Horse nipped me!
   

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Horse nipped me!

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    09-16-2013, 01:59 AM
  #1
Foal
Horse nipped me!

Hi there, I am new to this forum and had a question. So I pass by this field almost every other day and there is these 2 mares I see there all the time. About a month ago I decided to stop at the fence and admire the two, eventually they came over to me so I began to scratch their flank and withers vigorously, which they seemed to like since they stuck around the fence for over an hour for me to do this.

Anywho, I have noticed that one horse is much larger. If the smaller one approaches me first the older larger one will put her ears back and start going slowly head first towards the other. The smaller one typically runs off. Then the bigger one tends to get real close putting her muzzle into my shirt as I scratch her withers. She sticks around for a bit ears typically forward but sometimes goes back, I think she is listening to the other horse behind her. Anywho she turns her whole body around for me to scratch all over. When she is done she seems to slowly walk off and munch grass, then the small one comes over. The smaller horse seems more nippy, she sniffs my hands after I pet the other horse and has this confused look. Normally I can pet her the same but she always wants to gum or gently teeth things.

This time as I passed by the fence I brought 2 carrots with me, gave one to the smaller horse, petted her a bit and then the bigger horse came and I did the same. She stuck around for awhile and let me scratch all over as usual as she buried her muzzle into my jacket. But once she left the smaller horse seemed more aggressive, her ears were back and she kept trying to nip me. Was she angry from the carrot I gave the other dominant horse? I dunno, either way it kinda scared me. Normally when I pass by this fence they seem to enjoy my presence and me scratching their sides. I dunno, its just hard to read if they are happy or angry is all. Either way this is just something that's been on my mind, got a tiny little welt on my arm from where she nipped me.

Sorry for all that, and no I am not trespassing over the fence. I stay on my side and don't go into their boundaries.
     
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    09-16-2013, 02:17 AM
  #2
Yearling
You are feeding someone else's horses. It is possible that the smaller one has food agression, and by treating it, but not dealing with its behaviour properly, you are encouraging it again.
Be careful with bringing treats to horses.. Also, they have a tendency to just want food, and since you didn't have another carrot, the little one got annoyed.. they are using you as a scratchpole, nothing else.
SO obviously they will try to push you around - scratch me here, scratch me there.. Oh, you got nothing? Then bugger off!
     
    09-16-2013, 02:23 AM
  #3
Super Moderator
I used to pet any horse I could reach across a fence, and feed them all kinds of things. Now, I might try to pet them, and maybe hand them a handful of sweet green grass but won't give them any treats . The owners could be very worried aobut a total stranger feeding them. Could be, they wont' care at all. Hard to know, so I error on the side of caution.

I am also very cautios about allowing a strange horse to put there head/mouth on my shirt or against my body . Horses are unpredictable, and an unknown horse even more so. They have an instinct to mutually groom, so when you are scratchingthem, they will want to "groom" you with their teeth at the same time. Such action signals to the other hosre that they should continue grooming and all is dandy. But, sometimes this movement of the mouth (normally , when a human scratches them, they do it in the air , as IF grooming another horse) , if allowed to come in contact with you, can become a nip or a bite, almost by accident.

Also, since you groomed the dominant mare, and allowed her to mouth all over you and push into you, edemanding that you scratch her "here on my hip" , and "here, on my shoulder", you come off as actually subordinate , and the smaller mare, who is subordinate to the larger one, wants to see if you are subordinant to her, too. That may be why she put her ears back and nipped at you, mixed in with pestering you for scratches.


If you choose to scratch these horses, and I don't blame you for wanting to, you make sure its on YOUR terms. They do not put their muzzles on you, nor do they push against you , certainly not so that you lose your balance or have to back up/away from them.
     
    09-16-2013, 02:33 AM
  #4
Foal
Wow, both of these answers are both rather depressing and very disheartening. I guess I will just ignore these horse from now on, I really was enjoying how lovely they were but now I feel rather used and discarded from hearing all this. Thank you both for you answers, I just wish the answer could have been more positive is all.
     
    09-16-2013, 03:34 AM
  #5
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by SimonTheSkink    
Wow, both of these answers are both rather depressing and very disheartening. I guess I will just ignore these horse from now on, I really was enjoying how lovely they were but now I feel rather used and discarded from hearing all this. Thank you both for you answers, I just wish the answer could have been more positive is all.
With horses you have to be consistent, and you cannot allow them to push you around. As long as you can control that (your own actions and behaviour) you can pet them and feed them grass all you want, as long as the owners have nothing to say about it..

