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Franklin Levinson's

Horse Help Center

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Non-Agressive nipping

Dear Franklin,

I have been reading your site and loving it. My question pertains to nipping, but not in an aggressive manor. I have become very attached to a TWH that belongs to a stable I take English riding lessons at. I spend more time with her than anyone else does, as she is not used for lessons and only goes trail riding once or twice a year. Other than being let out to pasture a few hours a day she is in her stall. When she sees me coming she whinnies. I let her come into my territory as you suggest and she sure does. I bathe her, groom her, graze her. She puts her head on my head, she shares air with me, she is a total love. The thing I don't get is that during this time she will nip me, with just the tip of her teeth, very small but it still pinches. I have started to push head away as you suggest and say "no bite." She is smart enough that now all I have to say is "no bite" and she understands. There are NO treats by hand, only in her dish. Is this playing, affection, or is she just tired of having me there when she does this?

Thanks so Much,

Hi Karen,

So sorry for the delay in responding. My travel and work schedule have caused me to get behind in responses to the Help Center emails. Perhaps I can offer a few suggestions concerning your email now. Most horses are mouthy with each other in numerous ways. They will scratch each other with their teeth, provide nips that are like scratching (as you are experiencing) and other 'social' behaviors utilizing the mouth. So, in short I think what this horse is showing you is actually affection of a sorts and expressions of trust. You seem to be handling it fine. Well done......

Sincerely, Franklin

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