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Hello! 100 lessons completed

How do I attend to the issue of my horse trying to nip me while I am fastening his girth in a Monty Roberts' way? I start with the girth very loose and do not feed him from my hand yet he will reach around and try to nip me while fastening the girth. Thanks

Rudi - Pratteln, Switzerland
Hello! 100 lessons completed 150 lessons completed 200 lessons completed 250 lessons completed 300 lessons completed 350 lessons completed 400 lessons completed 450 lessons completed 500 lessons completed 550 lessons completed 600 lessons completed

I have seen a similar reaction in a young horse. I think it is a form of displacement. The horse knows that he has to tolerate the saddle he does not like, instead nips. The behaviour is much more difficult to handle than another type of reaction. Maybe you should go back a step and put only a saddle pad first. In the horse I have working with the problem disappeared gradually, mixing the training with other elements to distract the horse.

vicci - UK (North Wales)
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I recently had a horse that did exactly this. I was girthing up the horse gently but he clearly had memories of inconsiderate tacking up (it looked as if he'd also been 'toed' while getting on etc etc.). One of the techniques I used was one I picked up from watching one of Montys riding lessons using distraction. I did the following:

I began fastening the girth with my left hand and my body slightly turned towards his head (so I can see what his head and teeth are about to do!) and my right hand over his back across the saddle. As the girth begins to tighten, if his head starts to come round I lightly tap the saddle on the other side with my right hand. He then turns his head to look where the sound is coming from! As soon as his head returned to the front I praised him so that he understood the correct position for him to be in. The issue was resolved with this horse in 30 minutes.

It is hard to describe the method in detail as 'feel and timing' are absolutely crucial, but I hope it helps. Good luck!

lucy.simpson instructor

i totally agree with viccihh and rudi, you can totally use the horses distractability to your advantage in this situation. I over the years have came accross another tool over the years to prevent a horse from nipping in any situation, either girthing or to re-educate the hand feeder, which is to carry a jif lemon (thats what they are caled in britain, basically it is a false lemon filled with lemon juice) when ever the horse attempts to bite or nip then you squirt lemon juice in his mouth. the horse will find this positive punishment a very unpleasant experience and should eventually stop this behavior.
i hope this helps! good luck! x

Hello! 100 lessons completed

Gratitude to all of you! I feel some new ideas emerging.