nip busting

Discussion in 'Problem Horses' started by milo, Sep 21, 2012.

  1. milo

    milo New Member

    my 3yo and my 19yo are yarded together and 3yo just loves to nip at 19yo all the time and they have great fun, however 3yo nips me to, i have tried giving him a slight nudge on the side of his mouth within 1-2 seconds after, telling him a NO, ignoring him too and he still nips, could i try using a squirt of water from a spray bottle or is there a product on the market to use ..what do i do?
  2. JustJam

    JustJam Well-known Member

    To me, that is just making a game of it for your horse... have you ever watched 2 horses playing 'nip me, nip you' in the paddock? lol

    Put your elbow up in a position that protects yourself from the nips (my horse has never nipped (wouldn't dare!) but I have had dealings with plenty that have tried, so I do this out of habit anyway - ya just never know!)

    Horse will swing to nip and cop an elbow to the face - all self inflicted of course, and you won't get hurt and don't have to resort to telling off. They learn pretty quick not to bother in my experience.
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2012
  3. Deb2

    Deb2 Guest

    In my opinion you are way too slow, and way too passive. If my horse dared to try nipping me (she wouldn't) then I would come after her like an alpha mare in the paddock. I hope you dont climb on board the three year old, as I would be sorting his assertiveness out first from the ground.

    Just remember though, it is not norty behaviour, but it is behaviour that you allow, so that is why he does it, and it is his way of seeing how far he can assert himself over will lead on to other 'im the boss' behaviour in time.

    You dont need to hit him, but be very assertive at moving his feet in the direction and at the speed that YOU want....doing this will cause him to look to you as a leader.
  4. Bunnies

    Bunnies Guest

    I think you need to work on establishing yourself as herd leader. Horses play that nipping game with others of a similar level in the heirarchy but they don't try it with the alpha mare!
  5. Bunnies

    Bunnies Guest

    Snap Deb - I was just writing my response while you posted this! Totally totally agree with you **)
  6. Ali

    Ali Well-known Member

    My pali who is turning two occasionally tries to nip me. I've found the best way to deal with it is to always be watching what she is doing and read her body language and if she does try I become boss and send her away from me as fast as I can and quite aggressively. This may not suit all people and all horses but its what works for her, I put her back in her place (below ME in the pecking order) then she will come back to me (when I let her) licking and chewing and all soft again. I found with her that if you smacked she just came back for more!
  7. milo

    milo New Member

    Thanks the elbow one sounds good.
  8. Nicki

    Nicki Well-known Member

    This works well for nipping, and for horses that treat you like a rubbing post. My gelding likes a head rub after being ridden and always gets one after I've taken his bridle off, but sometimes after dismounting he will try and turn his head to rub his face on my shoulder while I'm running stirrups up. Headbutting a stationary elbow is good discouragement. **)
  9. Bunnies

    Bunnies Guest

    I agree that using your elbow to block a potential nip is a great idea - it works provided that you're in a position where you can use your elbow to block the horse's head BUT there are numerous situations in which you are just not in a position to be able to use this block and it would be much better to address the underlying cause which is that the horse doesn't respect you.

    As Justjam said, her own horse would not dare to nip her but she learnt to use the elbow technique to avoid being bitten by other horses and now does it out of habit just to be on the safe side.

    It is the "would not dare" that is important - you need to have that level of respect from your youngster.

    I would very strongly recommend that you do some basic groundwork (with an instructor if necessary) to help you establish this respect before you proceed with any other training.
  10. JustJam

    JustJam Well-known Member

    Hi Milo :)

    The 'elbows' technique works really well on horses who already have a pretty good 'Manners Button' installed but, for whatever reason, has had a momentary laps of 'concentration'. And any horse, even the most docile and 'bomb-proof' horse, can have a brain-fart! A self-inflicted whack to the face is usually enough to shake the cob-webs out! lol

    However, although this horse is 3 years of age, and obviously in close enough proximity and given the freedom to nip, maybe this horse doesn't have a good 'Manners Button'?

