A little more info on Beau's food aggression..comment welcomed
 
 

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A little more info on Beau's food aggression..comment welcomed

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    12-20-2011, 01:36 PM
  #1
Banned
A little more info on Beau's food aggression..comment welcomed

Well, the pre vent feeder has slowed his feedings, almost tripled the time it takes him to finish his dinner. BUT, it causes him extreme frustration as he can no longer bolt his grain. He kicked the feed tub last evening, and while eating he paws the ground now, which is a completely new behavior for this horse. He was never a ground pawer. He STILL throws his head while eating, he does not still kick out WHILE eating as he is too busy trying to get every last bit of grain.

So the good news : it does triple the time it takes him to eat

The bad News: it is causing him more stress, not less

Someone asked me why we think Beau is so stressed at feeding time, and it brought up some points I did not mention in my original thread.

Beau's aggression is not only with his grain. It is food in general. When they are outside, he is very posessive of the hay ..... if Epona comes anywhere NEAR his pile, or if she even looks in his direction while he is eating his hay, he will pin his ears at her and sometimes chases her off. How close does she need to get to cause this? NOT CLOSE AT ALL.....even if she is eating from her pile and it's 25 feet away, sometimes he'll just pin ears at her, chase her and try to bite her. During grain time, this aggression amplifies 100 percent as the video shows.... When hand grazing, we must be very careful to keep distance between the two of them, or he will pin his ears and throw his head at her...He even pins ears and throws his head at SHADOWS. Outside when eating hay and inside. My son tested this theory last week. When Beau was facing away from him, eating his hay, he cast a shadow on the wall beside Beau with his hand, but Beau couldnt see HIM as he was behind him and plus he is not aggressive towards humans..... Beau thew his head, pinned his ears when he saw the shadow. And he was only eating his hay at the time.

In summation: his aggression is with all food, even hay. He is not in the least aggressive towards humans and his food. He does not show aggression if we approach or even stick our hand into his grain bucket during feed time, nor does he pin or show aggression if we remove some of the hay from his pile while he is eating it.

It is NOT a human aggression issue....it is a horse issue.

So if I were to psychoanalyze this horse. There are a few conclusions I would come to.

When we bought him, he was starved down to a body score two. This must have been either a total witholding of food or very very little as we bought him when he was only 3 months off the track. To be brought down to a 2 in such short a time seems impossible unless he was not being fed AT ALL.

Here is the timeline: Late October was his last race. His owner sells him to a used horse dealer at some point. We buy him from the used horse dealer in February. The used horse dealer was feeding him some type of stock horse feed, and he was in 24/7 turnout with other geldings and a stallion. He was severely bitten by the stallion as he fought him and would not back down. Fighting for food I imagine. The stallion gave him a horrible beating. He was covered in deep, huge bites, hunks of flesh just gone....most on his neck and shoulders. He looked God awful! We thought that the hair would never regrow on some of the largest bites, but it did. He does not like anyone to rub or groom his neck even now. Perhaps some of the deep bites left nerve damage or something.... Our BO exclaimed "that's the worst beating I ever saw" when he got a look at him.

So the facts are: this horse declined from race fit to a body score 2 in 3 months. At the used horse dealer he was given a grain/corn mix and turned out in a herd with a stallion. He suffered severe injuries from fighting with the stallion and was taken from the herd and put in with the cows to save his life. He spent the rest of his time at the used horse dealer's farm isolated from the herd and was living with cows.

I do not know what the race owner fed him or how he was turned out....and I do not know if his rapid weight decline occured before the used horse dealer bought him or after....

But I do know this, while he is NOW a body score 6 or 6.5 and quite fat for a TB, he requires a precise diet and free choice hay to keep him there. We have worked for a year to find a diet that would put weight on him and keep it on. Our vet is quite pleased with his weight and his diet, so we have done well. However, his QH diet and 24/7 winter turnout at the used horse dealer wasn't going to satisfy his high metabolism....

Anyhow, Beau suffered a serious and rapid decline in weight in three short months....he also suffered serious injuries from fighting with the stallion...for food or dominance I cannot say....

Any comments?
     
