Horses that bite can be very dangerous. Most horses do not bite just for fun, in fact, 1 in 1,000,000 horses might have a mean bone, but the vast majority sure do not. When an otherwise sweet horse starts biting, it’s time to pay attention!
More than likely, your horse has been trying to get your attention in more subtle ways such as a slight increase in crabbiness, or little twitches of his tail. You didn’t notice, and now he is saying, “Alright, I’ve had enough!” The most common reason for a horse to start biting humans is pain. He has told you before that he hurts, you didn’t listen (or you just didn’t notice) and now he really hurts and is trying to relieve the pain any way he can. Tying the horse tighter will not help – he’ll just try something else to get your attention, such as kicking, bucking, rearing, anything to get rid of the pain. If he succeeds in stopping you from doing whatever is causing him discomfort, that will be highly rewarding. It is better to stop this behaviour at the biting stage before it progresses to worse aggressive behaviour.
To find out more about biting horses and what to do about them, check out the Horses with Vices page.