Safeguard Against Biting
Horse and Rider|Summer 2021
PROBLEM SOLVED
WARWICK SCHILLER, WITH MICHAELA JAYCOX

Biting can quickly become dangerous. Learn how to counteract this behavior and turn it into a relationship-building opportunity.

As you go to saddle your horse, he reaches around with his muzzle. Just when you think he’s curious and looking to see what you’re doing, you turn your body away and feel his teeth sink into your arm. You know your horse isn’t experiencing any pain, and it didn’t appear that your horse was being aggressive toward you, so why did he bite?

Here I’ll explain why your horse is nipping at you, and then show you how you can prevent biting and build a better relationship with your horse in the process.

Why Is He Mouthy?

Often when your horse is mouthy or tries to bite, he isn’t aiming to hurt you. He’s actually trying to engage with you. If you watch your horse in the pasture with his playmates, you’ll notice that he may interact with other horses by using his mouth. This is because when a horse is curious and wants to engage with something, he usually does so with his mouth and lips to investigate and as if to say, “Hey, pay attention to me.”

If you’re not paying attention and your horse is trying to engage with you, he may start to nibble at you to get your focus back on him. At this point, his biting isn’t mean or meant to be aggressive, but it can turn into a dangerous habit if you don’t address the problem immediately and try to fix this behavior.

1. Engage with Your Horse

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