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Why Do Horses Nibble on Clothes? (And What to Do About it)

Why Do Horses Nibble on Clothes? (And What to Do About it)

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The purpose of this blog is to share general information and is written to the author's best knowledge. It is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. For health concerns, please seek proper veterinary care. In addition, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Raising horses can be a very satisfying experience, but if you are new to taking care of horses, then there are likely things that you don’t know. For example, you might be wondering why in the world horses seem to like nibbling on people’s clothing.

This can actually be kind of annoying to some people, but others find it to be somewhat cute. However, it might not be a good idea to encourage your horse to nibble on your clothes.

Read on to learn about why horses might nibble on clothes. You’ll also learn a lot about why horses bite because these two behaviors are closely related.

Horses Nibble on Clothes for a Few Reasons

There are a few reasons why horses will nibble on clothes. Sometimes horses will do things such as this just because they’re curious and they’re interested in the people who are taking care of them.

Horses will also nibble on clothes affectionately sometimes because it’s similar to something that they would do to other horses. You might know that horses will groom each other, and it isn’t unheard of for horses that bond with humans to want to do this to them as well.

However, it isn’t really appropriate behavior for horses, and you shouldn’t encourage your horse to nibble on your clothes. You see, this could lead to problems down the line and it might also make it more likely that your horse will bite you.

Horses will bite people or things for various reasons, and this is a reason why you don’t want to let your horse get used to interacting with you that way. Nibbling on your clothes might seem innocent at first, but it can lead to your horse actually biting you and that would be painful.

In many ways, the reasons why horses will nibble on clothes aren’t important. What really matters is that you understand that this probably isn’t a good thing to encourage in the long run.

Establishing a relationship where you’re in charge is important when you’re caring for horses. Horses might not mean to be intimidating or mean when they do certain things, but this doesn’t mean that you should allow horses to nibble.

Most horse enthusiasts recommend nipping this behavior in the bud quickly while horses are still young. If horses try to groom you or nibble on your clothes, then you should forcefully push the horse’s head away to reprimand it.

Horses are smart enough creatures to understand that you’re rebuffing their behavior. Over time, you should have far fewer problems with your horses trying to do this.

Why Would Horses Try to Bite You?

Horses will try to bite you when they are going through certain issues. There are actually a number of reasons why a horse might start biting, and it’s going to be a good idea to know how to look out for these situations.

Keep reading to learn a bit more about horses and why they might bite people. You’ll feel more informed and prepared to deal with this situation.

Aggressive Nature

Some horses will have more of an aggressive nature than others. These horses are going to be far more likely to bite their owners or handlers than others.

It’s also possible that a horse will become more aggressive due to certain circumstances. For instance, a horse that has a lot of pent-up energy might choose to bite due to being mad about not getting enough exercise or something such as that.

Stallions are going to be way more likely to bite than mares. This is one of the reasons why it’s recommended that new horse owners stay away from stallions due to how much more difficult they are to care for.

Sadly, stallions have the potential to become very aggressive and dangerous biters if you aren’t careful. It’s definitely unwise to allow a horse such as this to nibble on your clothes since that will get it used to the idea of biting at you.

Often, you can solve the aggression issue by just caring for the horse properly and knowing how to discipline the horse when it does inappropriate things. This does take experience, though, and not everyone is going to have an easy time handling an aggressive horse.

Saddle Problems

Something as simple as a saddle problem could be causing your horse to try to bite you. If a saddle doesn’t fit on a horse properly, then it can cause quite a bit of discomfort.

This is going to lead to the horse feeling annoyed, and it might choose to lash out by biting at you. Some horses hate being saddled and will bite at you because they know that the saddle is going to hurt.

The girth might also be causing your horse discomfort by being too tight. If you notice that your horse is biting at you, then it might be worthwhile to check the fit of the saddle and how tight the girth is.

Making some changes might help the horse to be more comfortable while you’re riding it. This could lead to having an easier time saddling the horse and not having to deal with biting so much.

Illness or Discomfort

Illness and discomfort can cause horses to bite people, too. If your horse gets sick, then it might start behaving strangely and this could make it want to bite you when you do certain things.

It isn’t unusual at all for animals to bite when they’re in pain. That’s why you should think twice before punishing your horse for biting, since there’s a possibility that something is amiss.

You should ensure that your horse is checked out by a qualified veterinarian every so often. Horses should receive regular physical examinations, and you shouldn’t hesitate to reach out if you see any signs that your horse might be sick.

If your horse is injured or if it has an infection, then a veterinarian might be able to help. You can try to turn things around so that you can get your horse back to feeling normal again.

Solving issues with illness, infection, or general discomfort should help to alleviate biting concerns. It doesn’t mean that your horse will never bite, but it should make it less of an issue.

Train Your Horses Not to Bite

There are ways that you can train your horses not to bite. The most effective training methods involve starting when horses are young and getting them used to treating you with respect.

Try to get your horse to learn that it should keep a respectful distance from you. Never allow horses to nibble on your clothes or initiate contact.

Being consistent with the way that you’re handling horses will be of paramount importance. If you have a horse that already has a biting problem, then clicker training might be able to help.

Clicker training can keep horses occupied by making them focus on the object. Make sure that your horse has enough hay to chew during the day as well since some horses might bite just because they like to chew.

With a little diligence, it shouldn’t be hard to turn things around. Horses are great animals to care for, but you do need to approach things properly to avoid potential problems.

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