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skron37 05-15-2013 11:10 AM

Biting horse. Is this normal?
I am a new horse owner. I have had my 2 horses almost a year. Jewels is a 15 yo paint mare, who is a very laid back sweet horse. Dancer is a 4 yo QH/Appy mare. She is over all a great horse, but can be a little pushy. Dancer is clearly dominant over Jewels. I realize its normal for there to be a "leader of the herd", but my concern is that I regurlarly find marks on Jewels that appear to be from getting bit or kicked. There are only the two of them and what's funny is that when out on the trails Dancer is more comfortable following.
Is the biting normal or should I be worried??

Thanks for any advice.

waresbear 05-15-2013 11:13 AM

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Unfortunately yes, sometimes even with just 2 horses, bites are common, hopefully just nip marks. Kicking not as common, that concerns me as it causes more damage.
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Casey02 05-15-2013 11:21 AM

I would say if it is happening all the time and the bits/kicks are severe. Then yes I would be worried. If the dominate horse is just keeping the other one in line that's another story. I had to remove my gelding from a herd and put him with just one other buddy because of how badly he was getting bit and kicked. After a kick under the eye happened I was done. I couldn't risk it anymore

aforred 05-15-2013 11:24 AM

What is their living situation? This is a common problem if they feel crowded. If that's not it, I'm not sure how to get him over it.

waresbear 05-15-2013 11:29 AM

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OP, if you are worried about kicking, as I would be, separate paddocks are in order, however, you can turn them out together for grazing in larger areas as they are more occupied with foraging then jousting for position.
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SlideStop 05-15-2013 11:32 AM

How big is their paddock?
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dbarabians 05-15-2013 11:34 AM

I think the horses are probably too crowded maybe at feeding time.
Is the hay or feed for each in different spots?
If you are seeing scraps not deep wounds then that is normal. when in heat the mares may become more territorial than usual. Shalom

skron37 05-15-2013 12:57 PM

I believe their paddock is big enough for just the 2 of them and we just fenced a new turn out pasture so that might help. We feed them in two different spots because when food is involved Dancer always chases Jewels away, but I take that as normal. The marks are usually small spots on her hind end or sides where the hair is gone and maybe a scab, nothing deep. I've not seen any kicking, but yesterday there was crescent shaped mark at the base of her forelock. I thought that was a strange spot for a bite.

tinyliny 05-15-2013 01:09 PM

is the dominant mare shod? if so, you can also take off rear shoes. this can lessen the impact of a kick, which is usually the rear feet striking.

Corporal 05-15-2013 01:21 PM

Any time horses live in herd there will be biting and kicking and dominant behavior. This is perfectly normal. Horses are unique. Normal, socialized horses don't do much damage and the nicks and cuts would only bother someone who is ready to take that horse to a show. Some horses are not well socialized and they can be brutal when beating up another horse. If this is happening either you didn't take time to introduce these horses to each other---I used to take several months---OR you have a mini-sociopathic horse who will get you a Vet bill.

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