Filly Threatening To Bite?
Sorry for the long post I tried to include enough information
This started Saturday and she hasn’t done it before with me. I am keeping her at an experienced (she has been around horses for a long time and now trains horses) lady’s house with her other horses. I haven’t been able to ask if she does this with her or her husband because they have been out the last two nights when I went by. What she is doing is every time I rub/pet her belly, where the cinch would go, she threatens to bite. She lays her ears back, sticks out her chin and turns her head back towards me. She hasn’t actually bitten or shown any teeth but I still feel like I should correct this. Am I thinking wrong? I have bopped her on the mouth with my elbow (each time she tried I would get more forceful) whenever she does this but that doesn’t seem to help. Would now be a good time to teach her to lunge so I can “drive” her away from me whenever she does this? Or am I going about this all wrong?
She is ok with me rubbing her belly in the cinch area on the left side but not the right and this has not been a problem before. I don’t feel any bumps or anything could she be tender right there?
Some background: I have had Mystic for a little of a month now. She is 6 months old, been wormed, feed grain twice a day, a flake of alfalfa hay a day, and usually there is some prairie hay where she can get some. She is currently in a pen with a mini gelding that is great with her. They feed her in the mornings and I feed her in the afternoon.
She generally will let you pet her anywhere. You can pick up her two front feet and she will let you hold them, I am still working on the back feet (she lets you pick them up but tries to pull away but she is doing better each day with this). She is ok with you running your hand down all of her legs, messing with her ears and face, lifting her tail and with ropes around her legs. She was not messed with any before I got her.
Please don't be too rude but I would like to know your opinon and advice.
Oh and I am planning on talking to her tonight to ask her what she thinks I should do but I would like to know your guys opinion and experience.
Sounds like it could be pain related. I would just see how she does over a period of time.
Lunging wont necessarily do much, but you can teach her to yield her forehand. A horse that moves his head & shoudlers away from you willingly cannot bit. Same goes for a horse that will move it's hindquarters away cannot kick with its teeth.
If she is only doing this now, and only when you touch one area, i would say that it is a comfort issue. Just continue with blocking her with your elbow or maybe handling her untied so that if she threatens to bite, you can apply the necessary pressure and get her to yield her nose & forehand well away from you.
Sounds like she may be "cinchy" (lots of mares/fillies are for some reason). I had one.. that would buck like a bronc sometimes because she was just plain cinchy.. and that was it. She would offer to bite and, when I put that to bed, she would cow kick. Notacceptable.
My thinking is that I should be able to touch my horse anywhere without the horse threatening me with teeth or feet. Now.. this is a very young horse so you probably don't want to get too much into training but I would make this reaction a heckuva lot more unpleasant for her than you touching her girth area.
If that means a round pen and making her move her feet or if it means the three second rule of letting her know it is completely unacceptable by letting her think she is going to be eaten or by making her do something else like yield or back matters not. I would tend toward the latter on a 6 month old weanling I think.. but I am not there and cannot read the horse.
I do know that if you stop touching her there when she snakes her head around at you then you will be teaching her the behavior works which will lead to it escalating.
My guess is that being only a 6 month old filly, she's just testing you. You don't need to teach her to lunge to drive her away....just run her off like another horse would.
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