My horse, unfortunately seems to bare the brunt of our geldings rug attacks. The gelding himself is turned out with two mares. My own, a 3 year old Appaloosa and an Anglo-Arab mare.

Prior to getting my horse he used to rip the Anglo's. Although not quite so incessantly. It roughly happened once a month or every couple of weeks. However, with my mare being introduced six months ago her rug has been ripped to shreds. MULTIPLE times.

So far in the six months of "owning" my mare I have had to purchase six rugs. All of which have been repaired numerous times before eventually having to be thrown for being too bad. (by too bad I mean literally in half.)

Up until now I haven't minded so much. Why? because it hasn't really been a health concern for my mare. They've been ripped but tended to hold themselves well enough so that she was unable to stand on or get caught up in it by the time I found her. Today was a different story. She's a wonderful mare and didn't move once it had caught around her leg but it's simply something I do not wish to have a repeat of.

I've just purcased NAF Off's no bite spray and a new 1200d rug to try and hold up against him. I've used other sprays and even mustard before but this makes little to no difference as he just pinches with his teeth. Horrifically, once it's ripped he tends to leave her alone it's almost as though he enjoys ripping them. I have turned her out without a rug in the evenings recently and he doesn't bite her when there's no rug to bite.

I'm almost at my ends wit here with him as I've spent well over £300 already.

I would like to know if there are any other methods I can use?

  • you wrote another question about this gelding - I think I need to revisit the answer. He sounds like he needs to be reeducated. This is untenable – user6796 Jun 11 at 9:54

This is a problem and you are patient.

Separate them

Firstly - if there is any way you can avoid paddocking them together, that is the best way forward. As this gelding needs to be sorted out and he's not your horse, it makes it difficult.

If they are paddocked in adjacent paddocks, I'd put up electric stand offs to prevent them from getting at each other over the fence.

You have tried everything that is reasonable and the agistment owner should understand that the horse needs to be kept away from your horse. It's not even a matter of having the horse's owner pay for damaged rugs, as you say, it becomes a matter of safety.

Remove the rug

Is there any way you can not rug your horse? I'm not sure what the temperatures are like there and the conditions. I avoid rugging my horses unless absolutely necessary. My experience with rugs is that they can cause more problems than good too often.

I have one horse who is so rough on rugs, they are destroyed very quickly and I have found the last one hanging around her neck. I fear she would hang herself and have not put a rug on her since.

If you cannot separate them, I would advise not using a rug. I'm concerned he will still bite her, but the biting injuries are not life threatening, as a rug accident can cause strangulation or a broken leg and result in her being put down. Especially if he hunts her while she is hobbled by the rug.

Retraining the gelding

If he goes to attack your horse and bite then he may need some training and herd management to put him in his place, however this is limited, as you are not always there. Some horses are not well socialised as youngsters (with other horses) and can be over the top when asserting dominance over other horses. This sounds like perhaps this gelding wasn't kept with older more dominant horses in his formative years. It may be worthwhile investigating this.

A stronger and calm herd leader

The other solution is to get a very strong and calm herd leader into the paddock, another gelding, who is higher than this gelding. He will take your filly under his wing and this biting gelding will stay away from her.

It sounds like this horse just doesn't know how to behave well in a herd. He probably got away with a lot as a young horse and needs some extensive work to pull him into line. As I said, it makes it hard when he's not your horse. Definitely you can practice hunting him away whenever you're around him, but be mindful not to be kicked, so use a lunge rope or lead rope to give yourself distance.

Let me know how you get on.

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Please keep in mind that I have absolutely no hand-on experience with owning horses.

One well-established product against nibbling and licking is bitter apple spray, which is litterally extremely bitter but otherwise harmless. Since you already tried mustard, I doubt it would make a difference, though.

The next idea comes from milk cows. Some cows like to suckle the milk from their neighbors' udder, which is unacceptable for commercial farmers because - according to EU laws - it's forbidden to sell milk from an udder that any cow drank from. I guess it's for reasons of sanitation or infection, but I don't know.

In that case farmers put a plastic nose ring on the cow that's trying to drink from others. The official term is "Calf-weaning ring" (though calves in the EU only drink milk already milked from the mother, never directly from the udder) and they are plastic rings that do not require piercing the nose. The plastic spikes are uncomfortable for the other cow and promt her to reject the attempt to suckle.

calf-weaning ring

Since the physiology of horses differs from cows, I don't know how well these fit on them, but similar rings are also available for other animals like sheep and goat.

Which brings me to my final, unconventional idea: plastic grass doormat (the hard variety with spikes). I think they have enough structural integrity that the horse should have a hard time ripping tiny pieces off it and swallowing them. My hope is that if you put such a mat over the rug, the spikes would be uncomfortable for the other horse when it starts ripping again.

plastic grass doormat

Similar products are "swedish accupressure spike mats" and "cat scat spike mats" (but those seem to be flimsy)

swedish spike mat

cat scat spike mat

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    I really do not think this is good advice. It's more likely to cause harm to an animal than solve any issues. – user6796 Jun 11 at 9:39

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