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    12-20-2011, 01:43 PM
  #2
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beauseant    
Well, the pre vent feeder has slowed his feedings, almost tripled the time it takes him to finish his dinner. BUT, it causes him extreme frustration as he can no longer bolt his grain. He kicked the feed tub last evening, and while eating he paws the ground now, which is a completely new behavior for this horse. He was never a ground pawer. He STILL throws his head while eating, he does not still kick out WHILE eating as he is too busy trying to get every last bit of grain.

So the good news : it does triple the time it takes him to eat

The bad News: it is causing him more stress, not less

Someone asked me why we think Beau is so stressed at feeding time, and it brought up some points I did not mention in my original thread.

Beau's aggression is not only with his grain. It is food in general. When they are outside, he is very posessive of the hay ..... if Epona comes anywhere NEAR his pile, or if she even looks in his direction while he is eating his hay, he will pin his ears at her and sometimes chases her off. How close does she need to get to cause this? NOT CLOSE AT ALL.....even if she is eating from her pile and it's 25 feet away, sometimes he'll just pin ears at her, chase her and try to bite her. During grain time, this aggression amplifies 100 percent as the video shows.... When hand grazing, we must be very careful to keep distance between the two of them, or he will pin his ears and throw his head at her...He even pins ears and throws his head at SHADOWS. Outside when eating hay and inside. My son tested this theory last week. When Beau was facing away from him, eating his hay, he cast a shadow on the wall beside Beau with his hand, but Beau couldnt see HIM as he was behind him and plus he is not aggressive towards humans..... Beau thew his head, pinned his ears when he saw the shadow. And he was only eating his hay at the time.

In summation: his aggression is with all food, even hay. He is not in the least aggressive towards humans and his food. He does not show aggression if we approach or even stick our hand into his grain bucket during feed time, nor does he pin or show aggression if we remove some of the hay from his pile while he is eating it.

It is NOT a human aggression issue....it is a horse issue.

So if I were to psychoanalyze this horse. There are a few conclusions I would come to.

When we bought him, he was starved down to a body score two. This must have been either a total witholding of food or very very little as we bought him when he was only 3 months off the track. To be brought down to a 2 in such short a time seems impossible unless he was not being fed AT ALL.

Here is the timeline: Late October was his last race. His owner sells him to a used horse dealer at some point. We buy him from the used horse dealer in February. The used horse dealer was feeding him some type of stock horse feed, and he was in 24/7 turnout with other geldings and a stallion. He was severely bitten by the stallion as he fought him and would not back down. Fighting for food I imagine. The stallion gave him a horrible beating. He was covered in deep, huge bites, hunks of flesh just gone....most on his neck and shoulders. He looked God awful! We thought that the hair would never regrow on some of the largest bites, but it did. He does not like anyone to rub or groom his neck even now. Perhaps some of the deep bites left nerve damage or something.... Our BO exclaimed "that's the worst beating I ever saw" when he got a look at him.

So the facts are: this horse declined from race fit to a body score 2 in 3 months. At the used horse dealer he was given a grain/corn mix and turned out in a herd with a stallion. He suffered severe injuries from fighting with the stallion and was taken from the herd and put in with the cows to save his life. He spent the rest of his time at the used horse dealer's farm isolated from the herd and was living with cows.

I do not know what the race owner fed him or how he was turned out....and I do not know if his rapid weight decline occured before the used horse dealer bought him or after....

But I do know this, while he is NOW a body score 6 or 6.5 and quite fat for a TB, he requires a precise diet and free choice hay to keep him there. We have worked for a year to find a diet that would put weight on him and keep it on. Our vet is quite pleased with his weight and his diet, so we have done well. However, his QH diet and 24/7 winter turnout at the used horse dealer wasn't going to satisfy his high metabolism....

Anyhow, Beau suffered a serious and rapid decline in weight in three short months....he also suffered serious injuries from fighting with the stallion...for food or dominance I cannot say....

Any comments?
Why are you psychoanalyzing him? He's a horse, not a person. Some horses have extreme food aggression, some have none, and some are in between. Your horse is not special or crazy, just being himself. The best thing to do is feed him and Epona in separate areas (or just a good distance apart) and grain in different stalls.

Its really no big deal.
     
