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More experienced people will come along shortly, but here is my opinion anyway. That mare sounds like a tester. I have one of those. I will fix one thing, she comes up with something else. She cycles through her tests all the time. The fact that I fixed something four years ago, two years ago and a month ago doesn't mean she won't try it again.

Anyhow, she is clearly unhappy about something. It is very difficult to determine exactly what it is online - but I get a strong feeling that she is just unhappy about having to work. I am not sure how that gets fixed. I have tried hundreds of exercises, various disciplines - my mare's firmly interested in food and her friends, everything else is a nuisance.

The way I deal with her is to very strongly correct dangerous behavior but work gently and slowly on everything else. She only tried biting once. I made her think she is about to die. I didn't actually hit her, but I lost it on her. And at the time I really meant it. It was an instinctual reaction on my part and I was prepared to go all the way, even if it meant she splattered me on the wall. She felt my resolve and never offered to bite again. You need to be aware that this type of confrontation can end badly for the human.

If I were you, I would ask the instructor for a sit down meeting. I would frame the issue as you wanting to learn how horse behavior issues are solved, biting being one of them. Ask her to dedicate a few lessons to this, rather than riding. If she isn't open to these types of lessons, ask her to recommend a different instructor for this. You seem to be stuck and online help can only get you that far.

One little piece of constructive criticism - you felt her not being down with hoof cleaning. Listen to your instincts always. If you feel that the horse is going to give you trouble - come up with a plan. In this case there are a few things you could have done:

- Tie her up very short.
- Go do something else until she is happier.
- Prepare yourself for a fight by taking a crop in with you. A crop works wanders, just show it to her. I always take a crop in when riding school kids are having issues and there is no one else to help them but me and those horses start behaving immediately. But I am determined that they will mind me and they know it.
- Take her out of the stall, do a smidgen of ground work, put her back and proceed.

Good luck
 

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Well the inevitable happened. I got bit. It was when I was picking her hoof, I’m not sure why, ... wasn’t hard more of a nip, it hurt of course but didn’t break the skin and just left a small mark
Think of it from her point of view... You were doing something to her she didn't want you to & she knows she can 'call the shots' with you. She was 'asking' you with her bodylanguage, and when you ignored that and then 'butted' her, she had to really 'tell' you more 'loudly' to quit harassing her. Lucky she thought that a light 'warning bite' was all you need. Good that you didn't punish her too late, but do be prepared, she will do it again, probably harder.

after I untacked her, she blew air in my nose a few times and had her ears pricked so that made my day.
Please don't encourage/allow this horse to get close to your face!!

Respectfully, I really feel you are in a dangerous situation & don't feel it's reasonable or responsible to keep just offering you 'remote' advice, when I can't even see what exactly is happening, and you are an inexperienced person. So back to suggesting you quit while you're ahead & continue your learning at a good place that's going to take responsibility for your safety. If you insist on continuing to deal with this horse, if you want to remain relatively safe, you at least need HANDS ON help, NOT internet forum advice.
 

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Discussion Starter #103
@loosie ok but she’s not a biter besides before I ride her. As @Horsef said maybe she just doesn’t want to work. After, when I untack her and pick her hooves she is absolutely fine. I mean she loves jumping but doesn’t really like just hacking. When I’m just standing and petting her or grooming her or leading her, etc. she doesn’t try to bite. I know this pony well, I’ve been riding her for 2-3 years and as you said, you can’t really know just from online. I’m not sure like what to say to the instructor because if she sees me pick hooves then she’s going to watch me tack up. Then she’ll tell me to slap Betty when doing the girth (if she acts up which she might or might not) which isn’t going to work as I already know. What exactly is the punishment for biting? Like do I slap her, yell at her or hit her with a crop? Or all 3 at once? I do know holding a crop helps with her for not trying to bite. But if she actually does bite and I do happen to have a crop, do I hit her with it? I will talk to the instructor if it happens again and I’ll try to punish her. Correct me if I’m wrong but I feel like she won’t be as mad for when I punish her if it’s with hooves rather than the girth which she hates more.
 

