My coming 3 year old gelding is VERY mouthy. He very, very rarely tries to nip me and I know how to handle that. But he just wants to put everything in his mouth. He will stand at the gate when I turn him out and just chew on the big chain that holds it shut for ages. He loves to chew on leads, halters, chains, cross ties, everything. The cross ties I am finding particularly annoying. I don't like to smack him too much because I find I don't do it hard enough and he just doesn't care. I could smack him harder if I really focused on it, maybe, but I'm wondering if you have other solutions. Perhaps I should carry a dressage whip or crop? I don't want him to learn to hate standing in the cross ties by constantly correcting and saying "no" but I am sick of this behaviour. I tried using a stud chain under his chin so I could correct him when he tries to chew, but he ended up chewing on the chain and thought that that was just lovely.
I know he finds it very difficult to focus because he's so young, and his teeth are coming in so there's that issue too. He has only been handled for about 8 months so it's still fairly new to him, but he always used to stand quietly in the cross ties just watching things. Now he is a lot more wiggly with his head, always moving it around looking for something to put in his mouth. Should I not make a huge deal out of it and just hope it's a phase? I would love for him to learn to keep his head still because he has uveitis and it makes it difficult for the vet to get a good look in his eyes when he's moving his head. Sometimes he's fine but other times it's like he has equine ADHD. The vet brushes it off as his age but I would really like to correct it.
The good thing about his mouthiness is that he adores his bridle and the bit