Afraid of horse bites? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 08-14-2013, 06:46 AM Thread Starter
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Red face Afraid of horse bites?

Ugh, every time I want to approach a horse and pet it, I always think it will bite me! D:
I've heard about some horrible horse bites, and even though I don't see their ears lowered on their back, I'm still afraid it'll bite, so without a carrot(Heck I only give apples to the baby horses) I'm too afraid to approach it. Any tips on how to overcome my fear? xD
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post #2 of 14 Old 08-14-2013, 06:56 AM
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Keep doing what you are doing. 95% of horse's don't bite in a mean way anyway and almost guaranteed that ears up or just relaxed they aren't going to bite as it IS a warning/reaction and not a general "I think I'll just bite a human today" kind of attitude.

The other thing to do is to limit your petting to the horse's neck and shoulder for a bit until you are more comfortable. You tend to be standing more to the side to do this and it make sit a little harder for a horse to bite without you having a little more time to react by stepping back.

If the owner, barn manager etc are with you, ask the question if the horse is a valid question so they aren't going to look at you funny unless you keep asking the same question over the same horse. No one is going to lie about it unless they really dislike you and if they disliked you THAT much you wouldn't be near the horse in the first place. :)

Now, I would NOT be approaching, even over a fence, a horse I do not know..think of just pulling the car over and getting out to pet a strange horse. First, that is dangerous in a liability sense of the word and second, people have strange reactions at times to people doing that..can't blame them.
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post #3 of 14 Old 08-14-2013, 08:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Mel20 View Post
Ugh, every time I want to approach a horse and pet it, I always think it will bite me! D:
I've heard about some horrible horse bites, and even though I don't see their ears lowered on their back, I'm still afraid it'll bite, so without a carrot(Heck I only give apples to the baby horses) I'm too afraid to approach it. Any tips on how to overcome my fear? xD
Mel, just be quiet around a horse, and approach it so the horse could see you. The majority of the horses I have ever met NEVER tried to bite (or even nip) the human. Also the majority of the horses do enjoy a gentle pat on a neck, or rub on nose or forehead. (if horse doesn't like to be patted it'll most likely won't come close, or will walk away when you try to approach it).

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass: it's about learning to dance in the rain..."

"When we are no longer able to change a situation - we are challenged to change ourselves."

"How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours."
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post #4 of 14 Old 08-14-2013, 09:22 AM Thread Starter
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Alright, thank you guys! I'll keep that in mind, and I'm more confident now
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post #5 of 14 Old 08-17-2013, 07:26 PM
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Just an addition to KV's excellent comment, you're probably more likely to get bitten if you're carrying a treat with you, than if you are not. Not necessary because the horse is trying to bite you, but it may start snooping around for food and you may get in the way of its teeth. If you don't have food on you, 9 times out of 10 the horse will just walk away if it's cranky and doesn't want a pat ;)
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post #6 of 14 Old 08-18-2013, 06:42 AM
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You'll be happy to know that not many horses bite at all! It is very rare to come across an awful bite from a horse. If you are scared of being bitten, don't go up to a random horse in a field and pet him. Try going down to a riding school, or even somebody you see walking down your road on a hack with their pony. You can ask 'That's a lovely pony! Can I pet him?', and if the person says yes, put the back of your hand just under his muzzle to let him catch your scent. You can proceed to pet him on the neck or cheek, wherever you please! There, that's one horse that doesn't nip! The fundamental part of nipping and biting is when an owner spoils their horse and gives them too many treats - out of their hand! The horse begins to expect this all the time, and will then nip and bite at everything. If you ever get your own horse, feed him treats in his feed bucket instead:)
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post #7 of 14 Old 08-21-2013, 08:56 AM
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Maybe you could try petting his neck first, that way you're hand isn't directly by his face. Like the previous posts said, it's rare to find a horse that bites. You could always ask the owner if it has a habit of biting before petting it. Unless your fingers look and smell like carrots, you should be fine ;)
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post #8 of 14 Old 08-30-2013, 03:47 PM
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I know how you feel! I had a really bad bite once and i'm still a little wary around horses. I have my own and i ride regularly but i am always watching their body language. Watch the ears mostly, if they pin them back, give the horse some room. Horses don't really bite for no reason, so you should be good(:
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post #9 of 14 Old 08-30-2013, 07:43 PM
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You are more likely to be bit by accident feeding a treat than be bit in aggression. I have been bit in aggression a few times in almost 20 years but I have been bit while hand feeding treats a lot more frequently! Now I've gotten pretty good at it but still, I am more likely to get a finger in their mouth while giving a treat than getting bit any other way.
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post #10 of 14 Old 08-31-2013, 12:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Mel20 View Post
Heck I only give apples to the baby horses
First, I would be much less concerned petting an adult horse than a baby as far as avoiding the teeth. Many young horses can be mouthy little creatures- they aren't malicious horses, but all babies like to explore with their mouths! Not trying to scare you away from the youngsters, but it seems like baby animals of all species like to have their mouths on everything!

The best advice that I have is to spend your time interacting with horses that you know are good natured and gentle. If you can interact with a horse after seeing positive interactions between the horse and other humans it'll probably make you more comfortable. Just being around horses and watching them will cause you to learn more about them, their personalities, and how to predict any ill behavior. THIS knowledge and experience is the way to getting mroe comfortable around horses!
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