Posts Tagged ‘biting’
Posted in Bad Habits, Behavior, Biting, Desensitization, Ground Training, Nipping, Personal Space, Respect, Training, What Every Horse Should Know, tagged attitude, biting, confidence, equine, ground training, horse, horse behavior, spooking, training on January 28, 2012| 2 Comments »
Posted in Behavior, Catching, Ground Training, Handling, In-Hand Work, Nipping, Personal Space, Respect, Training, What Every Horse Should Know, tagged attitude, biting, equine, ground training, horse behavior, nipping, training on August 19, 2011| 4 Comments »
My question is about a riding-school horse: in the scenario below, what if anything should I have done differently?
At this school, students ride a different horse every time. Over weeks or months, a student might ride the same horse again. This was the first and only time so far I was assigned to this horse.
When I first entered her pipe-stall, she acted friendly and let me remove her blanket. But when I re-entered the stall with halter and lead rope, she nipped at the air in my direction. She did this every time I slowly moved the halter toward her nose and she became more aggressive.
My job was to catch her, lead her to cross-ties, and tack her up in time for a riding lesson 30 minutes later.
I reasoned that I should not reward her nipping by backing off or going away (to get help!). Instead I growled (yelling or shouting are expressly forbidden in this barn) and let her know she couldn’t get rid of me, by keeping my fingertips on her shoulder, at arm’s length, and following her as she rotated around her stall, away from me. After some 20 nips, she gave up and let me put the halter on her. After that everything was fine.
What should I have done differently? Caroline
If the purpose of the lessons at this schools is to test a students ability to deal with various horses, then I would say in general, you did an acceptable job. But if testing was the aim, then you would have received an evaluation and critique from an instructor who was watching. It sounds as though you did not.
If the purpose of the school is to teach students how to interact with various types of horses, then I would say the school failed. With a horse like this, it should have taken one of the instructors just a few minutes to demonstrate the best way to approach, catch and halter this particular horse in her pipe stall. Then you could have done the same. An instructor would have been able to advise you whether the horse was playing a game with you or was truly aggressive, something I can not ascertain from an email.
I am positively impressed with your savvy to not reward her with backing off from her attempts at nipping.
What should you have done differently? Perhaps after catching the horse and haltering her, you could have turned her loose, left her pen and then asked an instructor to watch as you approached, caught and haltered the horse once again.
A lesson begins the moment you begin approaching a horse. A riding school should instruct from that point on, not just when you are in the saddle.
Thanks for the good question.
Posted in Bad Habits, Behavior, Catching, Desensitization, Exercise, Gelding, Ground Training, Halter Training, Handling, In-Hand Work, Training, Veterinary Care, Vices, tagged biting, colt, equine, foal, gelding, ground training, horse care, kicking, rearing, training on December 30, 2010| 4 Comments »
My miniature horse foal keeps biting, bucking, rearing and jumping up. He is a 4 month old foal. I plan to geld him, but our vet said to wait until he is 1 year, so it won’t harm his growth.
Hershey wants to bite and chew on EVERYTHING. He has toys in the yard that he can play with, but I seldom see him using them. We have a pet goat who lives with him and his mother, and he is often seen chewing on her legs and tail (she has bite marks to prove it) I try to enforce the no-bite rule when I am around him by pushing his head away and tapping him on the muzzle, but when I leave for the day, there isn’t anyone to stop him.
Also, when I turn my back to him, he will often run up behind me and rear/kick me. He also does this to his mother by jumping up and placing his hooves right below her withers.
He is a very smart foal, catches on very easily and loves to please me. He let me take his halter on and off him at 5 days old and would move back and to the side with pressure too, but now he is so focused on biting or chewing on me that when I ask him to do something, he ignores my signals.
On a different hoof, when his mother goes to roll in the dirt, she finds it very difficult because he jumps over her. I have often had to hold him still so she can roll, because I am worried that he will tangle his legs with hers.
Is this a stage, or is it a habit??? And how would I be able to fix it and make him behave? Would gelding him early help? I am supposed to show him in showmanship this year.
First I want to be sure that you know how to search here on this blog and on my website for information related to Biting and other horse behavior and training topics.
For example, here on this blog, you can type Biting in the Search box at the top of the page or in the right hand column. It will bring up a list of articles here that talk about horses that bite. For example
You can also go to the article page on my main website www.horsekeeping.com where there are many more articles. On that page, you can see all of the articles by title, so the fastest way to find what you want is to go to the Behavior category and scroll down to the articles on Biting.
For example, besides the one on the miniatures that bite children, there are the following articles:
Now, to your questions specifically. It is generally a stage that colts (male foals) go through. If a biting horse is dabbed at or played with, or if you lightly tap his nose to tell him no, in many cases it tends to encourage play biting which is a socially acceptable behavior between horses.
You need to make sure your foal knows in no uncertain terms that you are top on the pecking order and biting is not an acceptable behavior.
You also need to set up regular handling sessions so that he learns to respect your personal space. This means 2-3 sessions per day every day – the sessions don’t have to be long – they could be 5-20 minutes each but should be structured. The articles I suggest above and other articles on my website will help with that.
As far as limiting his biting when you are not handling him or near him, that would be difficult. You can deter his biting of certain things like wood rails by coating them with a No Chew product, but that’s a big world out there, so while he is at this stage, perhaps teething, you should focus on his good manners when he is being handled and when you are near him when he is loose.
In terms of gelding him, here is a thorough discussion of why a horse is gelded, when, and aftercare. You should follow your own veterinarian’s advice as to when to geld but do know that many horses are gelding “early” which means before they are a year old – even at weaning – with good results and no negative effects. I don’t want to advise you on that as I can’t see your horse. Your veterinarian has the best picture of your horses, management and so on.
Best of luck and remember, there is no substitute for thorough regular effective handling.