nibbling...
 
 

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nibbling...

This is a discussion on nibbling... within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category
  • My horse nibbles on my shirt
  • Horse nibbles my jacket

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    01-12-2013, 10:23 PM
  #1
Weanling
nibbling...

I know this can be a disrespectful thing, or it can be an affectionate thing. He doesnt rub on me or anything so he doesnt disrespect my enough to use me as his scratching post or anything, and for the longest time it was just him and I on our land with no other horses and I was his only interaction. He's been getting into this nibbling habit. He's always very soft and cautious, but he stands about 5 feet from me, outstretches his neck and likes to grab my jacket with his lips, and sometimes a little with his teeth and lightly pull for a second then lets go. He doesnt pull hard or anything, its almost like an attention thing or affectionate thing... he's really outstretched when he's doing it too, just grabs around gently with his lips, then sometimes barely grabs on with his teeth and either holds on, or slowly, softly pulls til my coat comes from between his teeth.

Should I be discouraging this?? He's never like quick and rude about it, its kind of funny how slow and gently he goes, but not sure if I should laugh and think its cute or tell him to knock it off.
     
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    01-12-2013, 11:02 PM
  #2
Green Broke
It can be cute I would probably stop it though just because it could lead to something worse especially when teeth are involved.
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    01-12-2013, 11:40 PM
  #3
Foal
Appache's right, I loved when my horse would do this to me but he did bite me once, I learned the hard way. A quick pinch on the lip will teach him that it's not ok to do this (and mimics what another horse would actually do to him). Instead, try rubbing his withers with your right hand (like if you were giving someone a neck massage) and stretch your left hand out to his nose. Horses will nuzzle each other on that area to show friendship, comfort, ect. And he may start to nuzzle your hand. Give it a shot and see what happens, but no more teeth.
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    01-13-2013, 12:34 AM
  #4
Started
I would put a stop to this immediately although he may not mean to next it could be your skin or body part instead of your jacket.
     
    01-13-2013, 05:25 AM
  #5
Trained
This fad about labeling all sorts as 'disrespect' or telling people they need to 'make' their horse respect them really grates on me. I don't believe a horse rubbing on you has any more to do with 'disrespect' than a dog going through a door before it's owner. I also don't believe it's helpful or productive to just lable it as such - & therefore just presume it deserves punishment - if a horse bites or otherwise 'tells you where to go'. I do think that in many cases problems such as that are indeed due to disrespect of the *handler* for the horse. I believe respect and establishing 'rules' is absolutely vital, but I believe respect is *earned* & is mutual, not something you can force.

Now I've had my rant... horses, as with other animals, do what works for them & quit doing what doesn't work. So it's up to you as handler, to be consistent about what you want to allow/reinforce & what you find undesirable and want to discourage. This includes considering - and often changing - the *motivation* for the behaviour.

**Regardless of whether you personally find things like nibbling 'cute' or such, always keep safety in mind when training a large, potentially dangerous animal.
     
    01-13-2013, 05:42 AM
  #6
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by loosie    
This fad about labeling all sorts as 'disrespect' or telling people they need to 'make' their horse respect them really grates on me. I don't believe a horse rubbing on you has any more to do with 'disrespect' than a dog going through a door before it's owner. I also don't believe it's helpful or productive to just lable it as such - & therefore just presume it deserves punishment - if a horse bites or otherwise 'tells you where to go'. I do think that in many cases problems such as that are indeed due to disrespect of the *handler* for the horse. I believe respect and establishing 'rules' is absolutely vital, but I believe respect is *earned* & is mutual, not something you can force.

Now I've had my rant... horses, as with other animals, do what works for them & quit doing what doesn't work. So it's up to you as handler, to be consistent about what you want to allow/reinforce & what you find undesirable and want to discourage. This includes considering - and often changing - the *motivation* for the behaviour.

**Regardless of whether you personally find things like nibbling 'cute' or such, always keep safety in mind when training a large, potentially dangerous animal.
I fully agree with all of this.

