Re: Hitting a horse in the face
What you are experiencing is the terrible twos. Just like in children, horses when they get to this age start to push the boundaries a little. Just as the horses in the field will let him know when he's out of line, then so must you, even if you're in the field with him and trying to catch him he must be shown that nipping is not allowed under any circumstance otherwise you will end up with a real problem. Keep doing as you are doing and blocking him when he's trying to nip you, use your voice and tell l him firmly NO, when he stops it then reward him with a pat. If he becomes dangerous then you may need to be a bit more forceful with him and slap him on the shoulder (slap not leather him!) as you could end up with a nasty injury, or someone else could who goes into the field to get one of the other horses. He just needs firm handling and reassurance with immovable boundaries. My filly went through all this too, she'll be 3 in June and fortunately is much better now but she knows where the boundaries are.
Thanks for the advice Rhapsody. He is a lot better behaved than he was when i first got him. He had been badly neglected/handled and was incredibly head shy through being hit in the face. If i raise my voice at him he really doesnt take it well and will jerk his head out of the way and sometimes go to rear, I think this is related to the bad handling previusly when he was most definetley hit and shouted at at the same time. If i tell him firmly but calmly i get a better response, usually i only have to look at him and say no and he backs off but every now and then he tests the boundries. I was very firm with him the other day and he has been an angel the last two days.
He is still very wary of strangers and stays away from everyone else who goes in field, he will also run away to the back of the stable if a strange person goes in. Currently im not worried about him hurting anyone who goes in the field as he keeps his distance.
It has taken me ages to gain his trust which i have now. I can touch all his head ears etc without problem.
I have been using a dullay headcollar on him for a while to develop his ground manners and he now responds well to both visual and voice commands, goign back etc, standing etc without reinforcement from the dually.
I'm hoping i can over his nipping the same way with a firm consistent approach but all advice is greatly appreciated as this is my first time with a youngster and a characterful one with issues at that.