    If that is the case then, as the others have said really well, it does mean establishing yourself as leader, and in no uncertain terms! It doesn't mean suddenly going at the horse waving your arms around, threatening to hit it, while screeching like a mad woman though! lol

    To establish yourself as leader you need to act really quickly but in a firm, controlled, determined manner with a plan in mind. And you need to know when the horse has 'got the message' and is repentant. It might take a few times, however if done correctly it doesn't take long, doesn't create a small world war, doesn't scare the crap out of the horse and you don't get hurt (or put in a straight-jacket lol)

    Hope that helps clarify a bit :))
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2012
  11. Blackbat

    Blackbat Well-known Member

    You probably were oblivious to the horse games he was playing on you, about 50 steps before the nip. Be worthwhile following first, if you attempt to be a leader. Be aware all the time. Plan his moves for him. Be consistent. Learn how horses subtly test dominance and leadership through play, every moment of every interaction.

    He shouldn't even be close enough to nip, as most leaders have a personal bubble that nobody can enter uninvited. A little test- can you put him out to then end of hid leadrope and he stays waiting for your next instruction? Or does he wander off, or shuffle gradually towards you (in nipping range)?

    A good leader is onto that, before the plan even hatches in the mind.
  12. 7notHeaven

    7notHeaven Active Member

    Agree with all the statements on leadership here.

    Specifically to nipping I have used John lyons "loving on their muzzle" approach which very simply means every time they go to nip you, you grab their nose and pat/poke/prod/rub it all over. The trick is to do it a long tome past their patience level with it - it is all friendly not rough but pretty annoying I would imagine;) Anyway i know it has worked for me although i can't remember the last time one of mine tried to nip . . .

    Which brings me to some advice Denise Scudds once told me - if a horse bites you or kicks at you, as their leader you are allowed three seconds to kill them, using only you bare hands and the rope. This is a great one for passive people like me because obviously the damage done is nill but the INTENTION in you're eyes is plain for all to see. Just gotta tap into you're inner murderess *#) I think Pat Parelli calls this the "swiggamoocha" look?
  13. Blackbat

    Blackbat Well-known Member

    PP says get a mean look on your face, like a "schwiegermutter", German for mother in law. Which makes me think his was a particularly formiddable lady that you wouldn't like to mess with. He just means you have to believe it and mean it I think, the potential of your look has serious meaning.
  14. Go the Distance

    Go the Distance Well-known Member

    I have a simple rule. I don't feed anything to my horses out of my hand. Mouths are for eating grass, eating out of a bucket or drinking. If you put your mouth near me in a manner that I consider inappropiate then you get the 'mother in law' (I love it Black Bat!) look or you get chased backwards smartly.

    I have a scar that I will carry for life under my left boob from the Witch biting me when I first got her...she completely tore away a hunk of flesh down to the she does not even go there:D. I can't imagine her trying to bite me now:)).
  15. PF

    PF Active Member

    I had one that wasn't responding to all the usual discouragement from nipping and I was at my wits end when a good friend of mine said she cured hers by carrying a needle shoved in a cork everywhere she went and keeping it just "there" where he would normally nip so he got pricked on the nose each time he tried. I didn't go that far (couldn't be bothered making the cork/needle thing) but I carried a used horseshoe nail with me everytime I handled him and it worked a treat. All I did when I was leading him was walk with my left arm crossed across my chest so the horseshoe nail in my left hand was just protruding past my right elbow....he stopped nipping within a couple of days.
  16. Dusty_Ruby

    Dusty_Ruby Active Member

    My horse used to nip badly when I got him. I thought about all options and tried several, but nothing really worked.

    I found that it disappeared by itself while we were concentrating on float loading, proper leading, standing still when mounting etc.

    These days I even trim his feet and he doesn't try anything.

    I bragged to the previous owner about my success, but when she visited, he was straight back to his old tricks with her. He basically tries it with everyone else which I find embarrassing, but at least, he is good with me.
  17. Bunnies

    Bunnies Guest

    This is because you established yourself as his leader by doing groundwork. Obviously his previous owner had never done this.

    I rest my case.
  18. CountryGurl_007

    CountryGurl_007 Well-known Member

    i do not like biting or niping but when i was a lot younger mum used to break in horses in her spare time and i used to go and watch one of her particular breakers she had at the time was a 3.5 yr tb quiet as a lamb but he used to bite i have a scar on my throat that is not visible unless you look for it but i know its there, from him biting me,

    from that day on i have not tolerated horses nipping or biting when i first got cricket she was a nipper, to stop her from biting me i turned on my alpha mare i "nipped" ( i pinched her on the nose)her back and chased her a away i did this for a week and abit proud to say cricket doesnt nip any more

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