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post #11 of 23 Old 12-25-2014, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Hondo View Post
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.
Forgot to add.............

After the youngsters back off from my defensive posture and voice, I do then approach them with softened body and voice with some stroking and petting.

That second half seems important to me.

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post #12 of 23 Old 12-25-2014, 03:23 PM
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Think of it this way, if he was to nip a horse that was higher on the pecking order the he is how would the higher horse handle this situation?

Also, I don't see nipping as an isolated issue the problem isn't that he is nipping you or at you. The problem is you are letting him invade your space the end result is he nips you.
If this was my horse he would not be allowed to even look move toward me let alone get so close he is nipping. This is a respect issue he is invading your space long before he nips fix that first and the nipping will stop. Good luck
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post #13 of 23 Old 12-25-2014, 05:42 PM
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The only never would be never to say never. While we'd like to think we have the horse that is the exception rarely is that the case. Usually through our own fault what we think won't or can't happen does.
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post #14 of 23 Old 12-25-2014, 06:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Hondo View Post
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.
If you do it in such a way that they become headshy, of your hand approaching their face, then you're doing it wrong. But IMO I have no problems with them becoming headshy about their head approaching my hand!
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post #15 of 23 Old 12-25-2014, 08:33 PM
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I think this may be another one of those questions/considerations where differing approaches and answers are dependent at least to a degree on whether the horse is viewed as livestock and a work animal or as a companion animal.

To me, both are right and neither is wrong.

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post #16 of 23 Old 12-25-2014, 08:49 PM
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I agree with Cowboy in that this is a respect issue. Hitting them either makes them headshy or makes a game out of it. If a subordinant herd member bites a herd boss, that herd boss isn't going to go after their nose. They're going to chase them off with either a kick or a bite - and that isn't going to be on the nose. ;)

If you're able to, moving him around in a small enclosure (round pen/small lot) - as in moving his feet - will help to earn his respect. Use a lunge whip with a long lash so you don't have to get close enough to get yourself kicked. Insist that this horse moves out of your space when you approach. Chase him off until he stops and turns to face you, then back off the pressure.

Walk circles around the horse, asking him to continue to face you (pivot on the front). Place hay out in several spots on the ground. Go from pile to pile as if you are boss mare, telling the horse to move off - as in, you've decided you want to eat from that pile. (Don't actually eat the hay, but you get the idea, right? ;) )

Horses like to test us to see what they can get away with. He's trying to see if he can dominate you. You have to convince him that that's not going to be in his best interest. Good luck and stay safe.
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post #17 of 23 Old 12-26-2014, 06:45 AM
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My boss mare goes after whatever is closest and usually with her teeth first especially if bitten so if the offender was biting at her close to her face then that face gets it. If they don't move off fast enough then she runs them and/or gives them a sound beating with her back feet. The bite makes for some awful looking marks until they heal but it only takes once.
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post #18 of 23 Old 12-26-2014, 07:22 AM
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According to Mark Rashid none of the horses want to be around or hang with the boss mare. And since reading his account of herd dynamics, I've personally seen this to be true in the herd of 17 that I'm around on a daily basis.

So I don't wanna be boss mare. I want to be one of the horses that the others like to hang with. There's a lot more going on in herd dynamics than just the boss mare/gelding or whoever.

That said, Mark Rashid insists that horses don't think we are horses at all but rather a predator that apparently is not out to eat them.

I know that many trainers with huge international followings stress the principle that the human has to be the alpha in the herd of two. But then there are other trainers with just as large followings that go in a much different direction and are successful as well.

And so the debate goes on.......

And then there is the old way of totally breaking the horse so that he does whatever we want when we want just in order to survive and not die at the hands of the predator that is handling him.

For an altogether different angle in many ways check out:

Tachyhippodamia, The New Secret of TAMING HORSES, by William J. Powell, 1872, who is considered by some to be the very first and original Horse Whisperer although he attributes it to one before him.

The year 1872 is not a typo.
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post #19 of 23 Old 12-26-2014, 11:34 AM
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Don't let a horse put its mouth on you. Stop it ASAP. It is just not appropriate under any circumstances. My young gelding is presently going through yet another stage of mouthiness on humans, although not nipping. Therefore he does not get to come to stand by me EVER unless I go to him. The first mouth on the arm/hand while leading gets a firm NO and backing him up. If he tries again, he gets a smack on the nose with my handy little slapper/bat. I've hurt my hand badly before just socking him in the jaw. Lately this has been about a three-times-a-week incident. With him it is a dominance behavior and is showing up with other brattiness associated with dominance. Also, be sure that other humans who handle the horse do not let it put its mouth on them either.
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post #20 of 23 Old 12-26-2014, 10:38 PM
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My young gelding is presently going through yet another stage of mouthiness on humans, although not nipping. ...Lately this has been about a three-times-a-week incident.
Just have to point this out - it seems that the treatment is ineffective then, if you continue to get the behaviour. If you're going to use punishment, the point is, to be effective enough to make the horse think twice(or more ) about trying it again.

Punishment alone(without teaching 'right' alternate behaviour for eg) is also often not that effective & often comes with 'side effects' even when used well. 'Side effects' with a 'dominant' type horse can include them getting 'bigger' with the 'bad stuff' too. I think it's best therefore, to focus on reinforcing 'good' behaviour, more than 'correcting' 'wrong'.
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