Bitey Horse - The Horse Forum
  • 2 Post By Foxhunter
  • 1 Post By QtrBel
  • 1 Post By ClearDonkey
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post #1 of 6 Old 04-02-2020, 12:42 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: New Zealand
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Bitey Horse

Every single time I try to pick up my mares hooves she twists her neck around and bites me with her ears pinned back. THIS IS NOT PAIN RELATED. She is simply a grumpy mare saying NO. I have tried tying her tighter when picking out hooves but as soon as she realised she couldn't twist her neck enough to bite me she started pulling back very violently, ending in multiple snapped lead ropes. She is also very girthy.
Each time she turns her head to me I tap her on the nose but it doesn't do anything to stop her, if I really tell her off it only works for 30 or so seconds and as soon as I try to pick up her other front foot it is back to square one (She only bites for front feet). If she was tied tight enough to not bite and didnt pull back it is a massive struggle to get her to pick up her feet (All 4). I will lean my full weight on her leg and try to pull it up but she still wont do it, she isnt as bad on her back but her front are a nightmare

What can I do to stop her biting me?

The wind of heaven is that which blows between a horses ears.
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post #2 of 6 Old 04-02-2020, 01:16 AM
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Sounds like your mare has little respect for you.

So, what can you do?

As you found, tying her short causes her to pull back, try tying her normal length and have her stand at the end of her rope so the rope is tighter and she cannot reach around.

Or, put a second rope on her halter from the noseband,opposite side, have that go over her neck and hold it as she tries to swing her neck to get you.

A tap on the nose is going to do nothing at all, as you have found out, she needs a hard open handed slap across the muzzle that stings her. This has to be timed correctly tomget her as she swings her head and I doubt you will be able to do that.

Secondly she is being stubborn when you try and pick up her foot. You are correct to lean into her but not on trying to pull her foot up. She should automatically pick it up for you.

So, run your hand down her leg, lean into her slightly and if she doesn't pick the foot up use the pointed end of the hoofpick in her heel and she will lift it up.

The moment she does, hold forma second, put it down and give her a scratch. Repeat until she is picking it up as soon as your hand runs down her leg.

If by some chance she does try to run back be fast to get to her back end (on the side) and whack her hard to send her forward. If a horse pulls back it is never any good to try and get them forward from their front end.
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post #3 of 6 Old 04-02-2020, 08:52 AM
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@Foxhunter as always has some good thoughts. I personally take a slightly different approach. I feed them while picking their hooves. I have heard some people say not to do this, but I've found that most horses would rather eat than be difficult while you're picking their feet.

Take that for what it's worth -- Foxhunter has decades of horse experience, while I have only a few years.

I definitely agree that she should be picking her foot up, and you shouldn't be trying to force her to pick it up. That's a battle the horse will win every time.

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post #4 of 6 Old 04-02-2020, 08:56 AM
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I was always short on time and didn't have time to mess around. I expected my horses to pick up each foot when I tapped their leg. Even the yearlings would allow me to pick up their feet from one side - whilst they were loose.
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post #5 of 6 Old 04-02-2020, 09:14 AM
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@ACinATX . Part of the reason for not feeding while picking and insisting a horse stands is for the just in case. That time when you are not in your barn grooming where food is readily available but you are out with said horse and they get something stuck in their hoof. They need to be good citizens about their feet and not complying only when there is food. Now if your horse is fine with their feet and you are settling in for a good long grooming session sure then it makes things easier for them to be occupied. But if it a way to get them to comply then it is a hole in their training. For that same reasoning my preference is a horse that stands for their feet without being tied. Stands for grooming as well.
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post #6 of 6 Old 04-02-2020, 09:45 AM
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If this were my horse, I would look for someone to help me. Put a rope halter on her with a large metal clasp on the lead rope. Have someone holding the lead, prepared to knock her under the chin with the clasp the second she begins to show any sign of turning to bite when you are lifting her leg. It is pretty easy to get a really good hit on their chin with a quick flick downwards with your wrist on a lead rope with quite a bit of length in it. I would be tempted to do this as soon as she puts her ears back or even looks at the person lifting her feet in the slightest.

I personally prefer to not have to focus on lifting a leg and also having an eye on the horse to make sure I can correct their behavior at just the right second. If you can ensure getting a well-timed elbow right to her nose, you could do that also, but I don't like risking having the horse get a bite of my bum.

How is she with the farrier lifting her legs? Does she turn to go for him?

If so, this method would be good to use when the farrier is there. Let him/her know what your horse has been doing, and give him/her a warning that you are going to correct it, HARD, so that it is unexpected when the horse pulls their leg away and moves. Hopefully you can fix this habit before the farrier comes, but just in case, most farriers are okay with you correcting your horse as long as you warn them before doing something.

Many times when the farrier is at my barn and I'm holding my horses or other peoples horses, the first time the horse acts up I will tell the farrier "hey farrier, X is doing Y. Next time X does Y, I am going to do Z, is that okay with you?". If they prefer that I do not do Z, then I ask "what could I do instead to ensure your safety and make sure the horse is behaving appropriately?". If the farrier knows that she has been showing interest in biting, they likely have the experiencing to hit her muzzle, hard, or knock her in the belly with one of his tools (some people don't like this, but if my horse is well-deserving of correction, a well-timed belly hit is fine with me).
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