June 17, 2020 – Ask Monty Newsletter

Question: Does your horse bite you?

I have a horse who is a retired lesson horse who I adopted from my trainer. He turns 26 this month, I started the Dually Halter with him and my question is, will I be able to change some behaviors he has done like biting me when I mount him since he has been allowed to do this his whole life?

Monty’s Answer:

While this sort of question comes through to me quite often, it must indicate that the world of ‘equine understanding’ must process the answer and adopt some of the practices, but not all. I must not be doing a very good job of getting my points across.

At 26, the behavioral patterns of any horse are well established. The behavior of biting humans is trained into the horse by homo sapiens. In the case of a retired lesson horse, just imagine the number of times that a child has brought a treat to give his favorite animal. Every book I’ve written and every lesson I’ve given has informed students that feeding from the hand causes biting.

Attempting to change the behavior of this 26 year old is virtually impossible and frankly not very fair. You must accept the fact that you will have to protect yourself and attempt to learn ways to avoid serious injuries to yourself or others while choosing to escort this horse through his final years.

I could go through the chapters I’ve written on why horses bite, but let me ask you to read that chapter in my textbook, From My Hands to Yours, and attempt to be fair with a horse that has given his life to humans learning to ride.


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