Bailey's Boot Camp

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Bailey is definitely picking up on the fact that I'm not taking any nonsense from him...he allowed and enjoyed a groom today. I managed to pick out both front feet, he was less keen on me messing with the back ones. His feet are beautifully trimmed and tidy though so he has clearly allowed this at some point.
We did a little moving over, backing up etc which went pretty well.
BUT HE WONT STOP TRYING TO BITE!!!!
He's a real Jekyll and Hyde. One second he's all cute and having a nice pat, walking nice on the lead rope, enjoying a groom...then the next he's got his ears pinned back and trying to bite. He bit me today and there is no doubt in my mind that he means it. So far I've handled it by saying very firm Ah as he does it....Any other ideas most welcome?? I'm not prepared to smack him, he flinches enough as it is. I'm always a bit mystified as to what is going on in the second he goes from being fine to wanting a chunk out of you .
 

windand rain

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Sounds like the biting is the issue with his head he has offered to nip and got a slap on the head for his troubles now he will bite and jerk away expecting the slap. Get some sensible advise on how to stop him biting without hitting him and hurting you. My input would be try to ignore it but that could result in you getting bitten. you could try standing on his coronet band but not sure that would help if it is ingrained response. I am pleased he is settling with you I know you dont want to hand feed but proper clicker training could help with his biting
 
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Could you cross tie him when grooming so he can't get his head round? I think someone else mentionned a muzzle. That may prevent him getting you in the short term.

Short sessions are best with a positive outcome even if you don't feel like you have achieved anything. Just like catching him, leading out of the field and then turning him straight back out without biting and plenty of praise.
 

JJS

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Could you get a professional to come in and give you their take on the biting issue and how to approach it? I always feel that if you're not 100 percent sure of how best to deal with a problem, your best bet is to get someone in who knows their stuff and have them show you how to handle it.
 
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We had a bit of a break through in the biting behaviour today. I've done hours of research into sorting the problem out, while I'm waiting for the trainer, so I decided that for now I would say a very loud no every time he goes to bite and then back him up out of my space. This has worked really well today and, while he isn't thrilled with someone having the guts to set him straight, he's definitely getting the idea. He's improving no end, though we still have alot to learn. But I'm really pleased with the boy :)
 

blodwyn1

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If he tries to bite when being led holding a metal curry comb in the hand nearest the head collar so when he tries to bite he gets the curry comb teeth and not you!
 

SatansLittleHelper

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Just as a small update; next Friday I have a well recommended horse trainer (dare I say natural horsemanship?) coming out for a 2 hour session to asses Bailey (and me!) so that we can work out out ways of getting his behaviour in check.
I've done a little less physical handling, due to the weather, and worked purely on keeping him from invading my space. So far it's working pretty well and he does seem to be thinking a little more. One of the mares is putting him firmly in his place on a regular basis which is also making him think. :)
 

mule

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Just as a small update; next Friday I have a well recommended horse trainer (dare I say natural horsemanship?) coming out for a 2 hour session to asses Bailey (and me!) so that we can work out out ways of getting his behaviour in check.
I've done a little less physical handling, due to the weather, and worked purely on keeping him from invading my space. So far it's working pretty well and he does seem to be thinking a little more. One of the mares is putting him firmly in his place on a regular basis which is also making him think. :)
Mares are great that way πŸ˜‚
 

windand rain

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Know where you are coming from Kitten (the baby highland) is a smart as paint but she needs a few manners now she is testing the boundaries she is 10 months old soon and is very cute but she has to have manners so they must start now especially around food as we feed in the field so each one has to stand back and wait for it to be put in front of them something she learned today it is not acceptable to push it out of my hand
 

asmp

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This not very PC but about 30 years ago I owned a youngster who bit first the YO's groom and then got me on the back of the thigh as I was bending down to do up his rug. I turned around and bit him back on his muzzle - he never did it again!

At a behavioural session a few years ago we were advised to have a small tin filled with marbles and to rattle it when ever a horse when to bite - no idea if that works though.
 

