Archives MAIN PAGE

Franklin Levinson's

Horse Help Center

Professional support for you and your horse!

Biting filly, new owners


I happened upon your page while I was searching for help about my biting girl. She is my first horse, so I thought I would buy her young so we could get to know each other at the same time. I just got her four days ago, and she had a look in her eye that attracted me to her.

Well, we have been going and seeing her 1-2 times a day (haven't gotten her home yet) and we have been feeding her out of our hands. I have just read that this is a big NO NO. Well yesterday she acted a little different, I couldn't put my hands on it. One of my friends was with us, and Sassy Jo (horse) reached accross the fence and bit her shirt. YES, she bit it, not a nip. My friend had on ALOT of perfume, and a very bright colored shirt, had reds, yellows, blues in it, was a tie died shirt. My first question is can the perfume and bright colors have anything to do with that?

OK, to get on with the story, my friend was starting to go in the pen, and I told her not to because Sassy Jo had a thing for her today -- trying to bite her and all. Well she went in anyways. As soon as she got in the pen and got the gate closed, Sassy came at her, whites of her eyes showing, ears laid back,and attacked her. She bit her shoulder enough to imediately bruise it, and when my friend put her arm up she bit that too, I was on the outside of the pen and I waived my arms and said "Sassy, NO" and she quit and my friend got out of the pen ok. Well for about 20 min before, and right after that happened, Sassy started sticking her head out of the fence towards the bottom trying to nip at our feet and our legs, like she was playing with us. When she stuck her head through the fence, I started rubbing the end of her nose, and it really calmed her down. She practically laid her head on the fence like she was going to sleep. I read in a couple of your reply's that you shouldn't rub them on the face area, because it is rude, but can you explain why she 'calmed' down? She never offered to 'bite' me like she did my friend, but she was a little nippy. And when my husband got there, she tried to bite him to, she streched her neck out as far over the fence as she could, lowered her ears and tried to get him, but she only tried once.

I have been told some stories that she may have been mistreated by the people that have her, and she is 16 months old and they just got a harness on her for the first time a few days before we bought her. I have also been told that by doing that she is showing severe aggressive behavior and to get rid of her, she is not worth the time or training that will be involved. But I don't see that in her. I knew when she bit my friend like that something was not right in her world, I just couldn't figure out what. I don't want to get rid of her, we have 3 children that are in love with her, and like I said before, Sassy and I had a 'connection'.

To give you some backgroud on her, her dad is Speckled Tennessee Walker and her mom is Egyptian Arabian. She is 14.3 hands high at 16 months old. She just got a harness on her, and does not like anyone grabbing it, and when you put a lead on her she bucks, and nipped at my husband. I think that is because no one has worked with her, or really shown her any love. Also I should let you know that she is still in the pen with her mom, and her week and a half year old baby sister, and a little pony, which is very mean. She is tame in the sense that she will walk right up to us, even when we don't have a handful of grass. I am worried that seperating her from her mom will make this aggressive behavior worse, and with her not having anyone working with her all this time. So do you have any advice for us? How can we train her if she is trying to make us her snack!? Any and all advice and tips will be appreciated

Hi Rebecca,

First off, who do you want to raise a youngster...another immature youngster or a mature, responsible adult? You have set up a situation that is so inappropriate and so very common. A young horse should be brought up by an experienced trainer. A first time or novice horse owner should always get a mature, experienced, well trained horse. Doesn't that make the most sense? Whoever sold you this horse did you a dis-service and the horse as well.

Feeding the horse from your hands will make the horse mouthy and always mouthing you for a treat. Not good! As far as the horse biting your friend, her perfume maybe have had something to do with it. But perhaps it was because there was no treat. The bright colors had nothing to do with it and probably neither did the perfume. Your horse has become way too mouthy and nippy. Probably a result of too much hand feeding. She expects it and is always trying to get it. Obviously a big problem now. Your 'connection' is based on treats and does not have anything to do with you. Your horse needs training to get out of that habit and I don't think you are the one to do it. She is a baby and needs an experienced horse trainer not an unsure novice. This is not a good match for you. Sorry to give you the bad news. This is not the kind of horse to bring your kids around. They will get hurt, guaranteed. They will fall in love with most any horse that is around. You will as well, especially one that is mature, well trained and acclimated to humans appropriately. Unfortunately, this horse is already off on the wrong foot with humans. Please do not continue with this horse yourself. You absolutely need an good, gentle, appropriate horse trainer. That is not you, unfortunately. This horse is really still a baby and will go downhill very rapidly unless appropriate training is begun now. She should be weaned off her mare now. There is so much that should be done now that there is no way you are going to do right by the horse. You simply do not know how and good intentions are just not even close to what this baby needs. Not a good situation and one that will really get horrible for all involved very fast. Please, please do not try to train this horse on your own. You should either sell her to someone who knows what they are doing or hire a professional, gentle trainer. Do not take the trainers word for how they train their horses. Get references and check them out. Most all trainers say they have gentle techniques, but are full of BS. They abuse horses left and right. You are abusing your horse through your lack of understanding of the nature of horses and how to appropriately interact with them. You have and are making it harder for your horse to be with humans. It should be the other way around.

I know I am sounding harsh to you. But it is not even close to what you are putting your horse though by your lack of understanding and knowledge. You are setting the horse up to fail. The goal should be the horse first and not your feelings. Horses need to get along in the world of humans. This requires good, sound, right on training. If you sell the horse to someone other than a very experienced handler, you set the horse up to get worse and worse, Then it gets passed around and passed around again and again. Just like a child who had poor upbringing and gets passed from home to home because nobody can handle him and he gets into trouble. That is what has begun with your horse. I know I sound upset. I am. I hear this all the time and it is most upsetting to me. It is so unfair to the horse who is always innocent. We humans put out 'stuff' on to a horse like this thru inappropriate treatment and behavior around it and who suffers, the horse. This was not a good buy for you. Please be responsible and act appropriately and in behalf of the horse. Either sell the horse to an appropriate new owner (one with a lot of experience and who understands what they are getting into) or hire a professional trainer for 3-4 months to take the horse on (checking all references of the trainer and seeing the facility and everything else about the trainer). Those are the only solutions to your problem (or should I say your horse's problems) that will do justice for the horse. Please, do right by this horse from now on. You bought and it is your responsibility to do the 'right thing'. Sorry to be hard on you. You had to hear this.......

Sincerely, Franklin

Look for: