Rewarding without snacks - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 22 Old 06-14-2012, 10:14 AM Thread Starter
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Smile Rewarding without snacks

At my new lesson stable, they don't give the horses treats. Before I moved here, at my old stable, we always gave the horse a cookie or some grains after two hours of riding. I know incentives and rewards aren't mandatory, but I always like my lesson horse to know he did a great job and that he's loved. (Cheesy, but I just adore my lesson horses!). I remember Clinton Anderson saying that horses like to be rubbed above their eyes, that it's relaxing for them, so I do that sometimes.

How do you reward your horse?
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post #2 of 22 Old 06-14-2012, 09:44 PM
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I give my horse lots of pats on the neck and tell him he's a good boy. He seems to understand. I stopped giving himtreats by hand cause it makes him mouthy and rude. I do give him treats sometimes befor or after working in his feed bin but not everytime so that he is expecting it.
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post #3 of 22 Old 06-14-2012, 09:51 PM
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Scratches in the sweaty parts of the face. I don't let horses rub on me, so after a ride I will scratch the itchy spots where the bridle has been for them.

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post #4 of 22 Old 06-14-2012, 10:05 PM
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I do things a little different...my personal horses I give a little grain while I saddle. I do not catch my horses with feed. After a ride, a good grooming and getting turned out is a reward. If a horse was naughty I might leave him saddled and tied for a while before unsaddled, curried then turned out.

I think it depends on the individual horse as what is rewarding to them. I have horses that don't like attention and want to be turned out straight away. Others enough a good curry. And one that enjoys a bath and attention.
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I DON'T LEAD 'EM AND FEED 'EM, I RIDE 'EM AND SLIDE 'EM.
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post #5 of 22 Old 06-14-2012, 10:05 PM
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He gets a "good boy" or a "thank you" or a "There ya go" in an enthusiastic, encouraging voice, and a pat on the neck or shoulder. I've conditioned him to accept that as a reward, just like I've conditioned my dog to accept similar praise as a reward instead of food. If the lesson horses haven't been given treats by anyone else, you're not depriving them in any way, shape, or form, so a pat on the neck and a "good boy/girl" will probably suffice.
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post #6 of 22 Old 06-14-2012, 10:50 PM
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a "treat" to a horse for a job well done in their language is much different than humans. ...and I strongly disagree with the thought that keeping a horse tied or in a round pen or any other "punishment" for bad behavior has any benefit. Horses are, well, not to sound silly but they are horses. They do not reason like a human..I am in time out so I must have been bad or I am getting a peppermint so I must have been good. A "treat" to a horse is release of pressure...the same reason a horse responds to leg pressure ...a "treat" to a horse after riding...being released from the bit, saddle, rider, etc yes, I know that horses love tidbits of food given to them..after all they are eating machines...however, in the horses mind its not "for being good" to OP I don't know what the lesson barn allows you to do but untacking, cooling down the horse and a nice brush down with perhaps a short time of hand grazing is usually a well received event for lesson horses, but I promise your lesson horse will appreciate a good ride, some neck/wither scratching w/o treats

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post #7 of 22 Old 06-14-2012, 11:10 PM
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Sure leaving a horse saddled before turning out is not a "punishment" like a "time out" like child...totally agree. But it is not a complete release either. Yes, they are not being worked or schooled, yet they are still saddled and must remain patient and obedient.
That would be like saying keeping a horse tied doesn't learn anything, like patience for example.
When he doesnt stand quietly and paws rather than standing quietly and relaxed, then gets unsaddled and turned out when he does...how is that not a reward?

I DON'T LEAD 'EM AND FEED 'EM, I RIDE 'EM AND SLIDE 'EM.
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post #8 of 22 Old 06-14-2012, 11:21 PM
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They get a pat on the neck and but....I very rarely reward with treats because my guys tend to get nippy so they don't get treats.

But my horses know that a pat = reward.

Conformation is how far the horse CAN go,
Mind is how far the horse WILL go,
Training is how far it DOES go.
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post #9 of 22 Old 06-14-2012, 11:28 PM
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When my horses behave, I praise them and sometimes, if we were working, give them a moment of rest. But really, it depends on the horse. My arabian, Envi, is a total sucker for scratches. So for a reward, he gets his cheek scratched or his neck or ears. My other horse, Gerronimo, is more of a hugging type of guy. Yes, I do reward him with hugs, and yes, he likes it. He's very sensitive, lol. But every horse has a 'reward'- some like pats and scratches, some are happy with a soft word, some are happy with not working for a minute- my sister's horse needs boundaries set quite clearly, so no hugging or scratching for him. I'm not big on treats as rewards, but I do use them occasionally, like with my sister's horse- he's not the sharpest tool in the shed, and I don't work with him regularly, so using my voice and posture doesn't work as well with him because he's not used to it. So cookies and carrots it is. But before I break out the cookies, I prefer to use my voice and stance, and a scratch if they like it, because I feel that's a better reward.

-edit- oh, and if I'm on our property, I let them munch on grass while I hose them down (if they got sweaty). Although I don't think eating of any kind is the best reward, it's kind of more incentive. Plus, it's a good treat for them (better than carrots) because I live in the desert so they don't have access to any grazing material. If that makes sense, lol.

Last edited by soenjer55; 06-14-2012 at 11:34 PM.
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post #10 of 22 Old 06-14-2012, 11:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by COWCHICK77 View Post
Sure leaving a horse saddled before turning out is not a "punishment" like a "time out" like child...totally agree. But it is not a complete release either. Yes, they are not being worked or schooled, yet they are still saddled and must remain patient and obedient.
That would be like saying keeping a horse tied doesn't learn anything, like patience for example.
When he doesnt stand quietly and paws rather than standing quietly and relaxed, then gets unsaddled and turned out when he does...how is that not a reward?
if you are referring to my post..I wasn't even talking about you..lol However, still not going to convince me that your horse is thinking, "if I stand patient & don't paw..she will turn me out" I have a gelding that has exceptional ground manners who still paws waiting to be fed...it would be the same as saying Rey you have to wait for your food till you "learn" not to paw...just not going to happen. Have a blessed day!

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