Nipping me ALL THE TIME!

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Nipping me ALL THE TIME!

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  • Trainer pokes horse with nails
  • How do you stop a horse from nipping and biting

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    01-05-2011, 04:06 AM
Nipping me ALL THE TIME!

Again, I have a baby TB x Dutch Warmblood and he is a very good horse overall, especially in the saddle.

He is quite the joker.. he loves to play little baby games and quite frankly, he probably thinks it's hilarious.

Examples: He loves to knock down anything and everything. He loves to have WHATEVER is in my hand, in his mouth. He loves to bite EVERYTHING.

It's sooo very annoying because he nips me any time he gets the chance to. It is very very light, and he has NEVER gotten my skin, which is very suprising. He's very smart and probably knows I'd smack him if he'd gotten my skin. Anyway, times like when I tack him up or when I'm leading him, he will grab onto my clothes with his teeth very quickly. I usually say "Hey" sternly, and he kind of tosses his head back like I would hit him or something. If he does it again I'll usually give him a tap or a tap on the nose if I can get to it without him moving his head out of range.

How can I stop this?!
It's super obnoxious.
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    01-05-2011, 09:08 AM
My 2yo RMH does the same thing! He tried to eat the vets camera the other day when he was taking pictures of his sister! I have tried a lot of the advice on here about biting, but he thinks its this big game so I hope you get some good advice so I can hear it too! ;)
    01-05-2011, 10:41 AM
Super Moderator
He is treating you like you are 'one of the boys' out in the field in a herd of young 'teenage' colts. Have you watched the 'boys' play?

Frankly, I want to be their respected leader and not one of the boys.

Nipping is not cute and it is not funny. These horses desperately need manners and a firm leader that has drawn firm boundaries. They need structure and a leader --- not a friend.

Start by grooming outside (not in cross-ties) with a long lead-rope. Teach these horses to stand still. Make "Whoa!" have a meaning. You need to to have basic ground manners and a responsive horse. Teach a horse to back up lightly and very controlled, move his shoulder over when you 'smooch' (both directions of course), stand perfectly still and above all --- listen to you, respect you and obey you.

Make a horse back up quickly any time it does not obey. Most times, just getting a horse to be respectful makes them stop trying to 'play' with you. Make them understand that it is NEVER OK for them to 'play' with you. You cannot have it both ways. [Get a dog to play with and make your horse act like a respectful horse -- all the time.] The worst thing you can do is let a horse draw you into a game of 'nip and dodge'. You will make him head-shy and still have no manners instilled.

If a horse STILL tries to nip, simply hold a nail in your hand with about 1/2 inch of it sticking out between your thumb and fingers. Let him run into it. I guarantee that he will stop nipping and will not get head-shy from it. This also works very well if you are holding a horse to the Vet or farrier. Just hold a nail there and the horse will soon stop trying to play with the lead-rope or your hand. Just make sure the nail is in between his nose and anything he wants to play with.
    01-06-2011, 12:11 AM
Thanks Cherie. I will just have to be more strict with him. I do want to teach him to ground-tie. I will look up a post or something regarding that. Thanks!
    01-06-2011, 05:28 PM
I agree with Cherie, he is a young boy with young boy things on the mind.

If you watch colts play, a big part of the game is who can get taller! They raise their necks to nip the tops of each others heads, sometimes rear to do so. If you watch horses in general, they move each others shoulders away, the front end "goes away" first.

While I am sure it works, I've never thought to try to poke my horse with a nail :) So my method is anytime a horse is in my space, walking over me, nipping at me etc.. I get taller and beat them to the punch line. Raise your hands up, give a good thwap to behind the ears and waive them away until both front feet rotate the shoulders away from you. Then your arms go back down, ignore the horse and carry on with what you were doing. Since you know he has a nipping problem, take him on a lead rather than trying this tied or cross tied. Or just go out to the pasture and wait for him to be disrespectful then reprimand as such.

    01-06-2011, 05:29 PM
Thanks! I will do that. :)
    01-06-2011, 07:44 PM
I don't know what others do but at the petting zoo by me the guy had a pony that would bite him. He would turn around and bite the pony's ear!
I just looked at him like an idiot and all he said was "gotta teach him. Just makes ya brush your teeth more"
Wish I could help. I know if a goat bites ya you gotta whap him on the nose. Not to really hurt him but like if you're brother did it. To say "you better not do that!!!"
    01-06-2011, 08:04 PM
Ive had the same problem with my filly!! I always heard to not hit them in the face, so I didnt. I just would do either of 2 things, whack her a good one in the chest (similar to a punishment from a mare). Or, kill them with kindness, rub their faces til they can't stand no more. I mean rub the nose, mouth, lips, til they move away themselves. Depends on the horse, but I've seen both these methods work, and neither of them cause the horse to be headshy, but sure makes them think twice about nipping.

Remember, consistency is KEY. Whatever you do needs to be consistent.
    01-08-2011, 12:53 PM
Super Moderator
If a horse tries to nip a third or forth time, then your method of 'fixing' it and your methods of instilling manners are totally ineffective. Letting them run into a nail seldom takes more than once or twice. It has no downside (like becoming a game or making one head-shy) and it is extremely effective.

How many times does a horse walk up and grab an electric wire? Most horses do it once. Running into a nail is the exact same thing.
    01-08-2011, 12:59 PM
I have a really sour mare and she used to try and bite me all the time.
Whenever I was near her shoulders, I would always stick my elbow out, so when she would turn her head to bite me, she would hit my elbow.

baby, biting, game, nipping, teeth

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