Ask an Expert

Don't Bite Me

AQHA Professional Horsewoman and Certified Horsemanship Association master instructor Carla Wennberg helps a frustrated horse owner solve her horse's biting and poor stall manners.

Journal photo.

Question:

I have an 8-year-old gelding that is causing my husband and I considerable concern. All of a sudden he has starting pinning his ears back and biting, and I'm afraid that he'll cause serious damage to the unsuspecting person.

He recently bit my sister in-law on the back when she wasn't aware that he was behind her. She bent over to pick up something she dropped, and he didn't break the skin, but left a large bruise.

He shares a pasture with two mares and they tend to boss, bite and put him in his place. He's very submissive to both mares – I would say that he's the low man on the totem pole.

Any help or suggestions that you might have would be appreciated.

Sincerely,
Lana

Note: Any time your horse changes his behavior, consult your veterinarian to make sure his behavioral changes aren't due to a health issue. Find a trustworthy veterinarian.

Answer:

My suggestion is to really give him a good spanking: Put a halter on him in the stall, and really get after him.

Next, lead him out and then back in and take the halter off and pet him. If he turns away, backs up and/or his ears get nasty, catch him again, whip him, then take him out, walk around and take him back into stall, turn him around, take off halter and pet him.

Any horse that gets pin-eared and nasty, you have to get respect and you can’t do it with treats! You have to make him a little afraid of you and respect your presence.

I had a very nasty gelding – he was actually my youth world champion horse – and he was bad in the stall, because he thought it was his place! I had to whip him about every three months to remind him. I spent seven wonderful years with him, and he bit and kicked me only once, and after that I had to really make him respect me and not come after me.

They are our pets, but they are animals, too, and some will have issues.

Hope this helps.

-- AQHA Professional Horsewoman Carla Wennberg