    12-20-2011, 03:47 PM
  #3
Banned
Well actually, it kind of IS a big deal!! He has suffered many minor to moderate chokes, the last one being SEVERE. Our vet thinks it's his food aggression. He also thinks it's a BIG DEAL....as he is concerned that repeated severe chokes can cause esophagus (sp?) scarring/stricture. HE SAYS stricture is a VERY BIG DEAL. And something we want to avoid. And to prove you didn't read my post correctly, I stated that he also has hay and grass aggression issues and in a prior post I stated he choked on hay also...So graining him in a different state than Epona is only going to solve THAT part of a WIDER problem.

Our vet thinks it is a big deal And I HIGHLY doubt that anyone would say "My horse is at risk for developing stricture??? Oh don't worry Mr. Vet...it's no big deal". LMAO

Anyhow, what I was wondering, in a roundabout way is: Perhpas his prior starvation is what is causing this and he's just a mental basket case!!!
nuisance and Revengeance like this.
     
    12-20-2011, 04:37 PM
  #4
Started
Horses don't forget starving or mean people. Keep hay in front of him all the time and he will chill out. Takes a while to just detox from race life. Let him be a horse.

Wetting his grain will help with the choke. I have one that chokes if I give her anything but the smallest pellets.

Put a couple round bales out away from each other but in plain sight of each other. They will play musical bales and Beau will probably chase the belgian off until he finally realizes food is here to stay.

Time, kindness and lots of good hay does wonders.
     
    12-20-2011, 05:00 PM
  #5
Banned
I totally agree, SueNH!!


Horses have brains, emotions, and memories....and it is my opinion that his rapid weight loss is a telling clue that since he was in a herd and taking a terrible beating from the stallion, he was likely getting little to NO hay. His ONLY substantial food was when the horse dealer brought him in in the evening for his grain. And that taught him that the only food he knows is strictly his is his grain....therefore, he learned to guard it with his life.

SOMETHING happened to him that was traumatic enough to take him from race fit to body score 2 in only 3 months.....Human or not, I HIGHLY DOUBT he is likely to forget such trauma.

Hence his over the top food aggression with his own kind.
     
    12-20-2011, 05:05 PM
  #6
Green Broke
Before I read Beau's lifestyle before you rescued him, my first thought was I wondered if he was in a small turnout with other horses and wasn't allowed to eat?

Seein' as how I was right - lollol IMHO, Beau was literally being starved to death by the stallion.

Beau kept fighting back because he isn't a horse to give up (I have one that would have just given up and died before you got there) but in the Wilds, it's survival of the fittest and strongest - it's ugly in the real live world of animals when there's "20 of them" and only enough food for 10.

Given all that, I'm not sure Beau ever will get over his aggressive tendencies. He might mellow out with a lot of patience on your part and a lot of new trust on his part BUT, his ancient gene pool of "survival of the fittest" will probably always prevail and never let him get completely over the horrors he experienced before you came into in his life.

I would honest-to-gosh not feed him in that slow feeder. It is way too stressful for him. And you bet the vet should be worried about more choke issues.

Did he explain if a horse goes into serious choke and aspirates the fluid into their lungs that infection can set in and kill the horse? That happened to a lady's horse on my local forum a few years back. It was a nightmare for everyone on our little forum.

The more times Beau chokes, the more chances he has of building up scar tissue, making the next episode worse.

So again, I would let Jared try to hand feed him and see what happens but you feed Epona while Beau is getting his first round of feed from Jared.

Just an FYI, when I had to board my horses for a short time, years ago, the Barn Owner psychoanalyzed each and every horse that came into her barn. That was back in the early 90's and she did that so she'd know who was compatible and who wasn't. By golly isn't it something that very wise woman NEVER had any incidents where one horse hurt another?

Beau is trying to say he is terrified someone will either steal his food or will make him go hungry and he will then die; he's not ready to die or you wouldn't have found him in the tear-jerking condition he was in. As I already said, I have a horse that would've just given up and allowed himself to be stomped to death by that stallion.

Beau can't speak in our voice, this acting out is the only way he knows to communicate his fears. Boy there's a lot more I could say on this subject, but there's already Naysayers commenting, so I won't. If you're interested PM me - lollol

At any rate, please humor me just once and let Jared hand feed Beau to see how that goes. If you don't have a deep-well feed pan, do you have a huge plastic mixing bowl at the house that you could put part of the feed into and let Jared hold it while Beau eats?

