Wednesday February 20, 2019

Greetings!
Question 

Hello Monty, 

I have a gelding standard bred and I have had him for a few months more than two years. He has behaved very well and I got a saddle for my birthday recently and have ridden him a fair bit. But lately he has been trying to bite me but not while I am riding him, when I'm brushing him that's when he usually tries to bite me. 

It's not like he tries to bite me really quick, he goes slowly and puts his lips up and half bites with his lips not straight away with his teeth. I was just wondering if you would have any good tips about how to stop this without violence.

Thanks!
Ashley Lacey


Answer 

Dear Ashley,

Bad behavior is almost always the fault of a human and not the fault of the horse. Since you are writing to me as a student, I will assume you have not fed this horse from your hands but do you know if this is also the case of others who have handled him? Feeding a horse from the hand is one of the most common mistakes made by horse owners in the world today. Many people hold the mistaken assumption that feeding treats will cause your horse to want to be with you and encourage affection – in fact, it causes your horse to want to be with your treat, not you, and if you are in the way they will nip or bite you.  

If you wish to give your horse carrots or apples that is fine, but put them on the ground or in the feed bin rather than offering them with your hand. A horse is a prey animal, and as such, food is not seen as a ‘trophy’ in the same way as a predator, such as a dog, does. I have worked with hundreds, possibly thousands, of horses that bite, and I have found a very simple and effective solution. When the horse reaches to bite you, you need to tap him lightly on the shin of his leg with your foot. I am not, repeat, NOT, encouraging you to strike a horse to cause pain.

What I am suggesting you do is to cause the horse to associate the thought of biting with being distracted by a bump on another part of his body, namely his front leg. This is a form of behavior habituation, and within 6 to 8 repetitions you will see that your horse moves to nip and then looks down at his leg. This training will make the behavior extinct within a short period of time.

Some horses will begin to show wariness at your feet being close to its legs if you use this consequence to biting very often. To offset the chance of this happening, you can habituate your horse to having your foot near his leg by rubbing your boot in that area. By doing this, the horse will learn that bumping is exclusively associated with his biting.

There is a particularly good lesson on my online university where I utilize the Dually Halter in a session to focus the horse on my requests to move and do the ‘Dually Dance’ which is also an effective distraction and a leadership lesson. Go to  https://montyrobertsuniversity.com/training/2031189068  

Please let me know how you and your gelding progress. 

Sincerely,
MONTY'S EQUUS ONLINE UNIVERSITY
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ONLINE REVIEW: MONTY'S DUALLY HALTER

I bought a Dually Halter for my mare...and it's changed so much for us. She no longer balks when being led, and is much more agreeable to trailer loading training...so thankful I have this halter and Monty's University to learn and train my horse correctly and in relaxation. 

Lisa G., Verified Buyer

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Test yourself each week as I challenge you to answer the question below. I mean this. Sit down and write an answer. Don't wait for my answer next week. If you have been reading my Weekly Questions and Answers for the last six months, you should be in a position to do this. Send your answer to my team at:  askmonty@montyroberts.com  
 
Why should you bother? Because it will help you focus. There is probably a comparable question in your life that needs answering... or will be. If you can gain insight into how to go about answering a practical question that is loosely related to your problem, this exercise will help you answer your nagging question. Then read my answer. I want all of my students to learn to be better trainers than me.That's good for you and good for horses! 
 
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NEXT WEEK'S QUESTION

Hi Monty,

My horse is terrified of the sound Velcro makes, it's a nightmare with Rugs, fly masks etc because a lot of them have Velcro on. Any advice welcome, as she throws herself backwards. She is a Welsh section D. She's had a lot of homes until I had her because of behavior problems. She wouldn't be ridden , she threw everyone off, turned her bum on you in stable, wouldn't be caught. She is in her forever home with me and I've taken her back to basics and started with getting her to trust me, grooming and just being relaxed when touched etc. I joined Monty online university and we have come on leaps and bounds , she's enjoying being ridden, were still in early stages and she's doing great. Just Velcro and carrier bags are our nemesis.

Lisa Wragg
With over 150 years of experience between them, these three women love training horses and teaching people to achieve their dreams. Barbra Schulte is in the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame, the National Cutting Horse Association Members' Hall of Fame and was awarded the National Female Equestrian of the Year Award by the AQHA. Sandy Collier is in the Cowgirl Hall of Fame and the NRCHA's Hall of Fame. June Tabor has won world Championships and State titles in Halter, Western Pleasure, Trail, Hunter Under Saddle and Western Riding and now trains at Flag Is Up Farms in Solvang, California.