Can This Spoil A Horse? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #11 of 22 Old 07-08-2012, 04:58 AM
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Palmyra, Wisconsin
Posts: 6,093
• Horses: 4
I give treats by hand. All my horses take them nicely & do not push for more. Accidents do happen so maybe I've been lucky so far.
natisha is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #12 of 22 Old 07-08-2012, 05:36 AM
Join Date: May 2008
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 2,266
• Horses: 1
If you can't hand feed a treat, then you shouldn't be trying feed your horse it's feed that way. It is no different. It is not only a safety issue, but can be a training issue, as well.

To me, it all boils down to how well you know your horse. Out of the six horses at our barn, there are 3 that you can't really treat at all, one that really shouldn't be getting treats, but because she had a horrible accident and now is having to endure all kinds of doctoring she is getting spoiled. There is one that does good as long as you keep him in check and one that it just doesn't seem to matter (my own horse). He tends to be more on the nervous side of things.

Treats, IMO, do have their place with certain horses. With horses that are struggling with fear issues and are highly food motivated, they can really help. The first farrier I ever hired quit before the job was even done. I was able to train my horse to stand and be quite by the positive reinforcement of treats when I put his foot down and by making him work when he took it back on his own.

That being said, a horse could easily nip off a finger or even decide to turn around and bite you...even if you are using it as a training tool. To me, that goes back to knowing your horse and understanding that something could go wrong, regardless. But, what horse owner doesn't already accept that risk?

sandy2u1 is offline  
post #13 of 22 Old 07-08-2012, 07:29 AM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 2,475
• Horses: 0
Treats are proof that horses do, in fact, love. Hah, don't kid yourself into thinking they love the treat dispebser(you), but the loce of the treat itself can be very clear. For example, when they smoosh their lips up as though you are scratching a very itch spot at the mere.sound of.a peppermint wrapper. That is treat love right there. lol.
Posted via Mobile Device
LadyDreamer is offline  
post #14 of 22 Old 07-08-2012, 08:36 AM
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: NH
Posts: 692
• Horses: 0
I tend to find that feeding horses treats by hand can make them a bit mouthy at times. At my barn I prefer boarders not to hand feed treats to any of my horses or others horses for that exact reason. I toss the treat in there feed bucket to them its still a treat. Feed buckets is where they eat not in your hand. There are other ways to bond and reward then with treats. Grooming is good bonding ( They do it to each other ) Simple soft talking and soft pat along with pressure release goes a long ways with horses. JMHO

TimberRidgeRanch is offline  
post #15 of 22 Old 07-08-2012, 08:53 AM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Middle Tennessee
Posts: 5,825
• Horses: 0
I have four horses with four very distinct "treat hog" personalities. I never feed treats as a reward for work. That's what verbal praise and scratchies behind the ears are for.

98% of the time, I only give treats at night when everyone comes in.

Even at that, it's only two of the four, unless the other two catch me.

One because the other three have to go thru his stall to get to theirs. The other one because he doesn't bite anyone on the butt as they pass his stall. Yes my horses come in their stalls at liberty, they know the drill and do their job 100% of the time.

Where I'm going with that is, here's my equine chiropractor's take on feeding horses treats.

On her last visit she said "you don't feed treats do you?" I replied I didn't except for what I mentioned above.

She replied "I just want to thank you for that. It is such a pleasure to work on an entire group of horses that isn't continually lip-nipping. I can't tell you how frustrating that gets, when I'm trying to get them to relax for an adjustment and they keep nipping, looking for treats".

Horses don't need treats very often - the bulk of the time people only feed treats to make themselves feel better. Mr. WTW would feed treats to the horses until his arms got chewed off at the elbows, if I didn't threaten him within an inch of his life. I finally got him to admit it "makes me feel good"
walkinthewalk is offline  
post #16 of 22 Old 07-08-2012, 09:38 AM
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: The sandbox
Posts: 5,573
• Horses: 0
I enjoyed reading usandpets take on feeding treats, I have never looked at it that way.

I don't hand feed, period.

Generally we don't use grain or treats to catch horses but they get grained while being saddled. So being used to doing it that for years then reading that food time is horse time, riding time is my time, definitely shed a different light on the subject.

As of now I use grain to feed supplements and check on everyone to make sure they are not cut or managed to injure themselves since they are out on pasture and stay hidden.
I just recently had to start supplementing, one horse on a hoof supplement and another on a gut supplement and therefore had to change the method I use to grain.
Usually I would dump grain in rubber tubs. But since they are move around to each other tubs thinking the other has something better or more of it, I switched to nose bags.
Since switching it has made graining much less chaotic and now they take their time to eat rather than gobbling and running someone else off their tub and eating it. And everyone gets what I gave them.
So I guess my point is that I agree method makes a difference.

