Big fat pig - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 10-17-2008, 10:05 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
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Big fat pig

Let's just get this out there: my boy loves to eat. Seeing as I cohabitate with 3 males (my bf and our boy dogs) this should come as no surprise. That said, my boyfriend and dogs don't try to push me around for their food.

Blaze is going to need some work on his ground manners. His owner, despite being a very sweet lady, is very timid and I think she let him get away w/whatever he wanted. I also realize he's still getting acclimated to his new surroundings. Last night I brought him out of the paddock to walk around. He immediately slammed his head down and start mowing the grass. He'd try and drag me to a new spot when he wanted to move and was very unresponsive to my digging in my heels and snapping the lead to bring his head up. After a few minutes of that, I put him back in the paddock because my arms were hurting. Suggestions?

When I walked up to the paddock with an armful of hay, he was standing there with his head snaking toward me. I stood far enough back and firmly told him BACK. He did back up and didn't come forward until I had dumped the hay over the fence. He looooves his grain. He nickers when I come out with it, and when I walk in he basically tries to climb all over me. I've been basically keeping the grain bowl in one hand away from his body and flinging my other arm at him, telling him back. he'll dance all around me, and if he gets to close I smack his shoulder. If he gives me enough space, I put the grain in the feeder, and I will repeat the arm flinging and telling him BACK until he stands away for long enough. it took about 5 minutes last night. Am I doing this right? Is there a better way to teach him that he can't truck me just to get to his food?

"Be the change you want to see in the world."-Mahatma Gandhi
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post #2 of 13 Old 10-17-2008, 10:23 AM
Join Date: Sep 2007
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I know this sounds really mean, but after getting a really bad kick from one of my 2 year olds I don't take chances.
If I have to go into their area with a feed bucket, bale of hay or any other food, I go with a buggy whip in hand. I keep the bucket in one hand and the whip in the other. I just run the whip in a circle around me at horse leg level. They learn real fast to keep their distance.

"Until one has loved an animal, part of one's soul remains unawakened..."
- Anatole France
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post #3 of 13 Old 10-17-2008, 10:42 AM
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Missouri
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Vida is right on IMO. I took a 3 ft stick...Good old fashioned stick out of a tree that I found. it was about 2" or so in diameter and carried it with me everytime I went into the pen with food. I never hit the horses, but I did extend it and let them run into it. I held it up around arm height and let them know I had it. I would hold it sideways sometimes as a visual barrier. The horses became very aware of the stick.

I also used it to reinforce verbal cues. If I wanted to back the horse up, I would say BACK, if they didn't do it, I would say Back again and push on their chest with the stick. They were never keen about the stick on their chest. It was forign and intimidated them. I only used the stick as an extension of my arm. I would stand there with the stick and the food until the horses settled down a bit. I always keep the horses on one side of the feeder and me on the other. ( We use long cattle feeder troughs)

Eventually (maybe a month) They were used to the routine and would line up on their side and settle down right away. I have quit carrying the stick now. Just be sure to NEVER reward any theft of food or hay snatching. I'll leave and get a whip or another stick if need be. I never feed them unless they are behaving. It sounds cruel, but it's for your safety. I can't watch 2 horses being food crazy and still work safely. Manners are a must. They have plenty of time to be fools when they are on pasture. Not when I'm in the's time to behave then.

Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don't be afraid or discouraged by the size of the task, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.

1 Chronicles 28:20

Last edited by Dumas'_Grrrl; 10-17-2008 at 10:44 AM.
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post #4 of 13 Old 10-17-2008, 11:33 AM
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Minnesota, USA
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I think making them wait to eat is the only way. I wont slap them in the face but will bump with a crop or whip on their chest. When we had more horses they were togther and had the grain dumped in each bucket, the horses would charge and then within the herd would tend to bite at/kick at... I didnt want to be in the middle of that.

Now I only have the two girls and they stay back and respect me till I walk out or invite them to eat. You are not in the wrong by making your horses wait. This is also why I dont train with treats, i think it creates pushy horses. If my horses get something special it is put in the food bucket not from my hand.

It's not the will to win, but the will to prepare to win that makes the difference.
- Paul "Bear" Bryant (Former college football coach)

Last edited by Angel_Leaguer; 10-17-2008 at 11:35 AM.
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post #5 of 13 Old 10-17-2008, 11:57 AM
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Greenville area / SC
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In the words of Roosevelt (and Dumas and Angel), "Walk softly but carry a big stick" - in this case a crop or training stick. Use it to enforce your dominance and make you the Alfa animal.

I'm not arguing with you, I'm just explaining why I'm right.

Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.

It's not always what you say but what they hear.

Last edited by iridehorses; 10-17-2008 at 12:00 PM.
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post #6 of 13 Old 10-19-2008, 12:14 AM
Join Date: Mar 2008
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Last year sometime my yearling started to get really aggressive with her grain. I usually lead her to it, and unclip her and let her go. She was starting to pin her ears, pull me, and was starting to turn her butt to me if I approached her bucket. What I did with her was I stood in front of/in the bucket (one of those big, black, round and low ones) and stomped. I pushed her back, waved my arms and the like. When she tried to get the grain, I would drive her back. I essentially acted like one of the boss horses, like you see them do in the field.

It sounds crazy, and it looks crazy, but it worked like a charm. I did that only once, it was about a minute and a half. Now I can approach her whenever and she'll back off the food, and waits for me to get out of her space before she eats. This may have worked partly too because she was so young at the time.
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post #7 of 13 Old 10-19-2008, 03:32 PM
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Ontario, Canada
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I agree with what the others said, let him wait for his food. If you bring him in for his grain and he's dancing and whinnying, HE IS BEING RUDE. I would suggest feed the other horses, who are waiting patiently and politely of course, FIRST. Wait until he calms down completely (he will, though you might have to wait a while). THEN feed him, and pat him, telling him he's a good boy.

Someone else also posted something on here in a different thread about putting large rocks in the feed bucket, so he doesn't eat so fast. You could try that also, that way he'll have to nudge around for his grain.

There's a couple of horses at my barn who are like that. Very pushy ... like "I have to eat nooooowwwwww!!" NO THEY DON'T. He'll survive if you wait a while to feed him. Make him jealous of the polite horses.

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord. 'Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future'" ~ Jeremiah 29:11

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post #8 of 13 Old 10-19-2008, 03:42 PM
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Washington
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Use a flag instead of a whip. Then when you wave it instead of your arms it sends more enregy and sound then just a whip. If you dont have a flag tie a plastic bag at the end of a whip/stick.

From east to west a travlin gypsy found her prancing pony for now their hearts run as one...into the north
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post #9 of 13 Old 10-19-2008, 04:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Vidaloco View Post
I know this sounds really mean, but after getting a really bad kick from one of my 2 year olds I don't take chances.
If I have to go into their area with a feed bucket, bale of hay or any other food, I go with a buggy whip in hand. I keep the bucket in one hand and the whip in the other. I just run the whip in a circle around me at horse leg level. They learn real fast to keep their distance.
thats what my old BO use to do. aye, my horses got beaten up a few times by that whip cuz they were food hogs. it does work.

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post #10 of 13 Old 10-19-2008, 04:21 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
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Thanks everyone. I took a crop in there yesterday and it helped quite a bit. I'm also not above stomping and waving like a madwoman :)

"Be the change you want to see in the world."-Mahatma Gandhi
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