Thursday, January 10, 2013

Do miniature horses bite and kick?

In their natural setting, miniature horses will naturally bite and kick as a means of establishing dominance within their herd. But this is usually with other horses. A horse sees the world differently than we do. To them our fingers are claws, our eyes are set close like a predator, and we tend to go out to see them in groups (or a hunting pack). You must gain their confides and their respects. We make our horses think that we ourselves are just 'the special' herd members that look... odd.
They respect us as the leaders when we are out in the herd because we are much larger than them and we have the respect of the older mares. Once you accomplish this none of your mini horses will ever try to challenge you (but the babies, they challenge everything :) . Oh, there will be an accident or two. While fighting for your attention one horse may accidentally kick you while trying to kick another horse hogging your love. This isn't all that painful, it will sting and you will be sore a day or two, as it isn't the aim of the kicking horse to hurt anyone, just frighten their opponent. They will back up or swing their butt around and get so close it's more of a violent shove out of the way that could knock you down. 

There are two kinds of biting with horses. Once is to establish dominance; two is to 'you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours'. Very few of our horses try to bit because we have taught them that we are the herd leaders. Babies will test the waters, like human children, to see what they can and can't get away with.  But also horses will 'scratch' each other by scraping their teeth against one another. Keep this in mind! If you are rubbing a horse in the best places that just feel toooooo gooood, expect them to want to return the favor! You can easily teach them that if they turn to scratch you back you will stop every time. They do not want you to stop so they will get the point after a while. Babies on the other hand will walk up to you and initiate scratching right away so that you will use your long 'claws' that feel oh so good. When this happens you may have to push them away or flick them on the nose, or even a smack on the nose. They don't like to be shunned or punished. And if you are dealing with a confident baby, a few smacks means nothing painful. Nothing hard but cup your hand to get more sound than anything. Its startling, much like a horse squealing and kick to show anger, they see that they did something wrong and will wait to let you cool off before trying again. 

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