I Don't know what to do with her!
 
 

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I Don't know what to do with her!

This is a discussion on I Don't know what to do with her! within the Horse Grooming forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category
  • How to make horse stand for grooming, ect
  • My horse is obessed with food

 
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    03-21-2010, 09:34 PM
  #1
Foal
I Don't know what to do with her!

First I will give you some background information. The first thing that you need to know is that my horse is obsessed with food :) She was at a barn in a lesson program and she went out in an overcrowded field where they had to fight for their food. At one point they were even fed their grain under the fence, with all the horses fighting for their bit. They changed that, thankfully, and now I bought her and have her at a different barn.

There is a problem that I have with her now that is, I think, from that situation she used to be in. She is so obsessed with food that when I have her on the cross ties and I am grooming her she will just shake her head up and down. She has been doing this for a long time and I used to hit her when she did it but I would never hit her anymore. (and not to hurt her just to shock her into stopping, I would never ever hurt her or hit her hard) That was before I really learned about how to deal with them. Now I am working with her and a parelli program. Anyway nothing seemed to work I would yell, I would try doing nothing, ect but she didn't seem to care. Now I just try and ignore it. She has gotten alot better at this new barn but sometimes, especially when I take her out to groom her and the other horses are in their stalls eating hay or something then she gets really annoying about shaking her head because she wants to be eating like everyone else. I didnt know if anyone knew how to get her to stop because I have exaused everything I can think to stop her. Oh also I don't give her treat anymore because she can not handle having them. She gets too greedy and gets even more annoying shaking her head. Thanks so much!
     
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    03-21-2010, 11:53 PM
  #2
Weanling
It seems like you might need to become a bigger distraction than food.

Here's a recent example I witnessed recently. I had a new farrier come out yesterday. I liked my old farrier, he was very gentle and kind to my horse. The perfect first farrier, I loved him because I wanted everything to be perfect - to me, Frida pooped rainbows and butterflies. If Frida got impatient, or lazy, she would move around, try and pull her foot back. It was nothing major, perse - not disrespectful, but ultimately, not respectful either. He would just keep moving her foot back, over and over. I noticed last time my old farrier was trimming Fri, she was practically sitting on his back when he did the hind legs. He let her. This new farrier, well, he was not going to have it. Frida knew what she was doing, because she did it all sneaky-like. She'd lean a little bit, lean a bit more...and then wallop! This guy hit her on the belly out of no where. I thought at first, my god! Why isn't Fri freaking out! He just hit her, with about as much force to send me flying. However, I am not 1000lbs, and Fri? She wasn't shocked in the least. I was staring right at her face as he did it, and there was no fear, no anger, no trauma. In fact, milliseconds after it happened, she began to lick and chew. As you would guess, she said her "yes sir's" for the rest of the session and carried her own weight. This farrier was about as nice as pie. He wasn't some mean burly monster, in fact, he pet, praised, and complimented her more than the last farrier. The only thing he did different from the other farrier was he set a boundary that he wasn't going to let her cross, and she respected it. I think that's what I've learned from this whole long experience training Fri. You have to set boundaries, and you have to be prepared to dole out a consequence if your horse crosses them. I'm not even 100% there yet, I can still fall into babying her if I lose focus, but I got to say, it's been proving effective.
     
    03-22-2010, 12:57 AM
  #3
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Five Furlongs    
First I will give you some background information. The first thing that you need to know is that my horse is obsessed with food :) She was at a barn in a lesson program and she went out in an overcrowded field where they had to fight for their food. At one point they were even fed their grain under the fence, with all the horses fighting for their bit. They changed that, thankfully, and now I bought her and have her at a different barn.

