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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am hoping to get some helpful advice about being bit by a horse. It was not my horse, it was someone else's. It is a gelding that is right next to my filly. I was feeding her an apple and when she was finished, I stepped to the end of the barn, which is where is stall is and as I reach my arm to throw the apple core outside and bring my arm back, he reach his head completely outside his stall and bit my arm...badly. It hurt so badly, I was in shock and had to sit down. My son was there and saw the whole thing...he couldn't believe it, either. So, I am trying to figure out if it was all my fault for even being near his stall with the apple and he was just being a horse, or if he was being aggressive. The next morning I went out to the barn, thinking it was all me, but when I approached his stall and tell him it was alright, he came over somewhat aggressively and pinned his ears at me. He actually scared me... Needless to say, my arm is horribly swollen and black and blue. Still hurts so bad, I cannot lift my arm much or move to sleep on that side of my body. Can anyone give me some constructive advice? Was it all me or do you think it was a combination of me not thing, as well as he may be aggressive?
 

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He may be food aggressive and you unknowingly got close enough for him bit you, but to bit you so hard and leave that much of mark would be enough to make me steer clear of him.

He may also be an aggressive horse, feels like he has fight for whatever reason. Since he is not your horse, I would stay away from him and keep your son away from him. If you must interact or get near him for some reason be on guard and carry a stick or something to use as a barrier between him and you.
 

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Sounds like pretty normal behaviour from an assertive horse who is frustrated about being trapped in a stall. Can make some of them 'nutty', some depressed, some 'aggressive', many get OCD's... it's just a wonder how many cope well enough with the extreme confinement & solitary life. Yes, approaching a strange horse in a stall, especially with food, is not a good move. If he were yours, or you work there & have to deal with him or such, I'd suggest you could teach him some 'manners', because regardless of management issues, I would not allow this behaviour, but if he's nothing to do with you, just learn from your mistake & stay away. :wink:
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you both for your replies and advice. Actually, none of the horses are kept confined in their stalls. They get plenty of turnout. My filly and this horse are turned out all day -- from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. They are in their stalls and night, only. I also did not enter his stall and in fact, that's just the thing. I was talking to my son about it to see what, exactly, happened. I did not approach him or enter his stall at all. I went to the end of the barn and he literally stretched his neck out to bite. He knew the apple was gone, but I think he was angry I did not give him any. So, I guess I chalk it up to yes, it was a mistake on my part by not being wary of what I was doing near a horse that I did not realize was that aggressive. And yes -- I absolutely will steer clear of him and be on guard, as well. Thank you both : )
 

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Sorry to hear you got hurt.

Some advice for you, going to his stall the next day to tell him "it was all right" and the comment "he knew the apple was gone, I think he was angry"

Horse are not rational thinking humans, they are 1000 pounds plus of reactive animal. They do not get 'angry' over an apple, they may be trying out the human treat dispenser by biting it, but that isn't anger. He may be aggressive about his personal space, again not anger, just reaction.

After a horses action, or reaction you have a few short seconds to make it right. You wouldn't of approached him in the morning and hit him hard, and told him that's for last night, well petting him that long after makes no sense either.

It is a real pain if a horse with or near yours has bad manners, but little you can do about it I'm afraid.
 

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I have only boarded a couple of my twenty years, so my surprise about the acceptance with this issue isn't much of a surprise I guess... In my limited experience with boarding facilities, horses with aggression issues are turned away from barns, the owners are warned to correct the behavior, bars are used on the upper stall opening, or signs marking the horse as aggressive are hung.

You were in a common space. While it would be good to be very aware of space with the horses around you in the future, as a boarder at this barn, I feel that you should have been made aware of this horse's tendencies (if the owners are aware). If they owners aren't aware, they might like to be.

I had a food/territory aggressive horse during the time that I boarded. I was able to keep him at a small barn where everyone was aware of the issue. I worked with him about the behavior, and we placed him in a pen less likely to give him encounters with people who were not prepared to deal with his behavior.
 

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They are in their stalls and night, only. I also did not enter his stall and in fact, that's just the thing. I was talking to my son about it to see what, exactly, happened. I did not approach him
Yeah, they're stabled all night, which is not as bad as 24/7 of course, but is still a common cause of... neuroses! And this is also their 'territory' which they may feel insecure & defensive about. Bit like the difference between approaching a strange dog out in the open, to one who's tied/fenced in or on the back of a ute. Even 'friendly' animals can be 'aggressive' when they're cooped up/feel trapped/feel possessive. You may be familiar with 'fence fighters' - the dogs who are gentle & friendly when you're in their yard, but as soon as you're on the other side of a fence, they act rabid... Worked for a trainer once, who had a horse he warned me to take a wide berth going past. This boy would lunge from his stable & take the biggest piece of anyone/thing in reach! But out in the paddock, on lead, even when you went in to muck out his stall with him there, he was a perfect gentleman!

You must have approached him, at least encroached on his 'space' enough to be close enough for biting, and he would also have 'told' you to get out of his space' before he actually bit, just that you weren't paying attention to him at the time. :wink:
 

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I would tell the barn owner . that kind of biting is NOT normal. it happens, but it shoudl not be just something one accepts.
you learned a harsh lesson that you can never assume anything about horses. Still, if a boarder's horse had reached out and bit me hard, they and the barn owner would hear about it. yes sirree!
 