Would you like if your horse was constantly fed with all kinds of sweets by strangers?

Just be careful, stay positive yourself, and take these comments as a word of advice, instead of discouragement..
     
    09-16-2013, 04:15 AM
  #6
Green Broke
Would you like it if a stranger came into your front yard and started playing with your kid and giving them all sorts of candy without your permission? Why would it be any different for a horse, or a dog, or any other living thing that is under your care?

I know strangers come up to my horses where I board an will pet them and give them treats without my permission. I don't appreciate it at all. I have a learning yearling whose going through his "I'm big and I know it" phase. He is feed aggressive. He'll pin his ears and try to nuzzle your hands for treats. How can I be consistent in my correcting him when a complete stranger lets him nibble all over their hands and praises him while his ears are pinned?

He also has a history of choking on food. What were to happen of he choked on a treat you gave him and I was not there to figure out what was happening? I'll be ****ed if my horse chokes to death because a complete stranger came onto private property and gave my horse food without permission.

Not to mention he has brain damage. He is a sweet, sweet boy who would never think of intentionally hurting someone, but my vet said there might come a day where he just "snaps" and becomes a danger to himself and everyone around him. Even though you were petting and feeding my horse without my permission while trespassing, it would still be my fault if you were to get hurt because that's the kind of logic we live with these days.

I would be getting the owners permission before you touched these horses again for your safety and the horses'. A horse can kill you without blinking an eye. The knowledgable owners may let you spend more quality time with them under their expert supervision so as to lessen your chances of getting hurt. It may not be what you want to hear, but it's reality. Put yourself in my or another horse owner's shoes and you'll soon figure out why unwelcomed visitors are not something we take lightly.
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    09-16-2013, 07:12 AM
  #7
Cat
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by SimonTheSkink    
Wow, both of these answers are both rather depressing and very disheartening. I guess I will just ignore these horse from now on, I really was enjoying how lovely they were but now I feel rather used and discarded from hearing all this. Thank you both for you answers, I just wish the answer could have been more positive is all.
I'm sorry if the answers are disheartening, but it really is best if you don't feed them unless the owner is there and gives you permission. I've had to deal with a few treat-aggressive horses and its not fun and can be dangerous.

I wouldn't even try feeding green grass to a horse that is not my own as you really could get hurt feeding horses from your hand if one is food-aggressive. I know a lady who is missing part of her finger tip because one got a hold of it.
     
    09-16-2013, 07:18 AM
  #8
Showing
Quote:
Originally Posted by SimonTheSkink    
Wow, both of these answers are both rather depressing and very disheartening. I guess I will just ignore these horse from now on, I really was enjoying how lovely they were but now I feel rather used and discarded from hearing all this. Thank you both for you answers, I just wish the answer could have been more positive is all.
The problem is not every owner likes their horses to be given treats (I personally not a fan of it, mostly because some people do not know what is good and what is safe and may give all kind of junk). Also some horses are more food-aggressive, and treats make it worse (sounds like a case here).

Could you just talk to the owner and nicely ask if you can pet them? Every horseowner I know wouldn't mind that.
     
    09-16-2013, 07:29 AM
  #9
Trained
I don't mind if people pet my horses but I really don't like it when they try to hand feed them. I have signs up that say, "Please don't feed your fingers to the horses." If you're feeding the strange horses without the owner's permission then you're leaving yourself open to an unfriendly encounter with the owner. What if they bite (not just nip) or kick you? Being double barrelled with both back feet isn't fun, I know from first hand experience, but it was my own horse.
     
    09-16-2013, 09:41 AM
  #10
Weanling
I agree with Dreamcatcher. My horses are young, so I do not hand feed them or allow anyone else to. Recently I discovered some little girls from up the road were feeding them grass over the gate regularly, which really annoyed me because I had spoken with their mother prior to moving the horses here and made it very clear I did not want people feeding them over the fence. I went and caught the girls at it, and when confronted their response was, "It's okay, we know all about horses!" Umm, obviously not! It is a particularly bad idea with young horses because any human interaction is training, and I do NOT want my horses trained by 8 year old little girls, thank you.
     

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