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nibbling...

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

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        01-13-2013, 11:47 AM
      #11
    Weanling
    I agree sometimes people go a little far with this "respect" thing. I have a friend who comes over and works with my two year old. She often goes into the field and stands in front of him. Then she will suddenly start backing up into him while kicking his front legs to force him to back up. She thinks she is establishing respect but I think it is a bit mean and annoying. He always looks quite shocked and surprised when she does this, and I don't think it invokes respect at all- he probably just thinks she's a jerk!
    FaydesMom and LisaG like this.
         
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        01-13-2013, 12:01 PM
      #12
    Showing
    A horse lipping or nibbling should be discouraged as one day, perhaps when he's feeling devilish, he'll grab a chunk. Best to nip it in the bud. As he extends toward you quickly put your hand up like a stop sing with a short shh (the element of surprise). If he ignores you use a riding crop to back him up. By that I mean repeated taps on the point of the shoulder of the most forward foot. As that moves back tap the point of the other shoulder. Keep doing this until he has backed up three or four steps. If you are consistant with first the hand and shh, then the crop he will soon learn to pay mind to your hand.
         
        01-13-2013, 12:12 PM
      #13
    Started
    KatieQ...I think I might agree with your horse.

    Interesting thread. There certainly are those who do go overboard on this, IMHO, but a behavior that is dangerous must not be allowed. That being said, I don't think we should nitpik at every little horsey thing they do either.
         
        01-13-2013, 02:03 PM
      #14
    Foal
    There is a fine line between respect and domination. The kicking thing that KatieQ talked about is a little much, there are many ways to gain respect without physically touching the horse, especially when they did nothing to deserve the kick to the legs. A horse can not see underneath their face on their chest and legs and I always viewed it as a breach of trust to do anything in that area that would startle them (other then the light taps on the chest with my fingers to back them up).
    If you have ever brought a horse in from a pasture with other horses you will probably see hair missing from where another horse bit him/her. This is a normal thing in the horse world and sometimes that bleeds into "our world." I discourage anything a horse does to me that could turn into something more and not because I'm trying to dominate them but because I respect them and I want them to respect me simply because of safety.
         
        01-13-2013, 02:13 PM
      #15
    Started
    Well my colt Jet likes to nuzzle my back with his top lip and he means it affectionately its not to boss me. But I don't want that to turn into a nip on my skin I don't smack him for it what I do is just push his head gently away.
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        01-13-2013, 02:49 PM
      #16
    Yearling
    My husband allows all of our horses to rub their lips on him and nuzzle. He doesn't do more than brush them away when they take things out of his pockets - shirt or pants. He thinks it is cute. About six weeks ago he was trying to get one of the colt's attention and not paying attention to the horse next to him that was "affectionately" nuzzling him and low and behold we end up in the ER because this horse took a big bite out of his abdomen. 6 weeks later hubby is still in pain and the healing process is going very slow. Lots of soft tissue as well as muscle damage and a resulting hernia that will have to be surgically fixed. Mother in Law thinks it is cute to "give kisses" right on another one of my mare's mouth and let her rub her lips over her face. This mare has already taken chunks out of various articles of clothing and left serious bruises from biting on Father in Law. No amt of asking, begging or pleading with them to stay out of the pasture has helped. No matter the size horse not funny but this is a draft that is a serious one person horse with ATTITUDE and has NO respect for anyone other than me at this point. The entire reason I have her is because I raised and trained her, worked and showed her for her owner. She wasn't mine. I raised and trained many of this person's drafts. When I left Tx to move here after marriage this mare turned on her new handlers and she was delivered to my door with only the request for me to pay for transport. They know this. They know one of the handler's was hospitalized. As there have been repeated warnings given and she has seen the damage to her husband all I can do is shake my head. She tells enough people the horse is hers I hope it stands up in court if she does ever get seriously bitten and she then decides the horse really is mine. When I had this particular horse in Tx there were plenty of other horse people she respected but here this family thinks of my drafts as loveable "gentle" giants and treats them as pets. This mare thinks of them as door mats - something to tromp all over and like a puppy pick up and throw around. Long story short NO TEETH. For me that means no lips as well.
         
        01-13-2013, 06:19 PM
      #17
    Yearling
    Somewhere between a horse that only lips occasionally in an experimental kind of way and a horse that has enough contempt for people to put them in the hospital, there is your horse. One would need very little correction, just a gentle reminder about what's appropriate. The other, might need to be taken to such extremes as to essentially 're-instill' their instinctual fear of a human being so that they would consider the idea of challenging you the same as inviting death.

    You have to be the judge of how far you're willing to let it go, but it is an actual fact that the longer you wait, the more you'll have to do. So the question does become, what is fair to the horse and in his long-term best interests.
         
        01-13-2013, 07:40 PM
      #18
    Trained
    I am hesitant to allow this, no matter how malicious the horse is being, or how nice they are. Even if the horse doesn't mean to, all that needs to happen is the teeth connect with skin instead of clothing, and you have a nice bite that you essentially allowed to happen. Horses are not usually trying to hurt us when this happens - but their teeth are big, and sometimes accidents will happen. I don't like to put myself in a position where this accident could hurt me or anyone else.
    LisaG likes this.
         
        01-13-2013, 07:58 PM
      #19
    Weanling
    I wouldn't necessarily take this as the horse disrespecting you, but I would try to discourage it.

    What I've done in the past with nibbling horses is give them a little pinch on the muzzle when they nip. It worked very well. I think they start doing it out of curiosity, but it can certainly escalate.

    If the horse actually bites, you'll need to get much firmer. To me, an actual bite would earn that horse a very hard, quick slap on the neck.

    KatieQ, you might want to tell your friend to back off with the kicking. There's not much flesh on a horse's leg to protect it from pain or injury. Anyone who's been kicked/hit in the shin would have an idea of how that feels (speaking as someone who walked around with ugly bruises on my shins for over a year after a kickboxing incident).
         
        01-14-2013, 09:45 AM
      #20
    Foal
    Just remember this "Little nibblers grow up to be Big Biters". You are allowing horse behavior that is common in a herd. The less dominate members of the herd will do the mutial nibbling thing with each other and occationally with the dominate horse. Eventually they will challange a more dominate horse by nibbling then a quick bite. Don't let your horse get to the point where he challenges your place at the top of the herd.
         

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