View Full Version : What do you all do if your horse bites you?

16th May 2011, 08:47 PM
HI Everyone

I wanted to know what steps do you all take if your horse actually bites you?

I have been trying to change my managment with my 16.1h TB Exracer ive only had him nine months and boy has he been testing me.

He has excellent stable manners can groom him for ages but its when I am putting his rug on at the front he turns his head to bite you, ive always said NO and pointed a finger which seems to work

BUT tonight he came round really quick and actually bit my arm and ive got a 10p size bruise on my arm now where the mucsle is and is sore.

I instantly smacked him on his shoulder/neck and he moved back and shook his head and stepped away, then I said what have you done you naughty boy he looked at me lowerd his head soon after that he turned away from me and put his head to the wall and bum to the stable door.

What would that of meant? did he understand he did wrong?

did I do the right thing and what else can I do to stop him doing this again

16th May 2011, 09:06 PM
If he is an ex racer then his management will have been very regimented and it may have been he had a particularly unpleasant groom dealing with him. It sounds like this rug is a very negative association, and for him not to be shocked but disgruntled you slapped him suggests its what he's used to.

Biting is the one time i do agree with a smack as a smack is a shock tactic....but if its not shocking to the horse its not gonna work! Need to have something very shocking if he makes contact but he is expecting a smack. a short sharp AHAH and strong body language i think will have to be your technique...and then work on desensitising him to the rug. Put it over him, then leave alone, then do a strap and leave alone etc. keep trying to just make it positive or at least neutral for him.

16th May 2011, 09:38 PM
Scarlet has tested me a bit and does go to bite me when i am doing her girth or grooming her belly, but I always knew that, so I beat her to it and say 'no' with the pointed finger and that does work. However she has caught me a few times when she is tacked up and I am leading her out to get on, or have just got off. It was tiny nips and they were so quick and at weird times I wasn't sure if I had put my arm where it shouldn't have been, until one day it was a proper bite while at a show. I shouted and gave her a tap on her neck, but she didn't seem phased at all. I had a bruise from the bite, so next time I was ready. She did it again while I was getting on in the paddock and this time I smacked her very quickly on her nose. It was deffo more shock as it wasn't hard, but she didn't see it coming and hasn't done it since. So I agree with Sasca that it is to do with the shock more than anything. :rolleyes:

16th May 2011, 09:52 PM
I flick behind the nostril just above the lip where it's hollow, if you know what I mean?! It makes a good noise which shocks them not to do it again!

Kis Vihar
16th May 2011, 10:02 PM
When I am interacting with any of my herd, I am TOP HORSE. If I choose to walk amongst them in the field, they step out of my way, and come to me when I invite them. They have total respect for my space and don't challenge me. When I am NOT there, Kicsi is the top horse. If someone gets in her way, she makes them move, whether it takes a 'glare' (pinning ears back) or a lunge towards them, or a threat of heels. If someone dared bite her, she would sure as hell bite them back in an instant.

None of my horses would think of biting me, but if they did, it would be an immediate 'bite back' - nothing that the dominant horse in a herd wouldn't do.

I would expect immediate backing off by them, and submission. NOT fear, just 'OK, I get it, that was a bad idea' body language from them.

16th May 2011, 10:10 PM
I don't agree that verbal warnings do much good with 80% of horses when they're aggressive enough to bite/kick you.

When I got Bailey, he would threaten to bite when you did up his girth. He would never in a million years try to make contact with you, but he will turn his head round and 'snap' his teeth. I smacked him on the shoulder whilst using a firm 'OI' or something similar, and he barely does it now. I won't hesitate to smack him if he ever tries to bite me in the future. I would never smack somebody else's horse though for doing the same, there's some boundaries you just don't cross!

At the end of the day, an aggressive horse can do a lot more to you than you can do to it!!

16th May 2011, 10:37 PM
Umm I bit him back :ashamed:

Mac wouldn't dream of it and hasn't even ever come close TJ went through a nippy phase and then one day full on bit me on the arm so I bit him back on his muzzle. Not really that hard but it shocked him and he's never done it again. It you aren't a weirdo like me a quick pinch/twist tends to work as it replicates the 'biting back' which is what another horse would do in that situation.

16th May 2011, 11:40 PM
When a horse actually bites me, they get a firm smack and (if they don't back up on their own after the smack) I make them back up several steps. However, I think prevention is the best cure out there. I would spend a lot of time working with him and his blanket - moving it around, buckling, unbuckling, taking it off, putting it on, whatever - until it's completely and utterly boring to him. If he tenses up or starts to pull faces, I would back him up and make him move to distract him until he's forgotten about it again, then try again. Practice makes perfect! :)

17th May 2011, 12:21 AM
Freddie was very nippy when we first got him.. we tried the whole ignoring thing and got plenty of bruises to show for it. So when he did go for it after that, he got a good smack on the nose/shoulder/wherever. Only took a few times for him to realise it was a bad idea - never had a problem with him since and he's not ever been headshy, afraid of us etc. He's very affectionate. If he DOES try it on - mouthing, creeping, trying to be sneaky about it then he gets a warning growl which is usually enough for him to give up the ghost!

