I have had experience with joining up with 4 different horses, and have no qualms with it or the process. It's quite enjoyable at the end, and is worth the effort. ...the small 8x8ish "stalls"
|I am wary of treats because it's so hard to differentiate between a treat and a bribe, and I don't want him to feel like I'm bribing him. I also want to make sure I don't spoil him. One of my cousins lost a chunk of skin because he spoiled his horse and it got nippy and full out bit him when he didn't bring it a treat. But if I do go about giving him treats, what do you guys suggest?|
I don't think luring is a bad 'tool' to have in your kit, but it is limited & while I might sometimes use it to get a new behaviour started, I don't continue doing this for long. It can also be helpful to create/change associations from Bad to Good.
I don't think it's the food that makes a horse nippy - it's just a strong +R. It's people not paying enough attention to *what behaviour* they're reinforcing. You don't EVER reinforce a horse for 'rude' behaviour & instead you reinforce the horse for conflicting 'polite' behaviour, such as back up a step & lower your head.
If you're going to use food treats for training, you're going to be giving a lot of them, but each reward only needs to be tiny(bonus ones can be bigger). But I'd use something healthy. I use the pelleted feed supplement they get otherwise anyway, or diced carrot or such.