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My horse was sleeping in the pasture laying down. I went over to him and pet him and turned and bit. I probably scared him so I patted his head to let him know it was okay like nothing to be afraid of. I went to pet him again abd he tries to bite but i dodged it. I put a halter on him and pet him yo make sure he did not do anything. He didn't. I took his halter off and he went over to his feeder. I petted him and all over and he was fine. Why did he bite? Can I get help with this. I had a bad experience with a biting horse before. (Mini horse) I wanna show him I'm not afraid and I wanna over come a fear that horses don't bite all the time. When o was around that mini I flinched all the time. Rusty is a very gentle horse normally. I checked over him to see if he was in any pain and he was not. I wanna know how to not be fearful and for him to know I'm not afraid. Please help. he is 20 years and is a gelding is 16/2 hands and is a good horse. I ride him, just yesterday we rode. Please help!
P.s I'm fine he just left a little bruseing and broken skin (it bled a little but not much). Rusty in the photo.)
 

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You needed to pop him rather than pet him. It doesn't really matter why he bit you. It was wrong. Your reaction should be immediate. He bites, you pop (on the nose). It doesn't have to be hard, just quick and firm...
 

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What did you do when he bit you? Jump back? Scold him? Give him a whack? Or nothing?

Personally, I would have given him a good bop on the nose. Not a light tap or a full out punch but enough to get the point across that biting is not acceptable. I've had horses try and a few have succeeded to bite. If you don't discipline hard or quick enough, it can become a game to them.

If you jump back or do nothing, you are actually encouraging it. Jumping back is telling him that he is in charge or higher than you in the pecking order. Doing nothing does just that. Nothing. Nothing to stop him from doing it again.
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Petting him is encouraging the bad behavior. By showing him reward when he bites he will not connect biting with a negative consequence but rather a reward. Even if he were scared you need to address that biting is not okay by giving him a negative consequence. I'll bet you if you had smacked him he wouldn't have even thought of biting you a second time.
 

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A good smack on the nose!
I know that it can be scary but it must be done.
If you end up really scared, carry a whip with you and if you see him try to bite you, flick it in his direction.
BTW. I would check to see if you need a tetanus shot, especially with the fact that he drew blood!

I felt bad for smacking a foal on the nose but it's better in the long run.
 

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petting is not always seen as a "reward" by horses. leaving them alone is. many horses really don't like being touched, but they must learn to tolerate it. So, you would persist in touching them, AFTER a swift punihsment for biting. then, if he allows you to pet him without being nasty, then , THEN reward him by leaving him alone.
 

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A good smack on the nose!
I know that it can be scary but it must be done.
If you end up really scared, carry a whip with you and if you see him try to bite you, flick it in his direction.
BTW. I would check to see if you need a tetanus shot, especially with the fact that he drew blood!

I felt bad for smacking a foal on the nose but it's better in the long run.
good point! horses can be carriers of tetanus. one who rides or keeps them should keep their vaccinations up to date.
 

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You need to change up your thinking. You are treating him as you would a toddler. Treat him the opposite. Instead of soothing, get after him. Sometimes just the element of surprise works. Since he's nipped you it is best to be mindful and prevent it happening again ie don't let your arm get in the way of his mouth. He may have tho't you had treats and made the mistake of grabbing you. If you do want to offer treats, put them in a pail so he doesn't make contact with your hand.
 

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The last horse that bit me received a connection between my elbow and it's jaw. That horse never bit me again. Every so often you could see that she would think about it and make the beginnings of a motion towards connecting, but then she'd remember what happened last time.
 

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I can't abide with a horse that wants to lip or bite. It just sets up for more bad behavior if not corrected quickly and effectively. A month or so back, my mare tried to bite me while the farrier was trimming. She has "never" tried to bite til then and I have owned her for 15 yrs. Fortunately the farrier had just put her foot down and I told to him move. I popped her hard on the nose and determinedly made her back the length of the barn. She tried it once more and again I smacked her hard on the nose and made her back. She got the point and has not tried to bite since.
 

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While I agree with horses should never bite? I also have to wonder if horse don't get sick and tired of humans that don't have enough sense to leave them alone.

Why did you go out and bother him if he was sleeping? Were you just out there pestering him, or did you have a purpose such as getting him up to ride?

If you were just out there being aggravating? I don't blame him for biting you. The fact that he felt strongly enough about being bothered by you to try it again, tells me quite a bit about your handling skills, or lack of them.

And this is classic example of why I tell people to never try to work with their horses if they don't have a halter and lead on them, as you are letting horse call the shots.

Horse is asleep, you go out and startle him, bother him when I would imagine he was resting well, he is an older horse and maybe is hurting due to weather, and there you are looming over him.

And most horses do not like their heads fooled with. And too many people who have horses go out of their way to do things that are just flat out foolish. Bothering one out in the paddock that is laying down, just to be doing something, is flat out foolish.

If this horse feels comfortable biting at you, you need to assess if you are aggravating horse by your voice pitch, mannerisms, or actions, or your handling of horse. If horse feels like all you do is pester it, I would bet he bit you because he is sick and tired of how you do him.

Riding is not pestering him. Grooming is not pestering. But if your riding consists of kicking him, running him, and doing things that hurt him, then you need to stop and look at how you are doing.

