that was just like this.
She was soft in her corrections in that she would say "No" and push his head away.
This horse continued to chew. His favourite was his reins and he could chew through a pair in no time. He would take them back to his molars and chomp.

As he got a tad older so he was greatly lacking in respect. At a show his owner asked me to hold him whilst she walked a cross country course.
I had the reins over his head and he immediately grabbed them to chew. I jerked the reins from his mouth and slapped him hard across the flat of his muzzle.
That horse stared at me in astonishment. He again took the reins but not quite so hard and was rewarded with another jerk and slap. Third time he just took them in his lips, same reaction from me.
He then stood quietly for a few minutes and then decided it was time to eat. He yanked his head down to the grass and ignored my pull on the rein for him to raise his head. I used my foot against his nose. Again he tried three times before the lesson was learned.
I had hold of him for far longer than I wanted and then spied his owner sitting on the front of her car drinking a coffee. I walked over and handed her the reins saying "Raffles has learned some manners."
Immediately she had a hand on the reins he grabbed them to chew. I whacked him across the muzzle. The look on his face was good enough to have those watching laughing. The horse thought the owner had whacked him not me.
From that day on he never chewed again.

A well time open handed slap on the flat of the muzzle will not make a horse head shy but it will make it think again about chewing or trying to bite.
albertaeventer likes this.

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