In 90% of situations, a flick/smack/bite is fully appropriate.

17th May 2011, 08:40 AM
Another thing to try if a smack/flick etc is not enough of a shock, is a kick. Clip went through a phase of biting, and a smack wasn't enough he just went back at you. So I kiccked him on the leg just above the hoof (I was only wearing trainers and not particularly hard) but he wasn't expecting it and this did seem to nip it in the bud, now if he threatens he gets a warning body language which is enough for him to go ok.

17th May 2011, 09:22 AM
Xanth rarely tries to bite so normally a sharp smack either on the neck or a flick on her nose and an OI!! is all thats needed to shock her into not doing it for a while, she always looks mortified after too :lol:

Xena never used to bite either, she only bit me once and it was at a show after i had owned her for about 4 years...we were stood in the line up pulled in 4th waiting for the judge to hand out the rosettes...for some reason she decided to bite my forearm so hard that it drew blood through my tweed :eek: my initial reaction was to shove her off with my other hand at which she shot backwards like i had beaten her across the head and like it was a daily occurence :lol: She then proceeded to look sheepishly at me from under her forelock! Luckily the judge didnt seem to notice and we crept back into the line up!

17th May 2011, 09:41 AM
He doesnt bite to hurt, but can get a little nippy when he gets over excited or nervous. Yep, a slap around the shoulder and a growl and step into his space. Icarus has now trained himself - he knows the reprimand. Nowadays he doesnt even get to the nipping stage. He goes to do it, then leaps back quickly before he actually bites. :lol:

17th May 2011, 10:21 AM
one smack is all it takes and then they know not to do it again, kizzie knows not to bite she bit me once and only once now all i need to do is say no at her or Oi and she doesnt do it king is the same, and any other horse i treat the same if its going to bite me its going to get a slap im affraid

Zeitgeist Mom
17th May 2011, 12:43 PM
When I first got Misty she was terribly mouthy, and did bite, albeit playfully. Eventually I got annoyed with ignoring it, and clouted her back. I felt so bad afterwards, but I have to say, that was the last time she did it.

When Zeitgeist bit me ..... I got the vet to chop his balls off. Instant cure. :lol:

17th May 2011, 12:58 PM
I don't agree with hitting no matter what the situation.

I have dealt with some VERY aggressive horses through the years and never once have I raised a hand to them. It's all body language with me.

I agree with the shock tactic Sasca mentioned by the way I would do this is by a sharp hard stamp of my foot and a deep "oi" with my voice, instantly backed up by pushing the horse totally out of my space with body language and eye contact.

At the end of the day, a horse that bites/kicks at you, has to come into your space first so lots of groundwork on spacial awareness from day one can nip all this behaviour in the butt, excuse the pun lol


My Crazy Clan
17th May 2011, 12:58 PM
Maybe pulling the rug over is painful for him? have none horses to react in this way when they've had a sore back.

I normally just give a grrr and a sometimes a smack.

18th May 2011, 02:13 PM
Never had call to think about this with Oscar as it's not in his nature at all but when i was younger a particularly grumpy riding school pony always bit the kids as they tacked him up, tried it on me several times til one day i bit back (the top of his ear) & he never did it to me again haha.

As an adult i would now have to question the reason behind them biting, if your girthing up or putting on a rug there is the possibility of it being pain related & then you need to think that they are only trying to express to you that there is a problem, so you need to say a firm no but then look into the problem further.

With Poppy, she is good as gold once caught & she knows you have her in a headcollar or bridle but has her moments where she basically will come running up to me in the field & try to bite me, i make myself "big" arms up & waving, growl, shout "NO" etc and she soon backs down & stops nashing her teeth at me! lol, have a feeling that if she actually bit me & i bit back she'd just come back for more twice as bad & i'd loose the battle as she isnt the type to take a telling off very well!

18th May 2011, 04:21 PM
I have never had a horse bite me in an aggressive manner, I don't think.

Hasty went through a phase of pinning his ears and threatening to bite when being girthed up, so I bought him a sheepskin sleeve to go on the girth, and now make sure I am always VERY gentle and gradual with his girth. He's stopped doing it now.

If Vinny tries to bite me I tell him off, but not too much. He only does it when he's cross with me for not riding him enough. Usually a good blast round the hill gets him out of the habit for a few days at least!

Hasty kicked me a few months ago over a food dispute. I was trying to defend Vinny's food and Hasty thought he may as well tell both of us to ****** off. Vinny scarpered (he is a terrible coward) but I went nuts and ran after Hasty shouting, before throwing the headcollar at him. He hasn't tried it since.