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Franklin Levinson's

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Another biting horse.

Hello Franklin,

Here I have another biting question: my horse (5 years old - but I just bought him) has this bad habit of ''trying to bite'' yet does grabs people when they are just not paying attention.

He has not bitten me, yet I constantly reprimand him, tried the BBQ brush (with the bristles under the chin), tried turpentine, tried cayenne pepper, to me almost any tricks that people did suggest. And he still does it!

It is not in a mean way, (for he is a very good riding horse and listens really well to commands) yet I cannot seem to brake this darnful habit.

Any other suggestions? (I do try!)

Hi Maly,

Sounds like you are not definitive enough and are jousting with your horse which promotes continuation of the behavior. Even play biting (jousting) is unacceptable and should be dealt with firmly and in no uncertain terms, as it can become full-on biting at anytime.

Briefly: I set up the situation so I know the horse will attempt to bite. I wear a coat with heavy leather sleeves and heavy gloves. I lead the horse or do whatever to promote the bite. The instant he makes a move towards my arm or hand, POP firmly (and I mean firmly) with my fist or elbow right on the end of the horse's snout. Then, forget about it and move on. This is the only time I will hit a horse with any force. It is well timed (within 2 seconds of the bite), very accurately placed (exactly on the end of the snout) and done without anger or malice and done calmly. It is not in the face. The end of the snout only. It must be done expertly. It should have to be applied only once or twice if this is done properly to have the horse stop the biting or the jousting game. It is not abusive if done correctly. It is controlled, precise, and will not scare the horse off. Generally, they are so stunned, they just stand there in a bit of amazement. Say something like "QUIT!" when you pop him.

Anyway, you say he is not doing this in a mean way, neither should you do this in a mean way. It is a consequence and not a punishment or a reprimand. Punishment is too harsh and reprimand is too soft. This is a solid, non-abusive consequence for unwanted behavior that could turn dangerous. Good Luck.

Sincerely, Franklin

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