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What is an effective punishment? Whatever is effective enough that you don't have to do it more than twice. As said, as she's only further irritated by being slapped, that is FAR too weak. As said, if you're going to punish the horse, you need to be prepared to punish her hard enough that she is highly unlikely(afraid) to try it again, regardless of her motivation - that means HARD! A *serious* crack across the muzzle with a stiff crop or such might be enough. But if it isn't, it will only make matters worse, make her more 'dirty' on you. And even if it is 'strong' enough, then you also need to be prepared that, depending on her personality, her previous experiences, her view of you, she may well just 'up the ante' & get even more aggressive & dangerous anyway. Punishment is a 'slippery slope' to be used carefully & with good understanding. I would not personally advise you to do this. Also as said, you need to do it *AT THE TIME* of her biting - as she goes to bite, NOT after she has done so, even if by a second.

Of course she doesn't want to work - who wants to Work?? That's why I personally teach my horses in a manner that they think of it as 'play'. I appreciate she's not yours, you're not the sole rider, so that's probably beside the point of being able to change her attitude. That's where we were heading with the desensitisation info, but you aren't prepared to put in all that time & effort(fair enough, given the situation) to teach her that you are respectful of her.

When you're untacking or doing other stuff that's not irritating, she has no need to 'tell you off'. You're not being rude or 'taking liberties' she doesn't believe you have a right to. Be prepared though that if there's anything she's irritated about - such as the way you groom her, or that she is just in a mood that day, doesn't want to be touched, whatever, she may well tell you off for that at any point too.

And yes, I do believe you are incorrect to assume she will be OK when you punish her for being 'antsy' about her hooves(which doesn't sound like she was really, when you decided to 'butt' her anyway). I thought she'd just demonstrated that by biting you while you were messing with feet.
 

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Discussion Starter #105
@loosie thanks, I normally use a dressage whip for riding as my instructor suggested which isn’t stiff so I’ll have to use a shorter one if needed. I will either do it the second of it happening or not do it at all (only if I can’t do it the second it happens). Should I just always hold a crop in case I do need to punish her? In the experiences you have had, (I know you can’t say for me since you don’t actually know me or Betty) does the horse strike back after you punish them or no? Should I just expect her to strike back and what do I do if she does (I’m guessing punish her again) And next time, I’ll trust my instincts and not pick her hoof right then if I feel like she isn’t having it.

What I meant by “butting” her was I did the same thing I would’ve standing up and doing the girth. For the girth, I would’ve met her in the middle with my elbow, somewhat hard. And I did the same thing just how I could seeing how I was picking her hooves. She didn’t strike again after I butted her just when I met her in the middle, she actually bit me which also could happen in the elbow situation so I don’t see how it’s different. I guess maybe not necessarily a good idea because I can’t see her.
 

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Should I just always hold a crop in case I do need to punish her? In the experiences you have had, (I know you can’t say for me since you don’t actually know me or Betty) does the horse strike back after you punish them or no? Should I just expect her to strike back and what do I do if she does
Love, I'm sorry my words gave the idea you should do that - I was trying to give you reason to NOT do anything of the sort. For your own safety. Your questions above to me are an eg of why I said in the last response I DO NOT ADVISE YOU DO THAT. Why I said earlier the best advice I could offer was to QUIT DEALING WITH HER. Respectfully, you simply do not have the experience, skill & understanding in training to deal safely with an aggressive horse - that takes a lot of nouse.

On this 'path' you are on, you ARE going to get hurt again, hopefully not too seriously. It is also likely you will make the horse more dangerous for ANYONE to deal with. Therefore you are putting others, including her at serious risk too - of being put down for being too dangerous. Therefore I cannot, in all conscience, continue this conversation.
 