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I am hoping to get some helpful advice about being bit by a horse. It was not my horse, it was someone else's. It is a gelding that is right next to my filly. I was feeding her an apple and when she was finished, I stepped to the end of the barn, which is where is stall is and as I reach my arm to throw the apple core outside and bring my arm back, he reach his head completely outside his stall and bit my arm...badly. It hurt so badly, I was in shock and had to sit down. My son was there and saw the whole thing...he couldn't believe it, either. So, I am trying to figure out if it was all my fault for even being near his stall with the apple and he was just being a horse, or if he was being aggressive. The next morning I went out to the barn, thinking it was all me, but when I approached his stall and tell him it was alright, he came over somewhat aggressively and pinned his ears at me. He actually scared me... Needless to say, my arm is horribly swollen and black and blue. Still hurts so bad, I cannot lift my arm much or move to sleep on that side of my body. Can anyone give me some constructive advice? Was it all me or do you think it was a combination of me not thing, as well as he may be aggressive?
I think the horse has an aggression issue that is related to food and possibly certain situations that involve people. I think you learned the hard way that approaching horses that you don't know 100%, should be done cautiously for those reasons. The blessing in disguise was that it was your arm that was bitten and not your face or another important body structure. I know of a hunter/jumper coach in our area who was bitten by a stallion she had just started to handle for a client. The injury to her face was so severe, she caries the very ugly scar across her face. If I remember correctly, she had 100+stitches. Really unfortunate story.
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thank you all for your responses and advice. But to clarify -- I did not approach this horse, enter his space, nor enter his stall. He lunged at me from his stall while I was in the barn, which makes it that much more disturbing. I informed the barn owner...no response.
 

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Thank you all for your responses and advice. But to clarify -- I did not approach this horse, enter his space, nor enter his stall. He lunged at me from his stall while I was in the barn, which makes it that much more disturbing. I informed the barn owner...no response.
If you were in the barn & he came in while you were there, then perhaps you didn't approach(but you were still in 'his' space, and he still would have warned you to move before he bit.

But it sounded like you said you were with your horse, walked to 'the end of the barn' so I presume is his end, where you got yourself in firing line, & if so, you did indeed approach/encroach on his space.

All that is largely academic - I'm not trying to blame you or anything, just trying to better explain the way he likely understood the event.
 

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Make sure you show the barn owner your injuries as well, especially if there's swelling and bruising. If I were the BO I'd have a stall guard or something in place to prevent this ASAP.

If it makes you feel better though, this isn't terribly uncommon in my experience. There's a huge, ugly, nasty old pinto at the end of my barn that lunges at passing people and horses. He doesn't care what or who he takes a chunk out of. He's quite head shy from being walloped in the face so many times in self-defense but he obviously does it to himself. The good thing is that each person only has to have one confrontation with him; after that you can yell at him when he starts and he'll back off. His next door neighbor, a Saddlebred mare, has also started lunging at horses. I'm hoping that she doesn't progress to people but if she's learning from his behavior... well.

Oh the joys of boarding. :lol:
 

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Horse may not be aggressive with more experienced people though, and am taking from what OP has written that they are not very experienced with horses.

You may be more timid and telegraph that you can be pushed around. Your voice and mannerisms may be aggravating. Horse may just be a PITA to have in barn period.

Don't know of course.

But. Leave this horse alone, and be leery of where you or kid/s are too, as horse next time may get you in the neck and really cause you some problems.

I would mention it to BO/BM, and show them the marks, as they may not be aware horse will go that far, and might want to do something to fix this issue.

But after you do that, steer clear of horse, and if for any reason you have to go into field with this one, carry a lash whip.
 

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Thank you all for your responses and advice. But to clarify -- I did not approach this horse, enter his space, nor enter his stall. He lunged at me from his stall while I was in the barn, which makes it that much more disturbing. I informed the barn owner...no response.
We have a saying in the mountains. "A bear will not attack unless provoked. But it's the bear who decides what provocation is."

Not your horse. Not your responsibility to retrain it. Your own safety and that of your kids and animals is your responsibility. If possible get your horse moved so it's not adjacent to this one. If you have to be around this horse, be prepared to smack the snot out of it at any time.

You were more aware the second time you approached the horse, and saw the warning signs. Be alert anytime you are around any horse, but especially this one.
 

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When I give my horse an apple I cut it up and put the pieces, skin, core and all except the little stem, in his feed bin. I give him the core.

Did you feed your horse the whole apple, or did you have a core in the hand you raised near the geldings stall? To throw it out.

Just wondering if he might have thought it was coming his way.
 

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The fact that he could reach you meant you were in his territory as far as he was concerned!

Something else I would add, I do not think it right that you give your horse a tidbit in front of another horse. Would you give one child a bag of sweets in front of another?

You sound very green around horses, this horse would have issued warnings which you did not notice, approaching his stall the next day with (rightly) some trepidation would cue him that he could frighten you further.

He sounds like a dominant horse that needs some manners put on him. Tell the barn owner.

Keep some arnica cream handy it is brilliant stuff for bruising. The more you move your arm the sooner the bruising will disipate.

Welcome to the world of horses!
 
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