How to stop biting

Leandy

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4 October 2018
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I'd need an alternative arrangement for his water to eliminate the need for hard labour on my part.
This. We have all been addressing the biting issue so far. The other annoying mouthiness I think you will have to work around. Get him a water container too big for him to move etc. Don't put other stuff in reach of him. Tie him up short when necessary. etc. Just don't give him the opportunity.
 

scats

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Haven’t read the other replies but if one of mine ever nipped or bit me, say on the arm, then I quickly jerk that arm up at them (and yes, it will collide with their muzzle!) and say a loud and quite scary ‘no’. I have a teachers shout so I think this on its own is enough sometimes!
 

Mule

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Haven’t read the other replies but if one of mine ever nipped or bit me, say on the arm, then I quickly jerk that arm up at them (and yes, it will collide with their muzzle!) and say a loud and quite scary ‘no’. I have a teachers shout so I think this on its own is enough sometimes!
😂
 

Lucky788

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28 September 2014
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Has he had his teeth checked? Being mouthy might indicate his teeth need doing.

I recommend Kelly Marks perfect manners book as that has some useful exercises which might be useful.:)

Sounds like he thinks he playing a game. I think you’ll be able to easily resolve it
 

eggs

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It is really good that you are listening to the advice that is being given.

You haven't answered if he has equine company in his field but from what you have said it does sound as though he probably doesn't. If this is the case then it does sound as though he is crying out for more stimulation and an equine companion could provide this. You being with him as much as your post suggests could well have blurred the lines as to your role in the relationship.

Nipping / mouthing / biting are undesirable behaviours and in a herd of horses the nippy one would get a serious reprimand. For what it is worth all of mine have been here since foals (either home bred or bought) and have all regularly been given treats and none are nippy. When they were youngsters they were not allowed to nip me / nibble my clothes etc - it is a question of being able to read their body language and stop the behaviour before it starts and if they do make contact with their mouth then an immediate reprimand - I tend to do a quick jab with a finger into the side of their muzzle, they learn very quickly.

A very well known natural horsemanship practitioner once said something along the lines of 'if you love your horse he will love you right back into hospital' meaning they should be treated as horses and undesirable behaviour sorted out before it escalates.

Good luck with sorting your boy out - you certainly have been given plenty of suggestions.
 

[139672]

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10 June 2019
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I watched a horse behaviourist demo handling a young horse that kept biting, years ago now. When the horse tried to nip him he jabbed it in the bottom lip with his finger tip, underneath so the horse couldn’t see his hand. It worked very quickly and I used it myself successfully on a few horses over many years. I think my longer nails helped!
 

ihatework

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I watched a horse behaviourist demo handling a young horse that kept biting, years ago now. When the horse tried to nip him he jabbed it in the bottom lip with his finger tip, underneath so the horse couldn’t see his hand. It worked very quickly and I used it myself successfully on a few horses over many years. I think my longer nails helped!
As very useful technique. I do not dissimilar with foals, more of a flick that a poke but the principal is the same. Works well, stops mouthing early.
 

freckles22uk

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25 January 2002
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When ours as colts went through the biting/nibbling stage, we have them a swift kick on the coronet band. They then associated biting with a pain on the hoof, very quickly stopped them. And 14 years old they still don’t nibble. One was gelded at 2 and the other at 10 years old.
 

Winters100

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He only ever grabs hold of clothing now and hasn't made skin contact in at least a year and has no contact with other people outside the family and he wont ever be sold. When i said 'sometimes serious' I mean he has only ever got my skin bruised twice and he got my thumb that first time while tacking up which is why it bled. I should have definitely been clear that he has never bitten other people while I have had him, only chewed their clothes.

Thank you!
I think you realise from the other answers that you need to be strong in your messages to him that this is unacceptable. Regarding the issue of him not having contact outside the family and never being sold please do not rely on this - we never know what the future brings - and it is certainly not impossible that you could need help caring for him at some point. Good luck with correcting this, and do not worry that you are harming him in giving him a physical message that it is not OK, he will be a perfectly happy horse without being allowed to do this and will soon learn to know and respect the boundaries.
 

SEH

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15 April 2017
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I think you realise from the other answers that you need to be strong in your messages to him that this is unacceptable. Regarding the issue of him not having contact outside the family and never being sold please do not rely on this - we never know what the future brings - and it is certainly not impossible that you could need help caring for him at some point. Good luck with correcting this, and do not worry that you are harming him in giving him a physical message that it is not OK, he will be a perfectly happy horse without being allowed to do this and will soon learn to know and respect the boundaries.
Yes, I do realise that. Plenty of people have corrected me at this point, I do get it completely. As I said before, I only objected to it because I honestly believed it was a terrible thing to do due to how I had been taught and what I had seen. I now know that is absolutely not the case. I want to stress again he is not dangerous, I wouldn't put up with a dangerous horse or buy one for that matter. I had him on loan for a year before I bought him. He is simply annoying with it. But I know his attitude needs to change in general, as does mine to facilitate that change. I think everyone has to learn these lessons at some point and unfortunately I hadn't learnt this lesson in my many years with horses, I have never had an issue with a pushy horse so it just never came up as a gap in my knowledge, but I have learnt a lot from people correcting my approach in this post. I am in no way a die hard liberal who thinks my horse can do know wrong and that he needs to be wrapped in bubble wrap. He gets a quick smack with a whip if he acts out while riding and he immediately stops because I know he needs it. Of course if I thought smacking him was a quick way to sort him being pushy out, I would have done it. It was simply a case of me being conditioned into thinking it was bordering on abuse when not used as an immediate reaction to an actual bite. Now I know he needs those warning signs correcting equally to prevent it escalating and I thank everyone for that!