Also, you need to learn to read horses better as anyone with a modicum of sense would have known horse was going to bite the first time, much less gotten themselves close to being bit again.
 

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When he bit you the first time he should of been smacked a good one. The second time i would of made a serious impression on him he would of never forgot.

My horse has only ever bit me once i made he think he was going to die,hes never tryed to bite again.
 

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You petting him on the head to "let him know everything was alright" rewarded him for biting you. Like others have said you should have disciplined him. Chances are he will try this again seeing as you rewarded him for it. So just be on the lookout, and discipline not reward :).
 

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Welcome to the forum! You came to a good place with your question! Here are a few thoughts to add to the excellent advice already given.... Even though you're sure you surprised him while he was resting, he definitely needed a good, hard whomp wherever you could reach. We horse owners have about 3 seconds to correct a problem, and if not, they think they're in charge. Keep this in mind : Horses are huge, powerful animals capable of killing us (through their natural instincts). It may not be 'on purpose', per say, but they have herd/flight instincts that are from the beginning of time. Don't ever think you will 'hurt your horses feelings/break your bond with him', etc. if you pop him hard (anywhere, with anything in your reach) in an such event as this. I am sooo bonded and loving with my horses, and they have it made. But that doesn't mean it's always 'rainbows and butterflies'! I'll tell you something that happened just today - My newest horse, Sugar, is a strong, dominant alpha (leader in the herd) and I've had a few issues with her forgetting that I'm the alpha out there, and she'll turn her butt to me ready to kick! Not on my watch!! Don't ever underestimate the power of a horse's rear, btw. She's done this only a few times, ( but even once is un-acceptable!!) and has been whomped hard. She thought she'd try it today. I grabbed a 5 gal bucket to whomp her in the side with. Then instantly put on a lead rope with my lunge whip, and she gets to do a bunch of groundwork, ending with picking up all 4 feet for me, and anything else I want her to do. Then, I stroke her forehead and say, "good girl!" and walk away. Normally she would get a carrot after groundwork, but never if groundwork occurred due to disrespect. Watch a few videos on youtube showing horses in the wild, and you'll see how aggressive they are to one another in the herd. The only reason for my long post is to make sure you never, ever feel bad if you have to correct your horse. I had to learn with my first horse, and when we have the knowledge that it's a safety issue, possible life or death (being double-barreled could crush our skull!), we have to respond hard and fast. And you know what? My Morgan walks up to me in submission and obeys my every verbal command after I show her who's really in charge. Then we enjoy peaceful moments thereafter. Best of luck! :)
 

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While I agree with horses should never bite? I also have to wonder if horse don't get sick and tired of humans that don't have enough sense to leave them alone.
IMHO...It doesn't matter - biting is not a behaviour that should be allowed just because your horse is having a bad day or doesn't like something.
 

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THere are some behaviors I will not make excuses for. They are typically the ones that can really hurt people. Biting and kicking are among them. Those are deal breakers. No excuses. They know VERY CLEARLY that is is not acceptable. I could care less if little pookie is taking a nap. You can bet your hippy that if the alpha mare woke him up and he bit her he would have a dent in his face.
 

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I agree that you do need to be more careful when approachinhg or doing anything with a hrose when you do not have a lead on him. in theory, he should never bite, kick or threaten you at ANY time. but if you are new to horses and have some fear issues, as you've explained, it would be evident to the horse and if he is sleeping or eating, he will be less willing to surrender to direction or handling from anyone or anything, unless he knows that thing/person is his superior in the pecking order.

I can go out in the pasture and handle and move Z where I want, but I am aware that this is much more aggravating and takes a bit more of a risk because he is not quite as "with " me as he is with a rope on. once, when I was checking his feet out in the pasture, he kicked out in frustration at being made to stand when the herd was moving off. he clipped my shin. I used both hands to pummel his side, quick and loud , and he jumped back and came around to face me. I then went back to lifting up his hind feet.

would I do this with just any horse? not likely. I do not have established a relationship of leadership, so it's risky. would someone else? maybe. some people are just better at making the horse believe they are dominant.

any one of us can improve on that skill, and you will in time.
But for the time being, do not try to do things with him offline until you can do all those things when he is on a line, and him doing it without any backsass attitude.
 

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I agree that you do need to be more careful when approachinhg or doing anything with a hrose when you do not have a lead on him. in theory, he should never bite, kick or threaten you at ANY time. but if you are new to horses and have some fear issues, as you've explained, it would be evident to the horse and if he is sleeping or eating, he will be less willing to surrender to direction or handling from anyone or anything, unless he knows that thing/person is his superior in the pecking order.

I can go out in the pasture and handle and move Z where I want, but I am aware that this is much more aggravating and takes a bit more of a risk because he is not quite as "with " me as he is with a rope on. once, when I was checking his feet out in the pasture, he kicked out in frustration at being made to stand when the herd was moving off. he clipped my shin. I used both hands to pummel his side, quick and loud , and he jumped back and came around to face me. I then went back to lifting up his hind feet.

would I do this with just any horse? not likely. I do not have established a relationship of leadership, so it's risky. would someone else? maybe. some people are just better at making the horse believe they are dominant.

any one of us can improve on that skill, and you will in time.
But for the time being, do not try to do things with him offline until you can do all those things when he is on a line, and him doing it without any backsass attitude.
^^Exactly!!^^
 
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