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oconley 10-23-2012 06:56 PM

Biting Yearling!
OK, when my friend is ponying her yearling colt on the trail he is constantly biting her leg closest to him. She doesn't want to make him head-shy but she's getting tired of him doing this. Her gelding that she pony's off of, obviously, can't reach the colt to correct this behavior. The colt was weaned at 4 weeks old so he never got the chance to learn from mom how to behave. Any suggestions that I can give her?

Tarpan 10-23-2012 07:58 PM

I'm no expert... but perhaps aim for an area other then the head? I have found that the shoulder is a nice, meaty area good for getting my point across on.

lilruffian 10-23-2012 10:54 PM

Horses bit eachother in the face all the time when they want to move that part of the body. My mare is always nipping at my filly's nose.
The only way she will make him head shy is if she smacks him about for no obvious reason. If it is just a correction & then she leaves him alone he should be fine.

Thunderspark 10-23-2012 11:22 PM

I have a now 3yr. gelding.....when he was first born, only a few days old he was trying to suckle on me anywhere he could get his mouth......I didn't want to smack him either, so my hubby and I had talked about it and he asked me what the Mom would do......I said she would squeal at him and then bite I squealed at him LOL might sound stupid but I only had to twice and he's never has tried to nip or bite people.....he will smell us but never does he mouth might try that with that little guy......

Muppetgirl 10-23-2012 11:47 PM

You all seriousness, he is not going to get headshy if she uses her toe to bump his nose when he tries to bite. And if the yearling is trying to bite her, why on earth would it be the geldings job to correct the yearling? Makes not much sense. She will only have to bump his nose with her toe a couple of times before he figures it out. He's not going to go headshy from that......

Ps. If he was biting his mom, he'd get a lot more than a bump in the nose....

kateyb1622 10-24-2012 01:24 AM

I am in agreement. He is at the age where this behavior is common. It is very unlikely he would get head shy from a good bump in the nose for correction and he is young enough it should be a quick and easy fix. If it is not corrected it will not take long to become an issue - he will get bolder and bite harder and it will hurt! Even young horses with proper herd socialization will take a nip at humans because they learn to establish a place with us as well.

Part of responsible horse ownership sometimes involves a firm hand. That doesn't mean an abusive hand by any means but, it is my opinion you cannot properly or safely care for a horse that walks all over you, the vet, or the farrier. If you watch herd behavior in the pasture it's easy to see that your hand will not inflict what a hoof or bite from a pasture-mate would.

Watch his body language and beat him to it (just before he nips) if you can - as soon as you see it coming. A good firm one on the nose - and act like nothing happened. It will not take him long to realize it's not okay and the nipping should stop. Aggression in horses towards humans is fairly rare, especially at his age.

Best of luck :)

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