COWCHICK77 is offline  
post #17 of 22 Old 07-08-2012, 02:11 PM
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 2,277
• Horses: 4
I work at a therapy barn and all our students always want to give the horses treats. But of course, giving horses treats by hand can teach them that fingers = treats, so we didn't allow them for a while. We've just decided to make a special 'treat bowl'. The horses now associate the bowl with food, and when the bowl isn't around they behave quite well, but I notice when the bowl is around they get quite naughty, like pawing or mugging people. Just proves to me that if they associated hands with food, they'd be as naughty as when the bowl is around. But this is a happy compromise. :)
I feed my mare treats by hand, but only at the end of the day when I'm not planning on doing anything more with her. If I give her a treat at the beginning or middle of the day, I find she pays me very little attention and spends her whole time searching my pockets and hands for any food.
PunksTank is offline  
post #18 of 22 Old 07-08-2012, 02:30 PM
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: MD
Posts: 23,907
• Horses: 2
Originally Posted by usandpets View Post
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.
Exactly! I do give treats. I always give one after the they are done with the grain, and I do give some after my mares are done with work and unsaddled (and sometime give a treat "just because" here and there). They both know they must wait for the treat and be respectful (meaning no demanding, bullying, etc.). They also don't go and check other people for treats. It's all about how you do it.

With that being said personally I don't think grain should be used as a "treat". Grain should be given in feeding time and just let them enjoy the meal time. (and also carrots and cookies are not sticky and you don't have to wash your hands or pocket after them ).

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass: it's about learning to dance in the rain..."

"When we are no longer able to change a situation - we are challenged to change ourselves."

"How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours."
kitten_Val is offline  
post #19 of 22 Old 07-08-2012, 02:45 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: South of No-where
Posts: 2,693
• Horses: 4
I think a lot of it depends on the horse. Some horses can be given treats by hand and they are always respectful as long as the owner only lets them take it while they are being gentle. Then others will get pushy and mouthy no matter what boundaries are set. A lot of it has to do with how food-driven they are.

My haflinger tried to bite the BO's pocket where he resided before he came to live with me because he knew that is where she would keep peppermints. Her horses (mostly Haflingers) were respectful and really good, but he is just so food driven combined with smart that he will go that extra mile for food than the average horse. I can not trust him to be hand fed so if he does get treats it is only via a bucket. On the other hand Rascal is so sweet that I could give him treats by hand all day long and he only tentatively takes them and barely brushes his lips across your palm.

As to feeding their grain by hand - if its a meal, just let them eat it. I don't know why you would want to feed their meals by hand. It just seems like it would lead to a frustrated horse.

All I pay my psychiatrist is cost of feed and hay, and he'll listen to me any day!

Cat is offline  
post #20 of 22 Old 07-08-2012, 03:02 PM
Teen Forum Moderator
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: South East Texas
Posts: 7,157
• Horses: 2
I, also- think that there is a time and place when a horse can be fed treats, but ONLY if they are respectful.

I hand feed treats to my mare, Sour- though she's the only one wo I do feed them to. Not because I 'love her more than the others' or want her to 'love me' more, but because as a frightened and mishandled baby, I had a very hard time connecting with her and getting her to realize that not everything that comes from humans is bad. I realized that she is an EXTREMELY food oriented horse, and because I had run out of other options, I decided to bring food into the picture. I don't give her treats habitually because I dont want her to EXPECT them from me, but I did use them while teaching her to be caught by asking her to let me come up to her, halter her, lead her out of the gate, and stand quietly until I gave her a treat. If she didnt do one of these things, she didnt get one. She soon learned that it was OK for me to come bring her out, and I havent had to take so much as an extra step towards her in over a year. I always give it to her while standing at her side, and make her wait quietly until I've extended MY hand to HER mouth, and never let her reach for it herself or nose at my pocket. She respects my space and has never attempted to nip me for this reason. Rather, when I first began working with her, she wasn't just nippy- she bit. Hard. But using good technique and intelligence I've taught her to never even lip at me, much less nibble or bite- and I have no problem with that.

I honestly think that a lot of people miscredit giving treats and often assume that its the treats that is causing nippiness. In reality though, I've met plenty of nippy horses who had never been hand fed a treat in their life. Its all about the handler and how strictly they stick to their rules of 'personal space' and how they react to pushiness that determines if a horse will become nippy or not, IMO. Not whether or not they decide to feed their horse themselves.

Everyone in your life is meant to
be in your journey, but not all of
them are meant to stay till the end.
Endiku is offline  

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Horse Forum forums, you must first register.

Already have a Horse Forum account?
Members are allowed only one account per person at the Horse Forum, so if you've made an account here in the past you'll need to continue using that account. Please do not create a new account or you may lose access to the Horse Forum. If you need help recovering your existing account, please Contact Us. We'll be glad to help!

New to the Horse Forum?
Please choose a username you will be satisfied with using for the duration of your membership at the Horse Forum. We do not change members' usernames upon request because that would make it difficult for everyone to keep track of who is who on the forum. For that reason, please do not incorporate your horse's name into your username so that you are not stuck with a username related to a horse you may no longer have some day, or use any other username you may no longer identify with or care for in the future.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Old Thread Warning
This thread is more than 90 days old. When a thread is this old, it is often better to start a new thread rather than post to it. However, If you feel you have something of value to add to this particular thread, you can do so by checking the box below before submitting your post.

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
"I Don't Spoil My Horse"? Sinister Horse Talk 15 02-08-2012 07:25 PM
How to spoil horse? Giftish ideas needed! IslandWave Horse Tack and Equipment 8 01-13-2011 11:09 PM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome