BAD food aggression! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 28 Old 12-01-2013, 02:06 PM Thread Starter
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BAD food aggression!

This is gonna be kinda long but I want to make sure I get all the details! Ive never delt with this so I have no idea how to deal with it.

Lately since my 3rd horse came home[about 2 months ago] my 3 almost 4 year old mare has started bad food aggression out in the pasture and in her stall.. boarder line dangerous.

If she has a halter on and knows the human is in control she wouldnt even THINK about biting or kicking... shes broke, and very well mannered .. its when the halter comes OFF its a little scary. It confuses me.

I dont worry about myself I worry about my students, and my step daughter and husband who arent horse savvy. . .

A few examples:
Today my working student was just walking through that pasture past Jovie and her hay.. the ears when back the head came up and she charged him and miss biting his should by an inch! I ran up chased her off hard and fast till she gave me a better face.. then I let her have her hay back..I dont know if this was the right thing to do but Ive never delt with this so im LOST beyond lost.

A week ago when I was messing with her blanket in her stall while she was eatting hay.. she was fine then right before I was done I just saw the ear pin and a head coming at my face.. I swung and belted her in the face .. pure reaction.. but still I was shocked.. 2-3 months ago I use to be able to groom her in her stall while eatting, blanket and just fuss with her.. whats happened?! Now if I had a halter/leadrope on her she would have stood there like an angle while I did that.. :\

Shes now in her own paddock due to needing to be on a diet .. and its seems to be only getting worse in the pasture.

I just dont know what to do.. shes such a good mare when being ridden and handled with equipment on.. id hate to have to sell her cause shes not safe otherwise.. hoping you guys can help. Ive had her since she turned two.. shes almost 4 now.. shes never been starved... mishandled.. shes always been made to behave.. not spoiled.. I dont know where this is coming from. All treats were stopped long ago unless she does something amazing during ground work.
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post #2 of 28 Old 12-01-2013, 02:42 PM Thread Starter
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Hard to Imagine this being so unhappy and mean :(

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post #3 of 28 Old 12-01-2013, 02:47 PM
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I assume you have thought about all the other changes in her life that might be involved, such as food, new horses, hormones, new riding schedule, new turnout . . . ? you sound like a knowledgeable horseperson, so it's not that your handling of her has changed or allowed her to become spoiled. Is there anyone else handling her whose manners might be affecting her?
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post #4 of 28 Old 12-01-2013, 03:01 PM
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You should check out the other recent post on food aggression, There was good advice on that one
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post #5 of 28 Old 12-01-2013, 03:03 PM Thread Starter
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Its generally right now just my husband, and I. Till this is solved I dont want anyone to get hurt. I turnout.. do feed morning/lunch/dinner... Im the only one that rides her unless my step daughter gets on her maybe once a month. My husband does late night feed which is just hay.. the other two get hay/late night grain they get larger amounts of grain so I split it through 3 meals...

Hes a big treat giver.. but from what hes TOLD me he barely treats anymore.. and if he does its in their feed buckets, except nova my oldest [9].. which she wouldnt hurt a fly. haha.

My only thought is maybe the less amount of food that shes getting is effecting her.. She only gets 2 flakes morning .. 1 flake at lunch.. 2 flakes at dinner, and 1 flake late night and only 1 cup of grain 2x a day. She is dry lotted.. and plus there's snow on the ground now.

I know lyme can cause behavior changes but theres nothing else pointing towards lyme.
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post #6 of 28 Old 12-01-2013, 03:07 PM Thread Starter
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I read some of the other posts.. and they had some good advice.. but the problem is if there no halter on.. if she felt a halter/lead I dont think she would try anything. especially if Im standing there waiting for her to do something.. shes to smart for her own good. But I am gonna try some of the things I saw. She also does it a lot less to me then she does to my students walking through the pasture.. she knows Im more likely to try to kill her then my students who jumps sideways.
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post #7 of 28 Old 12-01-2013, 03:23 PM
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she gets 5 flakes a day?! that's a lot, compared to what I am used to. but, I guess it depends on the quality of the hay. is that typical of your area?

I realized that your horse is on a dry lot, and ours are not. But, it still seems like a lot to me.
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post #8 of 28 Old 12-01-2013, 03:36 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah thats pretty Little compared to what she was getting when she was boarded. She use to get about 7-8 flakes and she was CHUBBY! ahah My other two get 3 flakes morning.. 1-2 flakes lunch.. 2 flakes dinner and 2 flakes late night. Novas a hard keeper and in high work level.. worked 4-5 days a week and Leo is just coming back from lyme so lost quite a bit a weight from it. . . but he is getting cut down soon. The hay isnt super high quallity its 1st crop.
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post #9 of 28 Old 12-01-2013, 03:40 PM
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Actually, the photo of her and the look on her face and in her eye? I would expect exactly this type of behavior from her.

And feed/hay could be too much for her...when combined it could be too hot. May also be getting more hot of feed she was previously fine with. I've seen that happen.

And I don't care whether a horse has on halter/lead/full tack or is spinning around on a merry go round, it darn sure better not have an attitude with me at any point.

Your horse is spoiled. Whether or not you are part of the problem? Can't say, don't have a video of what you are doing, the tone of your voice, or how you move.

But the others, the treat feeder especially may be the root of this. Even one time of moving back in reaction to a horse that is inclined to be like this, will imprint in their heads that a human will give way. They will then escalate until they are doing exactly what you describe her.

Hay should be analyzed by vet to see what it is like, and possibly rethink feed too.

What exactly is she getting? And agree that 5 flakes seems a bit much too. Even a stalled/dry lotted horse shouldn't need that much, unless you are heavily working her.

And if you rely more on having some sort of "control" over horses, instead of your "inner core", that gets you in habit of being more worried.

Do any of you use the "soothing...it's allll riggghhhhht" type voices? Or are you more matter of fact and common sense people?
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post #10 of 28 Old 12-01-2013, 03:43 PM
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wait a minute, that's nine flakes of hay. for one horse, or for the both of them?
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