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biteing problem in young stallion

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#1 Lana


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Posted 19 July 2011 - 06:35 AM

I have a 3 yr. old stallion that has been handled from birth. He has been shown 4 times in halter and is now beginning to be broke. Seems like from the moment he was born he has wanted to use his mouth on everything he can get a hold of. I have raised several stallions in my time and any who wanted to try and bite or ###### were disciplined and it stopped. So its not like I have not been around stallions--I have. This one is a little different in that being disciplined for wanting to bite or ###### does not phase him. First off--I do not hit him in the head as I know what that can lead too. I have to carry a leather strap or a bat type short whip with me at all times. When he reaches around to bite--I will whack him on the chest or neck and hollar at him--when this happens--he does not move a muscle--even the first time he was hit--he did not move--just stood there. Its as if he does not feel it--but I know he does. He just started riding training--the trainer has been on him 3 times. Each time she tries to mount he wants to turn his head and bite at her--same thing when she is getting off. While being ridden he will swing his head toward her legs. We hate to do anything drastic during his maiden voyages to set him off into possible bucking--as he has not bucked one time--yet. Everything I do with him he learns real fast and is really a good colt to be around--except for the biting part. The trainer has not come across one that wants to continually bite and she is like me--does not want to put a whole lot of pressure or whack him to hard during his initial ridings that may cause him to spook. She puts a caveson on him--that helps a little--but its not a cure--just momentarily helps. He wants his mouth on everything--can even walk him down the hallway and he will reach for a halter hung on another horses door to try and chew it. If he is disciplined his attitude is--Oh well. His teeth and mouth have been checked several times--nothing found that may cause him to do this so much. Anyone have any ideas to stop this nipping and biting of things and people.

don't know why the ####### showed up in my post--the word was suppose to be ######.

don't know why the ####### showed up in my post--the word was suppose to be ######.

#2 Natalie Angstadt

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Posted 19 July 2011 - 07:25 AM

I'm in the same boat and my guy is now 5. When he is able to grab at my shirt, he runs backwards because he knows immediately that he has done something wrong. He just seems obsessed with it and knows its wrong - but can't help himself. He only does this in hand, not under saddle or when using his mind.
Natalie Angstadt
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#3 ShadowfaxArabians


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Posted 19 July 2011 - 07:38 AM

I don't know what to tell you...had one like that & he thought being disciplined just made it more challenging to see if he could pinch me & get out of reach before I could reach him. What finally seemed to help the most was just never ever ever letting him turn his face towards me. Anytime his face turned my direction I would gently but firmly push it away (every single time no exceptions). I let him know I was allowed to handle his face & walk around his face but if he made the choice to move his nose my direction it got pushed away. Most of his mouthiness towards people was gone by 4 yrs old...he was gelded at 5 & never offered to bite again.

Some thing I have found works better then any kind of "hitting" discipline for mouthy foals is pinching their lip (hard!!) whenever they try to use their teeth. Then kindly rubbing the spot I pinched & all around the muzzle immediately afterwards to let them know that it is still okay for me to touch their face.
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"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God and who have been called according to His purpose" Romans 8:28

#4 HitTheTrails


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Posted 19 July 2011 - 07:39 AM

I don't know how well this will work because the horse that had problem biting just did it in hand or when you were trying to put a halter on him. When he would go to bite we'd push his head away from us and say no, try again and do the same until he kept his teeth to himself once the task was completed with no biting we'd give him a treat and lots of praise and attention (especiall petting or kissing his nose just to see if he's really learned his lesson or was just holding out for the food :)) But he was no where near as "mouthy" as you describe your boy, distraction seemed the key to keep Dancer "playing" with us & not focused on biting to try to get his way...hope this maybe helps?


#5 Integrity Arabians

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Posted 19 July 2011 - 08:18 AM

People are probably going to hate me but oh well it did work for me. Not saying it will work for you. And of course it worked on a foal. I did have a suckling colt come at me teeth bared, ready to bite when I was brushing his mother many many years ago.

Yes I backhanded him across the nose an instant reaction, that colt stopped, and I never had a problem with him and mouthing on people or even trying to consider biting. He never even considered it. The key also if you are going to do that is to sensitize and desensitize. Afterwards, I showed him that if he wasn't doing something stupid he wasn't going to get smacked. I didn't have a head shyness problem after the incident as I gave him the opportunity to be stupid again and he didn't and I rewarded him with pets on the face.