One of our mares is 'mouthy'. She is extremely curious and loves to touch, pick things up, and carry them away. If I bend over next to her, she'll grab the tail of my shirt, my cap, a hoof pick/pliers out of my back pocket, etc. It doesn't bother me a bit, but to be sure...if I think she is going over 'my line', I run her off. Safety is always #1. Establish whatever rules and limits you want, be consistent, and you won't have any problems.
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    01-13-2013, 07:02 AM
  #7
Banned
This is just my opinion. I think it depends on the horse. There are horses you can allow this with and not ever have an issue. There are others who will constantly "one up" you on your boundries. I have a general rule of thumb I always follow. No teeth ever. This goes for my horse and my dogs. They can nuzzle/show affection or whatever term you want to put on it but they cannot cross my no teeth line. That is my comfort zone. I've seen too many biting dogs and biting horses with pretty nasty outcomes. It's not something that I want to deal with.

Just remember what's "cute" to you may not be so cute to someone else. Again, all IMHO. Your mileage may vary and all that good stuff.
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    01-13-2013, 10:29 AM
  #8
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by loosie    
This fad about labeling all sorts as 'disrespect' or telling people they need to 'make' their horse respect them really grates on me. I don't believe a horse rubbing on you has any more to do with 'disrespect' than a dog going through a door before it's owner. I also don't believe it's helpful or productive to just lable it as such - & therefore just presume it deserves punishment - if a horse bites or otherwise 'tells you where to go'. I do think that in many cases problems such as that are indeed due to disrespect of the *handler* for the horse. I believe respect and establishing 'rules' is absolutely vital, but I believe respect is *earned* & is mutual, not something you can force.

Now I've had my rant... horses, as with other animals, do what works for them & quit doing what doesn't work. So it's up to you as handler, to be consistent about what you want to allow/reinforce & what you find undesirable and want to discourage. This includes considering - and often changing - the *motivation* for the behaviour.

**Regardless of whether you personally find things like nibbling 'cute' or such, always keep safety in mind when training a large, potentially dangerous animal.
you know, I think I really needed to read this. That makes alot of sense, and I think being on this site sometimes makes me feel I always have to be in complete control of every move my horse makes. You made a really good point, not only about the similarity in types of "disrespect" like how the dog does through the door first thing, but also about how it depends on what the rider allows and thinks is comfortable or acceptable.

maybe this sounds silly or wrong to some people, but horses have nearly no freedom in the hands of some. Stalled up all day, told every move to make or not make etc.. I really don't want to be that person who gets after my horse for things I do not support all the time, especially things such as nibbling or affectionate things that really arent hurting anyone at all (at least when he only does it to me)...

I know that no one likes it when their parents tell them every little thing they do wrong, or every tiny thing they can't do or that is unacceptable... so me, and maybe some other people will see this and decide to loosen up a little and decide what can be allowed and not taken so seriously as apposed to what needs to be.

Thank you:)

With as gently and slow motion as he does this, I really think its just an affection thing and not a rude thing. He doesnt really care about the mare we have in the other pen, and is always so glad to see me when I go out to him and wanting to play and such, I think he is just probably glad to see me and wants to give me love nibble but goes slow and gentle because he's probably wondering if that's okay with me, hence him being so cautious and all outstretched about it... he never does any harm and is never aggressive so I think he if wants to nibble a little that's fine...

Sometimes he does it when im picking up his hooves, just barely but I can feel him on my lower back.... when im messing with his hooves, and he does this I usually look up and tell him to knock it off because its one thing when im upright and can see what he is doing but its another when my back is to him and if he wanted to bite ever I wouldnt see it coming.
     
    01-13-2013, 11:13 AM
  #9
Yearling
Think not of correcting, but 'interrupting' the behavior that you find undesirable. Usually it just takes pushing their mouth gently away with one finger. That is, unless you let it become a habit. Then it might require more to fix. ;]
     
    01-13-2013, 11:28 AM
  #10
Foal
I don't put up with nibbling, biting, or anything else that involves the lips or teeth of a horse. My first pony was a biter and I have a scar on my right hand from when he bit down and wouldn't let go. It might be cute now but it could progress into a dangerous habit.
     

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