Mouthy horses are quite common, especially young horses, and especially young geldings. How to handle or correct a mouthy horse is one of the most frequent questions that I am asked.
Biting or “mouthy” behavior can stem from a variety of causes. It can be natural playfulness in a youngster, a warning or display of agression, a sign of frustration, or a learned habit for stopping some activity that the horse does not like (such as tightening a girth).
This past week, as I was spending several days on the island of Molokai, Hawaii, I had the opportunity to work with a young horse named Jelly Bean who was a great example of mouthy behavior.
There are numerous different techniques for correcting mouthy horses, but I feel it mostly boils down to this:
- Avoid getting bit
- Make biting uncomfortable for the horse
- Make it clear to the horse that biting won’t get him anywhere – no release of pressure, no opportunities to snatch food or play the “tag, you’re it” game
- Stay calm and don’t take it personally
In this week’s video, you can watch how I actually use several of the above tips while working with Jelly Bean. Enjoy!
Leave a comment with any tips or strategies you use for handling mouthy, biting horses.
See you in the comments,
p.s. Isn’t the scenery beautiful! That is the blue pacific ocean in the background…