biter is a 4 year old gelding. I am OK with most horses but I do not know what
else to do with this one. There is no professional any where near where I live.
I would love to put my 2 horses together. My mom say the 2 fighting when the biter
was a weanling. She has not allowed them back. I know it would be good for them
both but she won't listen. Also, when the biter was a baby I did not own him,
a neighbor did. I would not allow him to bite me. She thought it was cute and
allowed him to bite her. I have been dealing with this ever since then. Any help
would be appreciated. Thanks. B
bite to play or assert their dominance. When this horse was young and was nipping
the previous owner, she, like many other people, thought it was "cute"
but didn't realize when the horse gets big and the habit turns to biting that
it is dangerous and hard to break.
what I can offer. You can use one of several methods. Because I don't' know the
nature of your horse and I don't know your experience, you are going to have to
make a choice.
If you slap a horse on
the muzzle when he bites, you have to do it hard enough so he knows you are not
playing. If you do it mild to medium, he will
interpret it as in invitation
to play or it could make him head shy. So mild slapping makes things worse. Giving
the horse a knuckle sandwich
isn't usually the best answer either although
with some horses it would end the problem with one application.
you chose to use retaliation as your method of trying to cure this horse from
biting, you need to reprimand him within 1 to 2 seconds of when he bites (or tries
to bite) you so he associates it with the biting. Be careful because you could
hurt your hand on the hard portions of his head or if he is fast, he could learn
to bite your hand when you reprimand him.
don't know your horse. I have pretty good luck figuring out the intensity to respond
with when a horse first nips at me and that "nips it in the bud".
Another method is to use a lead chain with
your lead rope and when the horse reaches for you with his teeth, give him a tug
on the lead. The chain should be set up to run over the bridge of the horse's
nose in conjunction with the noseband of his halter. This is shown with step by
step photos in my book Horse Handling and Grooming.
method is harder to set up, but it makes the horse punish himself rather than
you reaching out to try to slap his muzzle or giving him a tug on the lead rope.
If there is a certain time or place that he tends to nip, be ready with an item,
such as a wire brush taped around your arm or wherever he tries to bite you. I
borrowed a parts brush from my husband's shop, taped the handle to my arm, bristle
side out of course, and when the horse lunged at my arm when leading, his nose
contacted the metal bristles and he reacted with the flehmen response(curling
his lips and lifting his head) and then shook his head. He started thinking about
whether he wanted to do that again or not. That was step one. He tried once more
the next day, half heartedly and I casually moved my arm a little closer just
as he half-lunged at my arm so he again got the bristles and that was the last
time. It seems to make quite a bit of difference if you can handle it without
reaching at their head with your hand...and be casual, as if, gee, did you run
into a bristled brush? It is as if they are correcting themselves.
more thing, the less of an issue you make of it the better. If he does it when
you are leading, just keep heading straight forward as you
make the correction.
If you are grooming, be matter of fact, make the correction and continue, don't
stop what you are doing.
By the way, I
also knew a guy who had a stud who nipped at the back of his hand when leading
and the guy took two pieces of silver duct tape about 8inches long. He put one
across the back of his right glove. He put about 4 thumb tacks in the other piece,
inserting them into the sticky side so the points came out the non-sticky side.
Then he taped the thumb tack tape over the top of the tape on his glove, so now
he had a thumb tack sandwich on the back of his glove. (This way, he could remove
the whole sandwich from the glove and reapply it to the glove or his sleeve until
the stickiness wore out.) When the horse tried to bite his hand, the horse's nose
hit the thumb tacks instead and he soon quit. This was a confirmed biter and you
might not have to do this but it gives you another picture of what I am talking
about - letting the horse punish himself.
bottom line is that biting is so dangerous that I know folks that have had whole
fingers and chunks of their hands, arms, and even their chest muscles removed
by a horse, often just "playing" so be consistent with what you use
and please let me know how you make out.
careful and get help if you can.