Trying to bite me when I mount
So whenever I go to get on this gelding, he pins his ears, shakes his head, swishes his tail, picks up a leg, and often turns his head with his mouth open coming at me. At first I was popping him on the chin with the end of a lead rope every time he did it, but it wasn't working at all. So I tried a different approach, which was "kicking" like a dominant horse would. I lifted my foot to put it in the stirrup and as soon as he pinned those ears I made his feet move aggressively, and you could see "What the hell?!" in his eyes. I went to put my foot in the stirrup and he didn't even look at me. It may just been a temporary fix, but he sure wasn't thinking about biting me... Any advice on how to prevent it from happening again? I don't want to make it PHYSICALLY impossible for him to bite him, I want it to be MENTALLY impossible. If that makes sense.
Now, another thing. He drops out (male parts) a lot when I'm saddling him or working with him. And, it's stiff, like he's excited. He also drips. He is extremely laid back and pokey, and he doesn't act studly around mares or anything. Any clue why he might be doing this? Maybe he's just reallllly relaxed?
Also - it's not a pain issue.
I don't have any advice other than what you did. I am interested to hear that it was successful becasue I have a friend whose horse is cinch sour.
There was another thread about biting which was really interesting. I know that some horses will only get more into it if you hit back at them (or have them "run into" your elbow). It's almost like they are bored and get a kick out of engaging you in a sort of game. They can get meaner and meaner. I know I have smacked back at several horses who bit at me. I should try your method. I think it will be better at changing the mental attitude that creates the urge to bite anyway.
I think the thread you saw may have been mine, which I still haven't fixed. The only piece of advice I can offer with biting problems is that whacking them will either fix the problem or make them faster, which is where I'm hung up because for the first time in my life I have horse who got faster rather than just stopping.
You can take your right rein and bring his head around a bit, so he can't reach you; eventually he won't even try, because he just can't reach. Others will bring the left rein around. Essentially just ignoring the 'attempts'.
The thing that you did with making him move his feet would work as well; though that's usually my tactic for getting a horse to stand still. With a horse that wants to bite as I'm getting on, I may work his tail off for a bit before going to mount, and then simply work on mounting...put foot up to stirrup, and retreat...walk horse away from 'mounting spot', repeating...basically retraining his mind, to NOT anticipate the mounting, because he doesn't know when it's going to happen.
I do that alot with horses I train, whether they nip or not, and whether they stand nice or not...I don't ever want a horse anticipating when I'm getting on, and deciding it's a good time to take a bite out of me, or walking off as soon as I go to swing my leg over. Now I'm not saying one has to mount and dismount 50 times per session, but don't just get on, ride, get off...engage the horse's mind, during every aspect of the time you handle him.
My mare likes to get 'over eager' every once in a while, when I go to get on, so we will sometimes spend 5-10 minutes walking up to the block, sending back and forth while I'm on it, halting next to it, then backing away, etc...I'll figit with her tack and what not, may get on, and get back off, etc, and start over...she stands like a rock, no matter how long I have her set there, even once mounted, as a result.
One thing I also don't do, is get on and immediately send a horse forward; I might do a bunch of flexing laterally, and some backing, hip and shoulder yielding, etc...but I don't just get on and "GO"...that helps alot with anticipatory responses as well, as they really don't know when to expect your forward cue.
are you sure it's not a pain issue? have you looked at your tack it may have something rubbing/pinching him I don't really believe in Chiropracters but some people do... have you had his back looked at his back may be out of alignment.. I would think that he is biting for a reason and if you can figure the reason out then you should be able to stop it
Is this your own horse you're riding, a lesson horse, or ????
I'm with Nate on this one. Also might want to have a vet check done, see if there isn't a kidney problem. It could be something you're doing. :?::?::?: He's trying to tell you something, you just have to figure out what it is, and then fix it.
Thanks guys - problem is resolving with the make-his-feet-move method. Went out today and he pinned his ears, not trying to bite this time, just copped an attitude. Got his feet moving and tried to get on him again - he didn't twitch a muscle. Rode him for a short time, got off, tied him up, and came back. Went to mount - not a problem.
He is my horse; I just brought him in last Saturday. He's an older thoroughbred. He almost acts like a sour old lesson horse. He's very pokey, and kind of boring under saddle. Was gonna train him to be a kids horse for 4h or something, but I think he would enjoy trails with me much more :]
Edit: And yes, I'm sure it's not a pain issue. Tack is fine, his back is fine, everything is fine. That was already considered before I even posted, which is why I said "No, it's not a pain issue" because I didn't want to have to explain it (since I knew that's what people would immediately say/ask, and I wouldn't get any advice). Crickett - I actually thought about that! I thought it was far-fetched, and my friend looked at me funny when I asked the horse, "Is it your kidneys? Are ya passin a kidney stone, you old fart?" Haha.
I personally don't like the punishment tactic for this sort of thing, as it is generally a pain issue, or otherwise related to inconsiderate, rude or novice handling. That is to say, the horse is trying to tell, then attempting to punish the rider for what he's having to put up with.
**Not assuming any of that is necessarily your doing, or even a current problem BTW. Perhaps he had badly fitting tack or an inconsiderate handler who reefed the girth up or some such in his past. But I think why I still thought pain a possibility and others asked despite you saying it wasn't, is that it is so common for 'bad' behaviour to be pain related and so common for people not to see it, or to check the horse out incompletely... or even pay good money for 'experts'(such as professional saddle fitters) who don't have a clue themselves. So perhaps you can tell us what you have done to rule out pain?
Also have you considered that he's OK aside from the act of mounting, particularly if you're mounting from the ground? It can be uncomfortable for any horse to be mounted from the ground & depending on the saddle, your skill(or lack of) at bouncing up, your weight, etc, it can be very hard on them.
Punishing him and forcing him to put up with it is not fair IMO, let alone potentially just leads to worse, more reactive behaviour from the horse. At best, used alone without actually 'retraining', punishment is generally only temporary too, and each time the horse tries again, it will take harsher punishment to make him think twice.
I would instead try to get him confident & comfortable with the situation, using gradual approach & retreat tactics and positive reinforcement(rewards) for any 'good' behaviour. In that manner I would change his attitude & therefore behaviour towards being saddled/mounted/ridden & make it worth his while to 'be good', rather than just the lesser punishment.
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