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8 Month Old Filly that Nips

I have an 8 month old filly that likes to nip at me when I am cleaning/picking her hooves. Any suggestions on getting her to stop? This is usually the only time she does it. Also she has a habit of pushing against the stall door or walls when she is left in there alone. Any suggestions on that?

Thanks, Kathy

Hi Kathy,

Thank you for your question. Perhaps I can offer some helpful suggestions:

Is the filly weaned? I would be interested to know. If she is halter broke (is she?) halter her before you go to groom her and pick her feet. If she looks to nip at you snake the lead-rope under her chin and say "NO!" Her head will come up immediately and she will look around wondering what happened. She will stop whatever she is doing at that moment. Do not shake the rope too hard or 'big' as you do not want to scare her, only get her attention. If she lunges away from you when you shake the rope, it was probably too much and you need to bring your energy down a bit. If she doesn't respond at all you need to amp it up a bit. Some of what I am talking about here is something called 'feel'. What is too much, too little or just right. It is all a matter of 'feel'. Some folks get the concept easily, others, who are more into control and dominance, have a harder time with 'feel' as it is unsettling for them because they have to release control for the magic to happen. We can't really make things happen with horses. But what we can do is to support the horse in being the best horse it can. We do this by the relationship we can develop with them through patience, kindness, tolerance and respect.

As far as pushing against the stall door, perhaps she is bored or impatient for her food. Much more aberrant behavior than that has been seen in stalled horses, no matter what the age. You can carry a wand (4 ft stock whip will do) with you when you are around the horse. Tap the wand against the door and she will move right off of it I would imagine. Anyway, you can also activate the wand (move it a bit while holding it in the air) so the horse can see it. That will also get the animal's attention. Again, please be careful not to scare this baby. Only use the wand to get her attention. The more you can turn this baby out, the better for all.

Please let me know how it all goes. I am very interested. I am traveling a lot this summer and fall to teach and train horses. Where are you located? Perhaps there may be a way to hook up with you. I hope I have been able to help. Thank you for the opportunity to offer some assistance.

Aloha, Franklin

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