There is a problem that I have with her now that is, I think, from that situation she used to be in. She is so obsessed with food that when I have her on the cross ties and I am grooming her she will just shake her head up and down. She has been doing this for a long time and I used to hit her when she did it but I would never hit her anymore. (and not to hurt her just to shock her into stopping, I would never ever hurt her or hit her hard) That was before I really learned about how to deal with them. Now I am working with her and a parelli program. Anyway nothing seemed to work I would yell, I would try doing nothing, ect but she didn't seem to care. Now I just try and ignore it. She has gotten alot better at this new barn but sometimes, especially when I take her out to groom her and the other horses are in their stalls eating hay or something then she gets really annoying about shaking her head because she wants to be eating like everyone else. I didnt know if anyone knew how to get her to stop because I have exaused everything I can think to stop her. Oh also I don't give her treat anymore because she can not handle having them. She gets too greedy and gets even more annoying shaking her head. Thanks so much!
So let me see if I am understanding this, the problem you are having is her shaking her head up and down? [because she wants to be eating like everyone else.] How do you know this? That she wants to be eating, I mean? I realize that if you put food in front of her she stops, hard to shake yer head while it's buried in some hay! I am going to tell you my angle on her behavior, this is coming from a degree in equine behavior, not personal exsperiance, so bear with me here. Regardless of her past situation, that is her past and it should stay in the past. If you were not privy to that information what do you think would be the trigger to her head shaking? It sounds more like a habit. She may have a little ADHD, [no really, horses can have it too.]
If her head shaking is bothering you, such as she may hurt herself or you, then correct it, if not then I say let her do it. Does she do it under saddle? That needs to be corrected if that is the case. I have heard of others using a ballon with warm water to correct a head tosser. While in cross ties, place the ballon within in her head tossing range ( no I have not idea how to do thing.LOL. ) The idea is when she tosses her head up, she hits the ballon full of warm water, it bursts, covering her head with warm water, what the horse believes to be blood, due to poor color site, and they will stop for fear of injury again. Dose this work, I don't know. I it was a favorite of some in my classes when we discussed training aids.

I will need more info on her issue before giving you anymore advice. Can you post a video of her doing it?
     
    03-22-2010, 01:02 AM
  #4
Foal
Ha! Seahorsey, we must have the same farrier!! Mine will not take any misbehavin either. He smacks em on the gut too. Seems like it would hurt but it don't. If you ever watch them in pasture together, they hurt each other way worse [not that humans should adopt that rule] but it takes more than we think to hurt a horse with out hands.
I will say the difference in a horse who is misbehavin and knows it, such as yours and mine with the farrier, hers may be doing it out of unconscious habit and not realize it. That can not be corrected like ill behavior.
     
    03-22-2010, 01:12 PM
  #5
Yearling
Peetz the theory of the balloon totally reminded me of something I got told once (dunno if it works, never tried it) I was told if a horse was bad for rearing up then carry an egg and when it rears crack it over the head with the egg to make the horse think its banged its head but if this works I don't know, I've never known anyone to carry eggs while riding
     
    03-22-2010, 07:45 PM
  #6
Foal
I am not 100% sure its the food because, obviously, I can't read her mind lol! But She been doing this for over a year and it is definitely worse when she is near food or had just been given treats. The food (being near or just fed food) can trigger it. Also she will shake her head when I just get a brush and bring it up to her neck to brush her. The second I put it onto her neck she shakes her head. It doesn't do this continually she shakes it a couple times then stops and starts again, ect. I have been just letting it be lately. I will try and get a video of her doing this tomorrow and post it up, hopefully that will help. Thanks so much.
     
    03-24-2010, 12:42 AM
  #7
Weanling
Watch her closely next time she moves her head up and down. I have read and noticed that horses move their heads around to get a better look at things--if your horse does this mostly when she is cross-tied, it makes sense that she might try moving her head to see what the others are doing. Just a thought. :)
     
    03-24-2010, 09:50 AM
  #8
Foal
NO TREATS!!! Treats are a horrible habbit to get into.

If the horse has food agression from being fed improperly then I would make sure she has her own hay piles and is fed any grain away from the other horses (stalled if possible). I do not believe in holding the bucket or making a horse stand against the wall in the stall etc. I put the food in and have the horse walk calmly in the stall turn around and stand so I can take the halter. Then they eat.

For the head shaking a firm no and then continue on with grooming. If she moves put her back to where you had her standing and continue as if it hdn't happened.

She will get the idea.

Another idea is to wait to groom her after she has eaten her grain. She might be more happy to be fussed with if she has a full belly.
     
    03-24-2010, 09:53 AM
  #9
Foal
Also some horses just don't like to be groomed or fussed with. Most days Bakkir is an angel, last night he wasn't in the mood. I am nursing a kick on his LH so I was nice and just did the minimal amount of brushing and took care of his leg.

Today he'll probably want to hang out in the barn and be fussed over.
     
    03-24-2010, 04:32 PM
  #10
Foal
I don't give her any treats anymore because I know now that she can't handle it. But if my sister is feeding her horse a carrot in front of her she gets all head shakey and she really wants it. She eats her grain in her stall so there is nothing to fight over. She goes out with three other mares and she is sometimes fed her hay out with them (they heach get a flake spread out) but now that it has been muddy she has been going out by herself and so there is no one to fight over there either. I will try to get a video of her doing this today I wasnt able to get upto the barn yesterday.
     

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