Can This Spoil A Horse?

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Can This Spoil A Horse?

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  • Spoiling a horse with treats
  • Can you spoil a horse

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    07-08-2012, 01:57 AM
Can This Spoil A Horse?

I know that if you feed a horse to many treats, they will get spoiled and disrespectful. But I am wondering if I hand feed my horse grain as a treat, like feed her daily grain by hand, will it be the same as overfeeding treats and spoiling her?


(I love the way horses take food from your hand)
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    07-08-2012, 02:05 AM
It's a bad idea. Just put her grain in a bowl. Hand feeding her her daily grain will also take forever, and you'll more than likely get bitten doing it. Hand feeding in general is just a really bad idea.
If you want to bond with her, spend lots of quality time grooming, instead of hand feeding. :)
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    07-08-2012, 02:18 AM
You are in danger of spoiling yourself rather than your horse. Check out this thread for a very graphic picture of just how wrong this can go.*-128662/

VERY GRAPHIC, then decide if you still want to hand feed treats
kitten_Val and JazzyGirl like this.
    07-08-2012, 02:28 AM
I would not suggest it, it's a good way to lose your fingers.
    07-08-2012, 02:37 AM
Green Broke
You can stand there and hold a bowl of grain..... if you really want to.

My kids love handing out treats but I am afraid of them getting chomped even though none of the horses bite, so I have a lil rubber pan and they put whatever in it and hold it for the horse.

Lil kiddo wanted to hold my horse's grain one night, she lasted oh 2mins and then her arms gave out! Between the grain, soaked beet pulp and supplements his pan is HEAVY and he takes a good 20mins to eat it all. I couldn't imagine feeding it by hand, I'd be there all night!
riccil0ve, usandpets and Horsealot like this.
    07-08-2012, 02:47 AM
Not going to lie, I do enjoy spoiling my horse with treats - but never before a ride. And when I do, I deny him treats when he tries to snatch rather than take like a gentleman. He also never gets treats before I plan to ride him.
    07-08-2012, 02:49 AM
Green Broke
Feeding treats does not necessarily spoil a horse. It's how the treats are fed that spoils the horse. Hand feeding does not make the horse spoiled either. Again, it's how and when that does.

Whether you give treats, apples, carrots or grain as a treat, it's still a treat. Kind of like giving a kid a snack. It can be an apple, candy, a sandwich, popcorn, or whatever. A snack is a snack and a treat is a treat.

I was once told when I first started learning about horses, when you feed them, let them be. That is their time. Don't fuss with them, don't groom them or anything. Just let them be. Same goes for when riding. That is your time. Don't let them eat then. When they eat, they don't have their attention or focus on you. They can actually forget that you are there. An accident waiting to happen.

Do I follow that today? Sometimes. Do I feed by treats by hand? Yes. However, that is with horses that I know I have respect from. If I do not have their respect, I definitely do not want to invite them into my personal space. If I can't move them away when I choose, I would not feed by hand. That is allowing a dangerous situation or encouraging a horse to be spoiled.

As for when to treat, I only offer a treat as a treat, not as a reward for doing something, such as clicker training. If you offer the treat at the wrong moment, you've rewarded the wrong thing. By the time you give the treat, too much time has gone by and the horse might not connect what the treat was for. They do want treats but they also want release of pressure. Giving them release of pressure in instantaneous.

Giving treats by hand may cause a horse to become nippy. If you have their respect, it is less likely.
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    07-08-2012, 03:00 AM
Green Broke
Originally Posted by Stoddard    
... And when I do, I deny him treats when he tries to snatch rather than take like a gentleman.
That's a good point I forgot. I have my horses turn their head away before getting a treat. I think it makes them less "aggressive" about getting the treat. If they want to be pushy, they don't get the treat. All has to do with respect.
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    07-08-2012, 03:15 AM
I believe it depends on the horse, my horse becomes a treat brat. He expects a treat every time, now Ill give him ice cubes for treats. He doesn't become a treat brat, insted its a good way to cool off in the hot Colorado weather and he isnt pushing for more.
    07-08-2012, 04:26 AM
Super Moderator
How would you like it if someone spoon fed you all your meals?

The odd hand treat, a piece of carrot or apple given after a ride or after a horse is caught from the field will not do any harm but to many or several at a time will make most horses pushy.

Many people are under the misconception that giving treats make their horse 'love' them.
riccil0ve and Palomine like this.

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