There is a horse at my stable who I love with all my heart. He is an amazing mount who is such a comfortable ride. He is so sweet (when he wants to be) and he can be very affectionate. However, he has one huge problem...he bites. When you take him out of his stall he tries to bite. When you put his saddle/pads on he tries to bite. When you tighten his girth he tries to bite. When you trie to mount him he attempts to bite your leg. When you're leading him you can never keep a loose lead rope because he will try to bite. This horrible habit makes me so sad because I seem to be the only one who loves him and understands him. Everyone else is just afraid of him.
I would really love to be able to break him of this habit, but I don't know how or even if it's possible. I'm sure there are ways, but he's a lesson horse so unless every single client who rides him does whatever it takes to stop his biting it might not work. I was wondering, does anyone know how to solve this problem so that at least I won't get bit? Thanks so much!
My gelding used to have this issue.....We've cured him of it no problem.
When you go to take him out of his stall, and he pins his ears/ lunges at you, get him to back up and respect YOUR space. Swing your lead rope at him, or get a crop and wave it in his face and at his chest. Don't let him move left, right, or forward, just back, or standing still. When he's got his ears on you, then attempt to put the halter on and lead him out. If he gets pissy, repeat the process until he stops.
When you're tacking him up, have someone holding him and his lead rope and forget tying him up or the cross ties. When you put the saddle on/tighten the girth and he turns to bite, give him a good hard jerk on the lead rope and tell him to BACK UP. Be serious about it, don't accept one lazy step back, get him actively moving his feet and his attention on you. When he looks like he's paying attention, try it again. Repeat as neccesary.
It only took my gelding a day to learn some respect. I'm his sole rider, but he has plenty of other people handling him and they haven't reported any problems since then.
Please do me a big favor and describe in as much detail the exact conditions of how the horse is housed.
Please include the size of his stall,amount of turn out,how much exercise he gets per day and week,how often he is groomed,and how he is handled as he acts out.
Please include any reason that you think why he would have this behavior or why he would be mad.
Also if you could include any back ground on how he was trained to ride and how he is used as a riding horse and also when the behavior started.
Assuming this horse wasn't seriously abused or mistreated in the past, next time he pins his ears and comes at you, smack him in the muzzle, HARD. You won't hurt him, more than likely, you'll just shock the heck out of him.
That being said [and I'm sure I'll get tons of crap for it but whatever, it usually works, and horses aren't like dogs when it comes to biting], make sure he isn't in any pain, and make sure he respects your space. Set him up for success, tie him up shorter while tacking up so he can't get to you, have a skilled horse person hold him while you mount, simply don't give him the opportunity to bite you.
My gelding had this exact same problem! I purchased him (really got a great deal) from a stable where he had been used for riding lessons for 7 years. He developed these behaviors over a period of time to intimidate the clients and eventually became too dangerous to have around. His owner was very upfront about him and did not try to hide any of his behavior difficulties. He had no commercial value at that point. His rehabilitation process has been very successful.
He was quite dangerous to handle when he first arrived. He has a "real evil eye" so it is fairly easy to read him. You did not dare enter the stall. However, if I stood there with the halter he would advance and lower his head into it after a few minutes. He liked to be groomed but had to be tacked up while you stood on the outside of the chute on the opposite side of the fence. I had to do this for about 5 weeks so that I did not get bit or kicked. Slowly his tacking up behavior improved and now I only have to short tie him for the girthing process and do take my time to make it as positive as possible for him. I use a cold-back procedure along with a Skito pad and quality mohair cinch.
The first thing I did was give him a month off in the pasture. I decided I would not ride him in the arena as he had shown an obvious dislike for it through his refusing and balking. We began trail work. I changed his bit and for the first 8 months rode him in a light treeless saddle so that I could work on re-muscling him so that I could fit a correct saddle to him. He had been ridden for years in an ill fitting saddle. I have never ridden him with any artificial aids.
My horse required a ton of behavior modification but he has ended up to be the best trail horse I have ever owned. We are a good fit now. I still respect his time in his box, don't ask him for arena work and short tie him up for saddling. However, he happily goes anywhere I ask of him with his ears forward and tail up for hours on end. I am happy to have the pleasure of spending time with him as I feel he has found his niche in life.
I still have a box warning on the front of his stall when he has to spend time there and he hates the vet enough that recently he had to be double sedated for stiches due to a recent laceration. But, he is a good guy under my direction and just required the correct form of handling and change of environment.
My horse was beyond responding to the corrections mentioned above. He would charge to bite. I can assure you that smacking, hitting or whipping are NOT the right form of correction in your situation. My best results came from patience, positive behavior reinforcements and being non-reactive to his hysterics and threats.
Exercise caution around this animal. My horse is also very lovey-dovey, however, given the right circumstances he could do serious injury to a person not paying attention. There is always the possibility that the air nipping will turn into "making a connection" situations.
I am surprised your barn owner has not taken him out of service if he is doing this to clients. You can only be aware and careful, use techniques to protect yourself and others and discuss this with the horses owner to see how they want the horse handled so that the best interests of the animal are considered along with the safety of their clients. They should place the special client instructions on his stall.
this is a time that John Lyons would tell you to invoke the 3 second rule. for 3 seconds that horse will have to believe in its brain and total being that you are going to kill it and it can't escape death. i don't mean to harm the animal, just make it think it's going to die. yell, throw up your arms, slap it with a switch below the knees, charge it, etc. then stop. the idea is to make the horse understand that this is behavior that WILL NOT be tolerated. the reason is simple enough. if you ever see someone who has been bitten by a horse you'll understand. it's amoung the most dangerous things a horse can do. just like you can't stand to be kicked and when a horse turns its butt to you, you won't tolerate that behavior, biting is the same thing. people so often don't understand that a horse looks at them as if they are another horse and will treat them like another horse. if they can be top horse they will. if they know that trying to be top horse will get them into more trouble that they can live with, they will willingly be second horse in the pecking order.
the stable owner aught to understand that a biting horse is a real liability.
i have an "ex stallion" who's known for biting, too.
when i pick his hooves, bridle him, tighten his girth, blanket him, so on. what ive done thats inproved him A LOT so far is, i wack him in the muzzle with my hand hard enough to get the message across but odviously not enough to hurt him.
probubly some people wont agree with me, but biting is dangerous and not acceptable, and this method works for him.
(my horse is a very large built quarterhorse, id do something different about biting if the horse is smaller like an arabian)
he sounds like he needs a vacation and maybe his back checked for pain. If he's a lesson horse he's probably had several different saddles on his back along with many levels of riders. It's easy for a lesson horse to get soured.
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