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Discussion Starter #107
@loosie Ok ok I understand where you’re coming from. I respectfully somewhat disagree with you. Hear me out (if you see this). I’m not saying I’m experienced or nothing like that. What I’m saying is that in just the month I’ve been using this, I’ve solved many issues, more than I’ve posted about. I know that everyone that’s read this forum pays more attention to the problems I’ve had, the times I’ve misspoke, the times I made a mistake, etc. which makes sense. But I want everyone to see this. She’s COMPLETELY stopped biting with the saddle. Think just a month or so ago she was doing that. In my opinion for someone who hasn’t had any experience with training and only sees the horse three days a week, that’s pretty good. Then came the girth. She wasn’t having that. But now she puts up with it way better than she used to (ear pinning and once in a while, air biting). She’s started stopping when I stop while leading her, I know this isn’t directly related to this but you guys have helped me understand the concepts. I’ve gotten her to be less lazy with a video channel someone suggested on this thread. And overall just helped me learn basic concepts of how horses work and think. Now most of the time it’s my error that’s making her be irritated. For the saddle, I was putting it too far forward and too quickly onto her back. For the girth, I was taking the wrong approach in punishing her and tightening it a bit too fast. For the hoof, I didn’t trust my instincts. Honestly in my own opinion, she wasn’t expecting me to “butt” (again the same thing as sticking my elbow out just how I could given the circumstances) her because it didn’t even break the skin and left the tiniest mark. I think she was just trying to bite the air. Not saying that she won’t do it again but that’s just my take on what happened seeing how I was there.

Most of the time, all I have to do is figure out my error. Now if this gets out of my control obviously I’m going to get help. Like if she does it even just one more time. But one nip isn’t going to kill me or Betty. Also for the future, please don’t call me “love”. And I’m not going to just stop because she’s my best friend (I know you guys know what it’s like). Of course I’ll ask for help but that doesn’t mean I give up and stop riding her. It means they’ll help me tack up.

I don’t want anybody to stop using this thread but of course I can’t make anybody use it. You guys have helped me so much and I thank you. Sorry if I’ve seemed defensive at times, it’s just who I am. Thanks to anyone who’s given me a suggestion, I really, really appreciate it. I’ll keep this thread updated unless nobody’s responding.
 

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On this 'path' you are on, you ARE going to get hurt again, hopefully not too seriously. It is also likely you will make the horse more dangerous for ANYONE to deal with. Therefore you are putting others, including her at serious risk too - of being put down for being too dangerous. Therefore I cannot, in all conscience, continue this conversation.
This is why I quit giving advice on this thread. The thinking just one nip isn't a big deal is a problem, it will escalate into more then just a nip.. So I'll respectfully leave this thread now.
 

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Discussion Starter #109
Guys, what I’m saying is that I AM going to ask for help, I am NOT going to stop riding her. They will help me tack up but that doesn’t mean I have to stop riding her. I gave her one strike (which she used two days ago) that is it. If she even tries one more time I’m asking for help. Even if she doesn’t try I’m going to tell them what happened. What else can I do? I really don’t want anybody to be mad at me or leave this thread. I’m really trying I’m just so shy sometimes it’s hard but again I will ask for help. If anybody will respond anymore, I’ll keep this posted because I’m riding today. If not then I guess there’s no point.
 

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Ok everyone, this is probably going to be my last post on here unless someone has a suggestion (which as of now I don’t really need but I’m always open to suggestions) or something big happens. So I rode today and guess who was perfect tacking up and getting her hooves picked (no hay in her stall either!). No air biting just ear pinning which is fine. I did talk to the instructor. She asked how she was today and all the other days and I said lately she’s been good and today she was perfect. She said if anything like that ever happens again I need to tell her right away and she’ll deal with her. She said that if that doesn’t normally happen (which it doesn’t) then she doesn’t need to help me especially since she was fine today. However I need to tell her immediately if it ever happens again, which I will. But thank you guys so much, you’ve helped me more than you even know.
 