I had worked lots with desensitizing him to outward stimuli as I wanted him to be as close to bomb proof as I could and he did become that by 2. As I had intended to leave him as a stallion. But gelded him due to my boarding situation at the time.

Of course this wasn't an arabian, this was way before I got into arabians. And was my first colt, that I had born to me.

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#6 OneMuddyTB


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Posted 19 July 2011 - 09:35 AM

I have an extremely mouthy gelding. He loves to have his tongue rubbed (weirdo) and he likes to take the brushes away and brush me when I groom him. He also does not respond to correction; he'll back off if you whop him with a lead rope or crop, but then he's back five minutes later and it becomes part of the game. The mouthiness part of who he is and I prefer redirecting it rather than trying to beat it out of him. I will growl and give him a smack if he actually gets me with teeth, but that only happens if I'm not paying enough attention. If I'm paying attention and doing things right, I just notice when he is feeling mouthy and give him something to chew on. I think this is characteristic of smart horses that don't like to be bored--he certainly is like that and so was the mouthy stallion I worked with years ago--and most horses that hate boredom would rather have you mad at them than feel like they're doing nothing. I suspect your colt will improve as he gets going under saddle enough to feel like he has a job to do and can concentrate on that.

One trick I use with my gelding: If he's really being mouthy and I need to get something done with him before I can work him or do trick training to keep his brain busy, I'll tie a clean sweatsock from my "tail sock" stash to his halter. Then he plays with that and stops trying to bite.

The most effective thing with him is keeping him tired (when he's sound enough for hard work) and keeping his brain busy (especially when he's having issues). The busy mouth goes away like magic when I don't let him get bored or stand around doing nothing.

#7 Zoe


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Posted 19 July 2011 - 09:51 AM

I agree with everyone suggesting to keep him busy. When our colt (now gelding) gets/got mouthy, I'd start playing with his lips and give him something to chew on.

They make "baby bits" of sorts that have little dangly things in the joint for them to play with that could potentially help your problem under saddle.

These are just ideas, assuming he's not being aggressive in his biting.



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#8 Envestment


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Posted 19 July 2011 - 06:49 PM

First of all I have raised horses for 45 years, everything from saddlebreds to mustangs and quarter horses to the Arabs we have now.

You probably aren't hurting him as much as you think, he has learned to ignore you and made this into a game. You say he bites at you. Is he connecting or snapping at you? If he is just threatening I would immediately make him work, hard. Stop whatever you are doing and lunge him until he wants to stop and then push him just a bit more to make him understand you are in control. Go back to what you where originally doing and if he snaps again, back lunging. You have to lunge IMMEDIATELY. If you stop to unsaddle, change into a halter etc. he will not get the message. I would keep a halter and line on him at all times (take the line off when riding) so you can get his attention right away.

OK, you are all going to faint but this does work. Now if he is connecting get yourself a "6 penny nail" and hold it in your hand with about 1 1/2 to 2 inches extending out from between your first and middle finger. As he swings toward you meet him so the nail connects on the soft part of his muzzle between the nostrils and lip.

The trick to this is not to be swinging and flopping your hands and arms. One solid (not stabbing) connection will get his attention. If you don't think you are quick enough then have someone like the trainer do it. It can also be done while mounting if needed.

Good luck, a biting horse is a pain and you can get hurt badly. I won't tell you the whole story but a month or so in the hospital from a horse bite taught me to take if very seriously. You are very smart to be seeking advice and stopping it now.

Bonnie Jameson
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#9 mystikalfarms


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Posted 19 July 2011 - 07:12 PM

A lot of people are afraid to hit a horse on the face in fear of them becoming head shy. If you do it correctly though, it shouldn't take more than a couple of times for him to stop biting. As soon as the horse attempts to bite, hit him across the nose with your hand, not your fist. It should be hard enough to hear a smack sound, but not hard enough to hurt your hand. I have used this method with many horses who tend to bite (or even nibble) and it works well. If he is nibbling on anything either than you, give him something to play with. I used to have a piece of leather tied to the cheek of my horses halter and when he felt like nibbling on something, that it what he got. Almost all of the time, they grow out of this. Make sure he is only able to nibble on things you give him and never on you or your clothing. Nibbling can lead to biting real quick!

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#10 maryjo


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Posted 19 July 2011 - 07:17 PM

I am in the camp of 'knocking him into next Tuesday' once and for all. Be done with it. Pushing his face away, playing with his tongue mean a GAME to him.

What would another horse do to another horse if they were bit? Go, "oh, you are just being busy? You are just being cute?"

Best to make a major correction and be done with it. Go on with life.