Reader’s Question: My gelding tries to put everything in his mouth. When I put on his halter or bridle, he usually grabs it with his mouth and doesn’t like to let go. How can I stop this bad habit?
Parellis’ Answer: This is the sign of a playful, curious horse that’s probably really bored! So everything becomes a game, even putting on the halter. The key to this horse is not punishment, but to play with him. Pretend to put the halter on his leg, rub him all over with the halter, play with his lips, give him treats, teach him to back away from you and to stand on things, even put the halter and the ropes into his mouth!
One last important thought: Rather than seeing this behavior as a bad habit, think of it as a talent your horse has. One of our students actually taught her biting, mouthy, playful and curious horse to do things like pick up items off the ground, such as her cap, brushes, saddle pad, et cetera, and to give them to her! Much nicer than slapping him! With this kind of approach you get a horse that wants to be with you, even more than with other horses. More about Pat and Linda >>