I at least think breaking all that feed into two or three sessions might help. Somehow I'm now suspicious that Beau might find all that feed so overwhelming that he wants to gorge himself with all of it at once so another horse can take it from him.

It doesn't matter that there aren't any other horses making eye contact with him, it wouldn't matter if there wasn't another horse on the property; it's what's going on in his head.

To make a human analogy, I am 64, my husband is 63 and he STILL has some food and "food collecting" issues that stem from his very very poor childhood. I was raised dirt poor on a dairy farm but always had plenty of food. He was raised dirt poor in a filthy apartment above a bakery and never had enough to eat. The difference in how we both look at a nearly empty refrigerator is just astonishing.

Another FYI, I once rescued a Rottweiler puppy that had been starved so bad by the Loser Breeder that his growth was stunted. Odin was of superior intelligence, sweet and loving and would stick his tongue out at anyone when I asked him to. However, do NOT put my hand near his food bowl after I set it down because he would growl. He never once tried to bite me but something in his head never let him get over the fact that he had been starved so bad that at 12 weeks old he looked like a 6 week old pup I've rescued more than one starving dog but Odin was the one I could never get over the hunger fear - maybe because he was still a puppy when it happened.

By-the-by where in PA? While I raised on a dairy farm in NE Ohio, I moved to farmlands of the Shenango Valley in my mid-20's. I retired to Middle Tennessee because my arthritis really likes the idea of these milder winters
Beauseant, manca and Revengeance like this.
     
    12-20-2011, 05:13 PM
  #7
Yearling
Your horse's food issues sound exactly like my horse's food issues. She will be possessive over piles of hay in turn-out, she will kick the wall and snarl at other horses when she's getting her dinner/breakfast in her stall, but like yours, she's completely fine with people and you can happily chase her off her food if you fancy.

Unlike Beau, this horse has never known a day of deprivation or suffering in her life. Her previous owner bought her from a reputable breeder as a two-year old, kept her in a life of luxury until she was seven, and then I bought her and have had her ever since. She is now 18. I know previous owner only had one other horse, who was submissive to Gypsum (my horse), and I haven't a clue what her socialisation was like at the breeding farm, so basically I have no idea why she is such a git towards other horses. I guess my point is that this behaviour need not emerge out of abuse or neglect. Some horses are just like that.
     
    12-20-2011, 05:21 PM
  #8
Banned
Walk,

Your post brought tears to my eyes.... EVERYTHING you said was right on the mark!!!!!


Even though you have never even met this horse, just from my descriptions, you seem to understand him perfectly!!

He attacks epona even out in the paddock and she's not even near his hay pile or even facing in his direction. She is not threatening him in any way....he even shows food aggression at shadows on the walls....

In short, the trauma involved in causing such severe weight loss in 3 months has left scars on his mind. My opinion.

Despite what some believe, horses have brains, feel pain, feel emotions, and have MEMORIES..... if they didn't, you'd never be able to train them.

I don't think he is "just being himself", or "just being a horse"....my opinion is that his starvation and his physical attacks by the stallion have left a fear of being hungry, and a will of iron to see it doesn't happen again.

In his mind: Humans bring food. Horses take it away. Hence his aggression regarding food is directed towards horses.


Hugs and thank you, walkinthewalk.....for understanding my "grey ghost".

By the way, I will send you that address shortly, and thank you, in advance, for the book....

I can't wait to read it!!!!!
     
    12-20-2011, 05:36 PM
  #9
Weanling
Our tb mare does feed guard, about the same kind of level. She is a rescue who had been kept in a stable for 6 month with hay split between her and another horse, she had a old automated water'er. She hadn't been mucked out and due to the extended period of darkness she's now partially sighted.
When we got her she was terrible for her aggression and had about 3 bad attacks of choke. She did have some sharp points in her mouth.
We changed her management, she gets dinner stoked down and is put into her own stable so she has distance to another horse. She gets plenty of space and since she's really getting there and now almost behaves like most others.
Posted via Mobile Device
     
    12-20-2011, 09:00 PM
  #10
Yearling
Just goes to show... a rough background can result in such behaviour problems.... except when it doesn't....

As for me, I just deal with the horse in front of me, and over the years I have worked out how best to manage her and what works and what doesn't. Even if your horse came from a less-than-privileged background and has an "excuse" (Gypsum really doesn't), you can only do the same.
     

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