The best way to handle a horse that gets mouthy is to never let the problem develop in the first place. Horses that get mouthy are often bored and looking for attention. The more you work with your horse, moving his feet forwards, backwards, left and right, the more he’ll use the thinking side of his brain and the more respectful he’ll get. A horse that respects your space doesn’t nip at your or lip your shirt; he stays out of your personal space unless you invite him in.
Without meaning to, people often encourage their horse to be mouthy, especially young horses. Because foals and weanlings are small, people let the young horses nuzzle them, play with their shirt, etc. Then, when the foals grow up to be a 1,200-pound pushy, disrespectful horses, they wonder where they went wrong.
Don’t wait until the horse gets mouthy to practice groundwork with him. Start earning his respect before a problem shows up. The busier you keep a horse’s feet and the more you keep him mentally stimulated, the less mouthy he will be. Horses that are mouthy are searching for interaction, so give them your attention by moving their feet.
For information on how to get other great training tips, visit www.DownunderHorsemanship.com.