Being a 'strong' leader has nothing to do with whether you're successful using food treats IME. But being *consistent & clear* about what you reinforce(& what you don't) is vital, regardless what type of reinforcer you use.
'Pats or a kind voice' is actually (most?)often not even a positive reinforcement/reward for a horse at all. Pats/scratchies can be for some, some of the time, but are often something the horse has just learned to tolerate - often actually a punishment(undesireable). A 'kind voice' or whatever other noise you might make(eg a clicker) can become meaningful as a 'conditioned reinforcer'(eg. Pavlov's bell) *if it's consistently given at the same time as an actual reinforcer/reward*.
Originally Posted by MyBoyBlue182
Now like people some horses can become addicted to gambling - these would be the food aggressive horses that should not go to the casino at all!!!
Nah, I reckon it's a healthy addiction!
If done right, any horse can become 'addicted' to playing your games, which isn't a bad thing at all IMO. 'Food aggressive' horses are just those who haven't been taught their manners! They haven't learned that only 'cued' behaviours pay off & 'rudeness' never works.
People don't get 'addicted' to vending machines because they're boring, reliable & no surprises - unless they don't 'work', which gives people the s**ts because they've put their money in(performed the behaviour) so expect the goods. When bashing & shaking doesn't work, they give up & blame the machine. Kind of like getting into a new car & having it not turn over. You're not likely to try for long & you are likely to feel aggressive towards the manufacturer/seller.
Compared to pokies, which are fun & addictive because it's always worth a try, because you never know what you'll get, but you know you're in the running to get something highly desireable. If at first you don't succeed, try & try again, because the harder you try, the more likely a good payoff. Kind of like that old clunker in the driveway that you don't expect to start first pop, but you know if only you perservere, it'll eventually take you somewhere.