I wont be reading anymore replies as at this point I think the point has been well and truly made. 100% I have listened to what you all have said and thank you for your input.
 

Ceifer

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11 May 2014
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I can’t provide an answer to this problem.
I can say though that I had to deal with a horses that was a prolific biter when I was a groom.
He was big Horse and had been cut late. To make matters worse He’d also been dealt with very severely at a previous yard. Hit with brooms and muck skips. Consequently mucking him out was a nightmare as he always thought you were going to beat him up.
We tried reprimanding him vocally or having a sharp smack. It made him worse.

I witnessed the yard manager at the time go to put a head collar on him to tie him up. He bit her, she whacked him on the shoulder. He went for her again, she hit him hard across the nose. At that point he got her by the shoulder and then she went to hospital.
The horse then got carted off to a ‘trainer’ who said he’d ‘sort him Out’ He also ended up in A&E as by that point the horse had added double barrelling and striking out to its arsenal.

The horse belonged to the yard owner. He was very well bred and she picked him up very cheaply (no surprise there)
The irony was, it was an absolute saint to ride - if you could tack him up! She kept him as he competed to a fairly high level.
To her credit she had him scoped and sought advice from her vet (a very highly respected vet). No problems to be found.

So what did we do?
He was always kept in a strict routine. Daily turnout and fed when he came in. This generally meant he would come to the gate to be fetched in. I taught him that every time he had his head collar on or off he had a treat after a verbal command. This stopped him from biting whilst putting the head collar on or peeing off after taking it off.
We always lead him in wearing hat, gloves and Wearing long sleeves. Yes we looked stupid wearing a coat in summer. He was only handled by senior staff. Nobody else was allowed near him.
All handling of him was consistent- sorry I can’t put this into words but he wasn’t fussed and cuddled. He received verbal praise and a stroke on the neck if he was good. Treats were used as above.
He was always tied up to be tacked up or groomed.
If possible he was moved to another stable to be mucked out or tied up outside.
If there was any hint of him being in a ‘worse mood’ I.e not allowing his head collar on we would leave him. It was an argument not worth having. He would win.
It certainly didn’t stop his behaviour but we managed.
Would I have kept this horse if it was mine? Absolutely not! He either had some pain issue somewhere that vets could not find or the learned behaviour from a youngster was so ingrained it could not be cured. I would have put him to sleep. It was Deeply unpleasant dealing with him on the ground and I couldn’t offset that against the fact he was nice to ride.
This probably isn’t of much use as it doesn’t provide a solution.
 

SEH

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15 April 2017
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119
SEH, we all ask for advice on this forum - no one knows everything.

And in reality, it's the advice which comes from a viewpoint different from our own that is most valuable.

Wishing you every success with him.
I really value the advice I get here as I do think I have quite a 'sheltered' knowledge of horses, with some definite gaps! I felt very embarrassed and sad that I had, although unknowingly, been harming my horses development while trying to do absolutely everything I could for him. Thank you!
 

Lois Lame

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11 May 2018
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With all this talk of hitting a horse for biting, I'd like to make it clear that this is not premeditated. It's instinctive.
 

Leah3horses

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15 November 2006
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Yorkshire
Humans are supposed to be an intelligent species. OP, I'm so sorry people have assumed your horse is some kind of raging ,biting tyranasaur, who must be hit and made to feel 'they will die', and that horses are so stupid they actually think humans hitting them is anything to do with how horses in the herd behave 🙄. The easiest, most effective, completely non violent ,dare I say intelligent way of dealing with a mouthy horse, and in my line of work ( vet nurse with a professional education in equine behaviour), I've used said technique more times than some have been violent to horses, is : get a slicker brush, or 2, small ones. Fasten securely to hands/ arms and ,while not exactly inviting horse to mouth you , just make sure when he does, he makes contact with ouchy slicker brush pins...you don't force it into his mouth, you do nothing except watch carefully , wait and allow mouthy horse to teach himself using his mouth on humans isn't a comfortable experience, at all. Never known even a full blown biter try it more than twice. No aggression, no fuss, no head shyness, and best of all you've allowed the horse to teach himself more efficiently than any brutal human could teach him via pain and fear, which only contains unwanted behaviour symptoms, whereas enabling the horse to process his own behaviour and solution is indicative of permanent change without latent transmission of frustration to other problem behaviours. Work smarter, not 'harder', literally. It's 2020, not 1950, when punishment, violence and fear based 'methods' were all people knew. This is one of the most extreme behavioural modification methods, used as a last resort with confirmed biters, as discomfort and pain is not something experienced behaviourists ever need to use usually.
 
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