Mouthy Horses - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 20 Old 03-12-2018, 10:36 PM Thread Starter
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Mouthy Horses

I have a fairly new horse (bought at the end of last summer, so didn't have much nice weather to work with him) who is very mouthy. When your doing something with another horse or sometimes either him he nibbles at you. Over the past few months he has gotten worse and actually more of a bite but not like an aggressive bite. If that makes any sense at all. I know he is not in discomfort or anything. For example the other day I was out brushing him, getting all his winter coat out, and he was totally fine. He was actually falling asleep while I was doing it, but as soon as I quit and went under his neck to put the brush away he turned to bite at me. He is very pushy on the grounds due to the owner before me not doing anything with him and just letting him sit in a field for years. Please help before I lose a finger, lol just kidding. But any tips or advice from previous mouthy horses.
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post #2 of 20 Old 03-12-2018, 10:57 PM
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Is this the horse you are trying to get involved in barrel racing? I would strongly advice against leapfrogging over levels in his training and put in a solid foundation first. If I fool around with a horse and I feel teeth, even if it's just on cloth, I don't jump out of my skin and go berserk, but I still grab his nose with both hand, give it a little shake, and say, "Hey, no biting!". Then I go back to petting him. I haven't had any biting incidents, or even corrections for the attempt, in quite some time, and I'm pretty loose with my standards for "manners": Do not move me (i.e. don't walk into me), and do
not attempt to move me (e.g. don't pin your ears at me or block my path).
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post #3 of 20 Old 03-12-2018, 11:00 PM Thread Starter
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No this is my other horse, not the same one I use for barrels. He's very head strong and stubborn. Nothing seems to phase him.
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post #4 of 20 Old 03-12-2018, 11:31 PM
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Seems @mmshiro and I are reading the same posts today!

I do think it would be good to instill some ground manners in this horse. Some liberty work, or ground work on a lead line might help him understand boundaries more. Does he bump into you, get in your space, etc? Even if he doesn't, it might be useful to teach him to stay out of your bubble (biting is a BIG invasion of the bubble). If you are walking him on a lead, he should be at your shoulder, never barge ahead, stop when you stop, back when you back (or tell him to back). Get him to yield to pressure by asking him to move his hindquarters and shoulders, carry a crop if you have to remind him to stay out of your bubble.

If he truly is biting you (I'm not really sure what you mean by your description), even playfully, you might hold a nail between your knuckles and poke him with it next time he comes in for a "love bite". Not hard enough to draw blood of course, just to give him a bit of a surprise. You should be able to see it coming when he's about to bite, so watch for it and give him a little poke on the nose. He'll think you suddenly grew quills and realize it's a bad idea to bite you. Our Arab gelding used to do this when we first got him and because he was my 10 year old's horse, I had to deal with it right away. The nail in the head for a few days was enough.

This is definitely a behavior that I treat very seriously.
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post #5 of 20 Old 03-13-2018, 01:50 AM
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how are you currently reacting to his mouthiness?
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post #6 of 20 Old 03-13-2018, 05:57 PM Thread Starter
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Anytime I am around him I have one hand up holding onto his halter basically keeping his head away if he were to try to bite. When he does get irritated or whatever he gets mad about i hold onto his halter and push away so i don’t get bit. When he starts to nibble or show any little bit of teeth i hit him under the chin or his chest. I don’t like hitting him in the snout even though i feel it’d work better because his previous owner had done that for a punishment for anything he did and he get very head shy and i finally got him out from under that.
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post #7 of 20 Old 03-13-2018, 06:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emick2016 View Post
When he starts to nibble or show any little bit of teeth i hit him under the chin or his chest.
If that's you in the picture, I doubt that the force of the whack is enough to make an impact on the horse's psyche. Here's a suggestion. Next time you whack, add in your best scream. Make it high volume and mean. Save this only for biting and kicking. Oh yeah, start in private.
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post #8 of 20 Old 03-13-2018, 06:48 PM Thread Starter
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Dont under estimate me because of whatever your saying by my picture. I don’t get walked over my a horse, i use a crop to hit him with in th chest and he gives the same reaction as my hand does.
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post #9 of 20 Old 03-13-2018, 08:03 PM
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I would not underestimate you by your picture.

I know what you are saying about a horse becoming head shy if whacked on the muzzle or cheek . some of them do, especially if the first times the punishment is half hearted, and ends up escalating. the truly persistant , mouthy horse will just escalate his tries right along with you.

you can try the holding the nail idea, I think already describeed, to address his all out attempts to bite.


but, . . . about holding his halter. I understand that you are trying to 'keep' him from biting, but I think you may need to allow him to make that 'mistake', and then apply the consequences.

let me back up . . . in general, 'holding' horse so that he does not do what you don't want him to is not a good training approach. the only thing he will learn is to lean or push against your pressure. it's like holding the reins; the horse learns to push and lean on the bit. Holding your leg on him? he tunes it out , or bucks. Holding the lead line taut? hrose just startes to resist the pull on the halter.

the idea is to make things HIS responsibility. so, you address his actions, but you never hold him in anticipation of it. Of course, if you must in order to protect the farrier's back, for instance, then by all means . But if every interraction between you two requires you to "hold" him, then he is not learning what you need him to learn.
do you understand?

I would work on having him ALWAYS hold his head off of you. It means that you will have to stop cuddling his head as you are doin in the photo/avatar.
you stand by him and you do have your hand somewhat ready but you are not 'holding or non-stop pushing on his halter.When he moves his head past the centerline of his body, (to start with),you address that. correct it by putting your hand up and block him. you can tap on his cheek, enough for him to move his own face back into "HIS" space. put your hand down
you keep insisting that he keep his head there, ALL THE TIME.

whether you are grooming, cinching, scratching his wither, whatever . . you insist he keep his head over. And, you move him over long before he has reached around to sniff or bite you.
If he does actually get around fast and bite you, then I suppose a very large reaction of a swift hard smack with a lot of noise and commotion is one approach

this might be a place to start. I venture to guess he is not mean, but curious and playful. Still, it is a bad habit that cannot be tolerated. at some point, he has to grow up and stop with the baby mouthy behavior. you'll have to be excrutiatingly consistent to help with this.
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post #10 of 20 Old 03-13-2018, 08:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emick2016 View Post
Dont under estimate me because of whatever your saying by my picture. I donít get walked over my a horse, i use a crop to hit him with in th chest and he gives the same reaction as my hand does.
Getting bit is worse than getting walked over.
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