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I haven't read all the replies but my advice would be to put the bridle on first (which you should do anyway) put the halter on and tie her up. When you go to saddle take the right rein and keep a hold of it so she cannot turn her head to bite you.
 

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hmm...if a good whack or redirecting attention doesn't work I'd guess that she has ulcers or maybe some back pain. Maybe have a chiropractic vet or a masseuse come out to take a look at her if an ulcer treatment (there are cheap options, talk to your vet) doesn't work and if you can. I have a mare that had chronic back pain (she was sometimes "girthy" and usually had her ears back and was in a bad mood). Had a masseuse come out to take a look at her and she found a knot in her back near her spine; worked it out and she's been a-ok ever since then.
 

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Discussion Starter #113
I haven’t updated in a while so I figured I’d give a little update. So she hasn’t gotten worse although I can’t say she’s gotten better. A few people have expressed their concerns about how she might get too aggressive and have to be put down... But I’m happy to say that it’s definitely a me problem. So basically I’ve asked for help and the instructor or her sister will come in and hold her. Of course, Betty knows they won’t put up with it and she acts like a perfect pony. However, she knows I’ll let her get away with it so whenever I tack her up alone she’s back to how she was. All they say since they can’t actually see what’s happening is to not let her treat me like that. But how I don’t know (but I kind of do because of something else that happened...)

I actually saw how I can make her respect me. So I was at a show and all ready and my one friend (who never had tacked up Betty) tacked her up for me because she didn’t want my clothes to get grey hairs all over them. So she goes in and Betty acts like she does with me. She gives her a snack and says “Betty knock it off” Betty continues and my friend does the same thing maybe 2 more times. Then I saw Betty change. Instead of biting at her, she air bites in the opposite direction. So I think that’s all I need to do. So I guess knowing what to do isn’t the problem, it’s getting the guts to actually do it and not giving in. That’s how it worked with everyone else so I’m going to do that next time (unless someone thinks it’s a bad idea).

Also thought I’d say that I’ve been getting there 10ish minutes before feeding time and they don’t feed her until after I ride but they feed everyone else. One of the days I got the instructor (I think it was her sister that time) to help me, the instructor said that she was probably really annoyed and that could’ve been why she was being worse that day. So I won’t be riding during feeding time anymore.

Also I remember a while back someone asking if she was like this with other horses. So I’ve been watching her and it depends. With the one horse (Cinnamon), they are stall neighbors and there’s a hole in the bottom of the wall that separates them. So Betty sticks her head and tries to steal the other horse’s hay (when there is hay). When Cinnamon comes over, Betty bites her and pulls her head back with pinned ears. When there isn’t hay, she normally doesn’t do that except for around feeding time and she does the same thing just minus the stealing hay.

Anyways thought I’d give an update and see if anyone had any new advice. Thanks!
 

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I have not read this whole thing... just your first and last post. I'm curious, does this pony test you while leading or while riding? She sounds like she could be one of two things: a nervous mare full of angst and aggression (which could be due to pain, a handling/training issue, or something else), or just a dominant personality mare. My own mare is a dominant type, and she absolutely tests her handler/rider in everything until they have earned her respect. Not necessarily aggressive, just tries to get away with stuff and generally be uncooperative to see if you can make her do it. Once that happens though, she's very easy to work with.
Your pony sounds like she could be dominant, BUT, the fact that after being told off by your friend she was biting the air to the other side makes me think that perhaps there is something going on there physically/pain wise.
 
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Discussion Starter #115
@horseluvr2524 , she does test me a lot,I think she is one of those dominant type horses. I really am hoping they’re getting a new saddle in case that is the reason especially because she could use a new one anyways. They said they ordered one only to then tell me the saddle guy didn’t get back to them. I think why she air bit was because my friend was tightening the girth 3 holes at a time and I do it very slowly. Normally, she only “bites” when I put her saddle on and then she might throw her head up when I put on her girth, but not usually air bites anymore. So I really think it’s her saddle or just me letting her get away with it. Thanks!
 

