Recently, two people contacted me asking how to solve the problem of nipping or biting. Both involved young horses, one of which was a colt that had been bottle fed. The other was a filly who was a 'lonely only' for a while, and I suspect that the owner felt bad and tried to provide companionship, without instilling respect. That's usually where biting problems stem from-a lack of respect. Horses need to understand that they are horses, not pets that can walk all over us. So we need to work on respect, keeping a respectful distance and ultimately teaching them to keep their mouths to themselves.
My suggestions included not giving any treats by hand or doing anything that invites your youngster to nose your pockets, hands or anywhere else on your person. They shouldn't be allowed to nuzzle, sniff or bring their mouths anywhere near you. Any touching of their face should be initiated by you. If they offer to nuzzle, sniff or nip, back them up immediately so they're out of your space. A 'carrot stick' or 'wand', which are nice names for whips or crops can help keep them beyond arm's length. You can also try "pecking" them in the neck like a senior equine herd-mate would.
I've owned nippers, so I know how frustrating the problem can be. Here are more suggestions to solve horse's biting or nipping problems.
Have you dealt with a nipper or biter? How did you solve the problem? Offer your suggestions in the comments below.
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My heart goes out to all affected by the terrible storms that ripped through the mid-west. About the only good thing about several recent disasters, including recent hurricanes and tornadoes, is that we've gotten a bit smarter about emergency planning. But, sometimes, mother nature doesn't give us much warning, leading to the devastating news stories we've all been reading the last few days.
Whether we experienced or witnessed the disaster, we've learned the time to prepare for a disaster is before anything happens. One critical aspect of horse manners is having a horse that loads quietly on a horse trailer. You may never plan to leave the yard with your horse, but an emergency requiring evacuation will be much easier to handle if you don't have to struggle with a horse that won't load. Train a Horse To Load on A Trailer Calmly outlines steps to training your horse to step onto a trailer willingly. Sometimes you do have to weather the storm and Emergency Planning for Horse and Pony Owners will help you put together a disaster plan to keep your horses or ponies as safe as possible whether you are facing fires, hurricanes, blizzards or floods.
More About Emergency Horse Care:
It's a lot of work preparing Trillium and myself for horse shows. The horse trailer needs a thorough check before it goes back out onto the road, there's lots of riding and practicing to do, and there's packing and grooming for the actual event.
Photo: 2010 K. Blocksdorf
Grooming for a show is a very important job. I never feel I'm ready unless my horse's coat has a dust-free shine and her mane and tail are perfect. Perhaps you're heading out to your very first show. The first step in a good presentation is having a healthy horse. Then it is time for good old fashioned elbow grease that may include giving your horse a bath
, cleaning its hooves
, to putting that final show-worthy polish on its coat
More About Grooming for a Show:
Do you enjoy quizzes? If you enjoy learning about horses and testing your knowledge you can get horse quizzes in your email in-box. Once a week for six weeks you'll receive a horse oriented quiz that will test your horse savvy. Included are links to relevant articles, so you can brush up on your knowledge before you begin each quiz. Sign up now for the Test Your Horse Savvy
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