A standard criticism from horse house owners is that their horse is mouthy when haltered. The horse mouths or nips them, or the halter or leadrope, once they attempt to put the halter on or take away it.
Horses behave this fashion for a number of causes. For instance, the horse might wish to have interaction socially with the human, however as a result of they haven’t been taught acceptable methods to take action they resort to behaviours they could use with one other horse. One other frequent motive for mouthy behaviour is anxiousness. Identical to with folks, a horse who’s anxious might fidget and interact in behaviours that will delay the beginning of an occasion they really feel is disagreeable. For the horse displaying such anxiousness when haltered, they might have discovered that what comes after haltering – like coaching – is worrying or scary.
Widespread recommendation for this situation is to make use of punishment: smack the horse, again them up, transfer their ft, and so forth. There are a number of issues with utilizing punishment to try to resolve this situation:
1. Punishment does not deal with why the horse is behaving this fashion within the first place
2. Punishment can solely say ‘No’, to the undesirable behaviour, and once we use punishment we aren’t educating the horse what it ought to do as an alternative.
3. To be efficient, punishment must occur at each single prevalence of the undesirable behaviour. It additionally must be disagreeable sufficient to trigger the horse to by no means wish to do the behaviour once more. This normally means hurting or scary the horse sufficiently, in order that they discover this consequence for performing the behaviour simply not value it.
4. Because of drawback #3, utilizing punishment may cause the horse to worry the coach or something related to the coaching occasion. This will harm the belief between horse and human.
5. Routine use of punishment throughout coaching decreases the horse’s need to be taught.
6. Punishment can worsen the prevailing drawback, and create new undesirable behaviours.
When I’m working behaviour instances, I typically want to offer folks ‘triage’ recommendation, to assist them lower the frequency or depth of undesirable behaviours within the brief time period, earlier than a longer-term retraining plan can start. Triage recommendation retains the horse and human secure, and prevents the horse from getting extra ‘practiced’ on the undesirable behaviour. Moreover, in instances the place feelings equivalent to worry are on the coronary heart of the behaviour drawback, it permits the horse to have a mini-vacation from feeling anxious or fearful earlier than retraining begins. This little break from stress primes the horse to be higher capable of be taught as soon as we do start the retraining course of.
The recommendation given within the above clip could also be useful in case your horse is displaying mouthy behaviour when haltered. For some horses, it could even be all you want to do to eternally resolve the problem. If nevertheless, your horse exhibits different indicators of worry, anxiousness or stress of their every day life, please search the assistance of a professional horse behaviour marketing consultant. They may help you get the basis of your horse’s drawback, and resolve it with out scaring or hurting your horse within the course of.