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BITING AND EAR PINNING - Q/A Natural Horsemanship training Tips

© by Gordon Adair / Trainer

I have a 6 year old quarter horse mare who is driving me crazy. I am a novice rider having fun learning about horses. But my horse has my family a little worried about her behavior. She has suddenly started trying to bite certain people and is always pinning her ears back.

Please give me some pointers on trying to calm her. It appears she is jealous of the other horses. Most of her bad behavior is when people approach her from the ground. She is still "green broke" and I am not sure how to handle the situation.

Biting and ear pinning are a form of communication which horses use to get a point across. Horses will use biting as a defense to protect themselves when they are attacked. Horses also use biting while playing and as a sign of friendship. To better understand how a horse uses biting in the horse world watch a group of horses in a pasture interact together.

There is a reason why your horse is biting you. Your horse may be trying to say she does not like the way certain people are handling her, she wants to be left alone, or she feels they are lower on the herd ranking than herself and demands submission. Whatever the case calming her is not the issue, communicating to her that you are her "teacher and leader" and would like her to stop! As a standard rule, pressure is used as a correction and the release of pressure is used as a reward. This is what your horse is doing with ear pinning and biting. You can apply pressure with a sharp voice or a quick movement towards your horse until she moves away. When she moves away stop all movement and require her to return to you when her ears are forward and happy.

Most people will tell you to hit your horse whenever she bites, this will only cause head shying or it may just encourage the game of, "Try and hit me". You will lose at this game, horses are just to fast for most people. When a horse even thinks about trying to bit me, I calmly reach out and grab the horse's lip or nostril and twist it as if I was biting her. Once I think the horse is repenting I slowly release her nose. Do not release the pressure if your horse is trying to pull away, wait until she has given up and is willing to apologies for insulting you. This technique should be done with a halter or bridle on. This will give you something to hold on to until you win. Always start out with a small amount of pressure and then increase the pressure so you will not exceed your training ability.

Training programs and rates / Lesson outline / Ground training / Training tools / Gordon's articles

Hoof Studies / Club foot and uneven heels / Laminitis and founder defined / Laminitis / founder treatment

Homepage / G.A. Equine Center / About Gordon Adair / Interview

Gordon Adair is a professional natural horse trainer and riding instructor with over thirty-seven years of experience. Gordon's specialty is instructing owners with their horses, the philosophy of teaching horsemanship and communication. The ability to teach and communicate can then be used with the owners own discipline and personality. Ocala, Florida for more information

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