Hardheaded young Mini gelding

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Hardheaded young Mini gelding

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    03-04-2012, 12:45 AM
Hardheaded young Mini gelding

Hey everyone!

I have a Mini gelding who is coming up on 2 years old. He is VERY nippy, and despite my constant behavioral corrections, remains nippy. When he nips, I grab the long hair on the side of his head (between the muzzle and cheek) and twist (he's quite fuzzy right now from his winter coat so the hair is easily grabbed and twisted). The woman who I board with advised me to do this, assuring that it does not harm the horse and corrects nipping/biting. I have also tried immediately backing him, when he nips while leading. However, Koda just does not seem to respond to corrections. I go as far as I can with punishments but avoid anything like physical abuse (of course).

He is also constantly pestering his companion, a 30 year old Shetland named Hammer, and nips at his hindquarters and tail all the time (though it may just be around feeding time that they start this nipping war). Poor old Hammer has had most of his tail ripped out by Koda, the little twerp. I'm pretty embarrassed that he's done that to Hammer, as Hammer's owner is the manager of the place I board and my farrier.

Please advise if you have experience with a hardheaded Miniature who just does not respond to corrections.

Years ago, I had another Miniature, who was also nippy and reared when he was young, but he was a gentleman by age 4. So, I'm hoping the same happens with Koda, but I'm getting tired of the constant battle of him nipping vs. me correcting. It is endless. I'm probably doing something wrong, so please help me be a better Mini owner!


Edited to add: He was gelded approximately 10 months ago.
ETA2: Round penning is not an option, because where I board, they took the round pen down to move it and have not put it back up yet, and, it's a very small diameter circle that I feel would stress his joints (they need way more panels).
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    03-04-2012, 12:52 AM
If a horse bites me, I smack em right in the mouth. There's no excuse for a nippy horse and it's dangerous and needs to be correctly immediately. A good whop to his mouth should turn his nippy attitude around. Also, slapping him from under his head, should not make him headshy because he'll have a difficult time seeing where the hand is coming from.

I've also heard of people carrying a nail with them and using just the very tip to poke them in the muzzle. It's more of a shock then really painful and it gets the point that nipping is very bad across to most horses. Now, I didn't say STAB him, just a quick little poke should do the trick.
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    03-04-2012, 12:58 AM
Well, in my opinion (and I think the mini's as well) twisting the hair there has not been much of a correction. I have a pony who gets an extremely fuzzy winter coat and little kids are always clinging to his hair and climbing around him like little monkeys and he doesn't mind at all. I think the twist/pull might be slightly irritating but he knows not to take you seriously because he wouldn't try so much if he really knew he'd get in trouble for it.

I think you'd have better luck carrying a dressage whip or crop and getting him on the chest when he nips, both to stop the nip and to force him to step back and away from you when he does this. Regardless I think it's going to take a lot of time and consistency, and you have to be willing to up the ante if need be. They are small but they are ruthless! It's been my personal experience that the smaller they are the stronger correction is needed ;p
Wallaby likes this.
    03-04-2012, 01:01 AM
I have smacked him in the mouth, to no avail, but have not tried the pointy object thing, though I've seen talk on the forums about it alot. I'll have to give it a try. I'll also give the crop/whip a try. I am getting so fed up with him! Though I admit that if I start getting angry with him during one of our behavior battles, then I put him up for the day and leave before I get too mad and let that cloud how I interact with him. Thanks for the advice. :)

Oh, and here is a picture I have of him tugging on poor old Hammer's tail, which is now just a wisp...
    03-04-2012, 01:04 AM
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    03-04-2012, 01:04 AM
Omg! I'm sorry, but that picture is adorable. Look at that grip. I don't know much you can do personally about it, if the other horse lets him. Maybe a nasty tasting thing you can spray or rub into the tail?
    03-04-2012, 01:10 AM
Attackships, I'll have to try that, at least to let Hammer get a chance to grow his poor tail back. :(
    03-04-2012, 01:12 AM
I would get some professional help with this
    03-04-2012, 01:17 AM
I am seriously considering that!
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    03-04-2012, 09:52 PM
As far as the tail biting goes... they make a product called bitter apple that we actually use in vet clinics to discourage chewing/biting of bandages and such... I think it might be worth a shot to put some of that on Hammer's tail and see if it discourages your mini from nomming.

I don't know if you need professional help yet -- just be very firm with him and he should get the message. If he nips, return the favor threefold with a really hard pinch, a smack to the jaw, or a poke with a nail. Good luck!

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