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Yes, quick girth tightening is the #1 cause of a horse being "girthy", or trying to bite and generally acting upset during that process. The fact that the pony has made progress with you on this is a good sign.
 

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Discussion Starter #117
@horseluvr2524 yep I figured out she needs her girth tightened slow or she’ll be awful. Now I forgot to mention we kind of went backwards in a sense. I know you guys are going to go off on me but whatever I need help. So basically she won’t let me pick her front hooves before I ride. I’ve tried having people hold her and she’s fine (if it’s someone she knows is in charge which are basically the only people I ask). But as soon as they leave, she’s back to her old self. The hoof being in pain isn’t the problem, this is the whole story.

So basically once she bit me as we all know when I picked her one hoof. That made me drop it and then ever sense she was fussy about her 1 hoof. Then one day she gets super fussy about it so I don’t pick that hoof. Then it was the same thing with the other one that wasn’t a problem before. And before I knew it, whenever I touch lightly the top of her leg (to bring down my hand and ask her to lift) she tries to bite. I think a habit now for Betty. So I see what @loosie was saying before and I’m sorry for not listening. But the problem is is that whenever someone holds her she’s fine which is great but some times they can’t hold her for me. And they get pretty annoyed by it so I hate asking. So I’ve just stopped picking her front hooves before I get bit again but I do her back hooves before and after I ride and her front hooves after I ride. My friend wouldn’t dare do her hooves without me holding her so I didn’t see how it played out.

So I read on a different forum (not this one I don’t know what it was) but someone said that if she throws her head back then to slap the ground with a lunge whip(I’ll probably just use my dressage whip) as a warning (like horses do with each other I guess). And if they do anything again then you slap them since you already gave them a warning. I might try that but does anybody know what to do when a horse does this? The only reason I let her get away with it is because I’m not facing her so I don’t know if she’s coming at me to bite me. I don’t want people to get mad at me and tell me I should’ve listened, the past is in the past, but I do want advice. Also I’m not giving up because I love Betty too much to do that. But I will take any advice that I can. So any advice? Thanks!
 

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Why don't you just tie her before picking out her hooves so she can't bite you? If you're still too close, turn to face her and if you see her start to make a face, give her a good smack with the flat of your hand somewhere on her body. But stay beyond where she can reach you since she's tied.

(Edited to say I just read through and see others have already given you this advice.)
 

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Discussion Starter #119
@gottatrot thanks, how do I tie her though (I know that’s a stupid question but I actually don’t know how). And also what do I tie her to if she’s in her stall?
 

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So since I didn’t figure out how to tie her, I just tried that without tying her. And it took some persistence but it kind of worked! So I go with the mindset that no I’m not going to give in. Then she tried to bite me while touching her leg to ask to pick her hoof, I slap her. She does it again. I say knock it off and slap her. This happened for maybe 5 min and right before she gave in, if I even touched her she’d try to bite. Then she gave in. Same thing on the other side just took a little bit longer (this was the leg that originally gave me trouble). So I’m hoping that she’ll realize it’s not work the effort and just not try to bite.

The only time I backed away was that she was giving me trouble with the girth. She was testing me (probably because of the hoof thing) and she backed up and I could tell she was going to bite and if I waited then I would’ve been trapped between her and the water bucket so I backed away. She through her head back and I slapped her and after that she was fine for the saddle.

Finally was the bridle. Now normally she’s perfect about it but last time I rode, I had to change the bit on my own (I asked for help but they said they were busy and I could figure it out) since J had just been at a show where she uses a different bit. So I put it on backwards (without knowing) and put it on but it seems wrong. So I try to fix it and I tried again. It still didn’t look right so I got someone to fix it. So obviously that was uncomfortable for her mouth and after that she wouldn’t take the bit like normal. So I can see why she was fussy about it. But anyways, I wish I would’ve listened to this sooner, again sorry I didn’t really listen. Thanks!
 
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