SatansLittleHelper

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Thanks everyone.
The more I'm learning from him and constant research into the horsey mindset and behaviour, the more determined I am to work through everything. I've had a couple of offers on him but he HAS to be going on to somewhere with the right training facilities and mindset. One person sounded perfect until they mentioned how they dealt with another young horse that was a biter 😱😱😱 Suffice to say that he is staying put for the time being. I may not be the best person for him but I'm the best he has right now and I'm doing my damndest for him.
 

Pinkvboots

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Thanks everyone.
The more I'm learning from him and constant research into the horsey mindset and behaviour, the more determined I am to work through everything. I've had a couple of offers on him but he HAS to be going on to somewhere with the right training facilities and mindset. One person sounded perfect until they mentioned how they dealt with another young horse that was a biter 😱😱😱 Suffice to say that he is staying put for the time being. I may not be the best person for him but I'm the best he has right now and I'm doing my damndest for him.
I think your doing really well just take it one day at a time and just don't expect too much too soon, if it's any consolation if I put my 2 horses in a new field especially near a busy road they would do a lot worse than that, and they are 14 and 15 years old and should know better.
 

SatansLittleHelper

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Sorry, I meant to do the update last night but my poor fibro fatigued body won the fight lol.
So the trainer came over at 3.30 and we spent a lot of time going through Bailey's history and he observed Bailey's behaviour from the other side of the fence. So the lowdown is this (obviously there are a lot of things in here that some have you have mentioned, advised etc also):
Basically we have a horse who is used to everything being his way or the highway. He's confused and, quite frankly quite pissed, that this is no longer happening. However, I'm not being as consistent in my role as decision maker which is exacerbating Bailey's behaviour. Please bear with me as I try to explain all of this as it's tricky to put into words on here.
As an example of this; I am correct to move him out of my space, however, I have been pushing him out but then allowing him back in and that has to stop, he must remain away until I say otherwise. Behind the fence I have also stepped back when he has stuck his head over. I believed this to be a way of ignoring his behaviour but Bailey simply thinks he has gotten me to move.
My instincts on using a long rope and keeping him away from me were correct, Ross (trainer) said that I cannot ask him to be out of my personal space but give him nowhere to go.
I have strict instructions to watch as many of Warwick Schillers videos as possible and Ross will guide me through these. He predominately uses Warwick's methods in his work.
He used a long thick rope from the other side of the fence...also a stick with a small flag on. Waggling the rope or flag to create energy. Working on the principle of putting pressure on Bailey when he did his pissy face, tried to bite, chewed the lead rope etc. And then stopping the waggling the split second Bailey relaxed or stopped biting etc.
Now I have to say that I've been a little sceptical about all of the "tools" etc but it all worked like a charm. Bailey wasn't stressed by any of it and "got it" almost instantly. We have a way to go but I feel so much more relaxed and positive about going forward :)
Most of this is going to be training me to train him.
 

hollyandivy123

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This not very PC but about 30 years ago I owned a youngster who bit first the YO's groom and then got me on the back of the thigh as I was bending down to do up his rug. I turned around and bit him back on his muzzle - he never did it again!
.

Done this and ended up with the beast staring at me with the look in the eyes on par to nope humans don’t do that, that went wrong. Never connected again though
 
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I enjoy reading about Bailey's adventures.

I wonder if your trainer is Australian, by any chance. We had a Ross (didn't post under that name) on an Australian forum for a time. He's gone AWOL though.

Re the biting, I'm a little surprised that so few posters suggest smacking his muzzle immediately afterwards. (Never any other part of the head, of course.)
 

SatansLittleHelper

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With all due respect, I'm trying to undo the damage caused by someone smacking him. Ross has said that while smacking may work, up to a point, it doesn't solve the problem of him wanting to bite in the first place. I'm trying to take a very non combative approach with Bailey as he simply gets more aggressive in return, and I'm not about to do battle with him!!

ETA: Ross is not an Aussie, though he has been over there doing some work with horses at one point.
 

windand rain

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There are some horses that are born fighter not flighters with such if you escalate the aggression by hitting they will attack you and become very dangerous. You have to adapt your way of dealing with them by diversion and mutual respect. Clouting any horse is not acceptable it may work if they are then fearful but who wants a fearful horse
 
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