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Putting a Stop to a Horse’s Bad Habits

Horses are wonderful and beautiful animals, but horses can have some very annoying and even dangerous bad habits. Here are a few tips to help stop those bad habits.


This is when the horse puts his top front teeth on something, pulls back, and sucks in air. If not controlled and stopped it can become dangerous for the horse. The horse usually does this out of boredom. So the first thing to try is to put something in his stall for him to play with. The best thing is to take some kind of large ball on a string and hanging it from the top of the stall. This way the horse can bat it around and keep his attention off cribbing.

If that does not work soak all of the wood in hot sauce or hot cinnamon. This may sound cruel to some people, but actually is one of the most humane ways to try to treat this bad habit. This is because the last resort is called a cribbing collar. This is a collar that is put around the horse’s neck, and when he tries to suck air in when cribbing it will not let him.


If your horse has a bad habit of biting or nipping at you when you are working with him, here are a few suggestions.

  • First is to simply smack, and in no way am I talking about an abusive hit but a mild smack, the horse on the nose. Keep doing this as long as he keeps biting.
  • Another thing is to take a pin or needle in your hand and when he tries to bite you, let him stick his nose on the pin. Do not jab the horse or you yourself stick him with the pin, just let him get a feel of it himself.

Again, this is not abusive if it is done the right way. Some horses are very aware of voice commands and your tone of voice (somewhat like in dogs). So just tell him “no” in a very demanding and affirmative tone when he tries to take a nip at you.

What to Do When Your Child Asks for a Horse


This is sometimes a very difficult habit to break the horse from. However, if done correctly you should be able to put an end to it. The first thing you want to do is take a stick of some kind, put a soft rag on it, and rub the horse’s hind legs with it. Keep doing it no matter how much the horse kicks. Just make sure there is no one or no other animal around when doing this. Do not stop until the horse seems to be giving in. Do it every day for as long as it takes. If the kicking is really bad, you may have to even hobble the legs when doctoring or working with the horse.

Some people hobble the back legs together, but I find that seems a little cruel. Instead, lift and bend one of the front legs, loop a belt (there are belts made specifically for this) around the leg so that it stays up, and then leave it like that until you have completed what ever you need to do with the horse.

Walking off before you are completely mounted

This one is really not that hard to break. Start by letting someone hold the horse while you are mounting. If there is no one to hold him, keep him tied (but of course, leave it to where you can get the rope loose) while mounting. If you have no way of leaving him tied and no one to hold him, take the reigns tightly in your hands and pull back slightly on them (just like you were stopping him while riding). Every time he starts to move give a slight jerk to the reigns and tell him “no”, “whoa”, or “stop” in a very affirmative and demanding voice.

If this fails, take the left reign and pull it slightly tighter than the right so that the horse’s head is pulled toward you. Again if the horse starts to move, instead of letting him go forward pull him in a circle.

These are certainly not the entire list of bad habits a horse can have, but I sure hope these tips will help you if your horse has any of these.


  • Having horses with bad habits for over 20 years

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