like you say, it's a respect issue. also he's very busy and smart. and a comedian. his mouth is moving all the time! all the time. if he's not trying to bite, his lips are wiggling or he's trying to lick. (maybe i should get him a pacifier)
he doesn't do it meanly or out of discomfort. he's just likes to grab at me and things and be the centre of attention. and he's being rude. for example, if i'm talking to someone, he pesters me to death, but, if he gets ahold of the hem of my jacket he'll just sit and chew on it and occassionally give it a tug (but, horse size tugs, of course, can take you off your feet if you're not paying attention)
i tried lots of things like having something sharp in my fist and blocking his nose when he goes for part of me, so, he hurts himself and doesn't realize i had anything to do with it. that didn't work.
then, if i had enough and smacked him (he knows he's been bad and he's not remotely head shy), then the game began. it just made him try and bite more. horses play pretty rough with each other, so, you can't win this one.
now, i learned to just make him stay out of my space (my personal bubble). he had to stay out of my space totally for at least a month. he couldn't get close enough to reach for me and if he moved in, he was asked to move back out. this improved him drastically. he's pretty good now, when he comes up to me, he stops outside of my invisible circle everytime and doesn't come in til i invite him.
still, he's very mouthy, like a snapping turtle. he snaps at you when you're brushing him or trying to pick his feet up or bridle him or blanket him. he tries to pull the blanket off while you're doing it up. if he can't get hold of me, he'll grab lead ropes, brushes, whatever he can get in his mouth and start swinging them around. just sucking anything close by into his mouth. i do cross tie him, but, he keeps up the antics.
he's the best horse ever to bridle, lowers his head and opens his mouth right up, but, you do have to keep the throatlatch, reins, noseband, every piece away from his mouth cuz he'll try and get everything in his mouth along with the bit. he grabs hold of his lead rope or the reins when you're leading him.
i'm used to it now, but, you just have to be careful because on the odd occassion he'll get a piece of you in his mouth and of course it hurts. i've had a few hickies in the past couple years.
i think with continued work, he'll mellow more, but, i'm not sure if he'll ever stop this behaviour totally. it's a pretty strong habit.
Gailforce -- Another old lady rediscovering her inner cowgirl.