Nippy New Horse - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 23 Old 12-24-2014, 01:53 PM Thread Starter
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Nippy New Horse

I just got a new horse he is an 11 year old TB/QH Cross. His demeanor seemed sweet and when I test rode him he was spectacular. However, now that he is at my barn (since 12.21) i have noticed he is VERY nippy in the Stall. Is this something I should be concerned about at this moment, or do i give it time? If so, realistically how much time. I am hoping someone has advice for me or a success story regarding nippiness and biting.
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post #2 of 23 Old 12-24-2014, 02:10 PM
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Put an end to the problem ASAP! Don't wait. You want to lay the law down NOW.

Usually a firm knock in the nose solves the problem. Do not hand feed him, put all treats in a bucket. I'd even go as far as no treat for several months.
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post #3 of 23 Old 12-24-2014, 02:22 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you! Kind of what I was thinking. He is a big boy, and I know i cannot let him try to intimidate me.
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post #4 of 23 Old 12-24-2014, 02:23 PM
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If he gets nippy, do as slidestop said and give him a whack on the nose. And for a horse that is very nippy I also agree with slidestop - no treats until he learns some ground manners. If my horses get in my business or put their noses where I don't want it, they better be paying attention because they are going to get wapped on the nose.
You should do groundwork with him often too to help teach him all around good ground manners.

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post #5 of 23 Old 12-24-2014, 02:51 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you so much for the input. You are both correct, and there will be no treats for a few months. I will also do the knock on nose if needed. Unfortunately, I am pretty sure it will be!
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post #6 of 23 Old 12-24-2014, 04:46 PM
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Perhaps he needs more turnout to alleviate excess energy. Stalled horses often develop undesirable traits. Instead of hitting his nose if he nips at you, try to be more observant and block it before it happens to avoid turning it into a game for him.

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post #7 of 23 Old 12-24-2014, 04:52 PM
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Just one point to consider, if he ONLY does this in his stall, and especially as he's in a new(so extra stressful) place, it may be a lot to do with anxiety, so just bear that in mind. No excuse to allow it though.

I personally find treat training great for instilling/improving manners of 'rude' horses. It's generally something they are really motivated for, so makes lessons quick & powerful. Of course, regardless whether you use treats or not, you need to ensure you reinforce the behaviour you want & don't inadvertently reinforce or allow behaviour you don't want.

As for punishing the nipping, yes I definitely would too, but that I find grabbing/pinching their lip to be more effective than hitting them... and hitting a bony jaw hard enough not to be seen as a game by some horses... hurts your hand!
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post #8 of 23 Old 12-24-2014, 07:45 PM
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Hi All!
Rather than using your hand to cuff away a nippy nose, try to position yourself such that your elbow gets in the way. A good elbow to the schnozz has a large "Wow!!!" factor, and is less likely to aggrivate head-shy issues.
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post #9 of 23 Old 12-25-2014, 08:29 AM
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Curious, is he nippy with his teeth or lips? Hondo is all about looking for treats with his lips (my fault) but he would never ever try to bite me.

On the other hand, there are three around a year old that ya gotta watch. One in particular. I just throw my arm up with a defensive stance and say, HEY!, with a defensive tone. They immediately back off.

Being new and inexperienced, I have no idea if this is correct but it's been working for me. I just don't want them to become fearful of my hand being around their face. But I don't want them biting me either.
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post #10 of 23 Old 12-25-2014, 10:26 AM Thread Starter
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He is nippy with lip, and showing the teeth. I have only had him for a few days. When he is in the field with the other geldings there is no nipping or attempts at biting. In fact he is mellow and sweet. So far it seems to be only in his stall. Unfortunately, due to the weather where I am he has been in his stall going on 3 days. I would be irritated too! However, it is unacceptable behavior. I will not be tgiving him treats for awhile, and I like the idea of blocking with my elbow. I just want to end this behavior before it becomes a huge issue.
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