Feeding problem - How do you

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Feeding problem - How do you

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  • How to stop horses from crowding at feeding time
  • Horse crowds gate for feeding

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    02-18-2012, 10:09 AM
Feeding problem - How do you

Feed your horses without danger?

We have 3 horses and a donkey. When it's time to feed, they all crowd the gate. When you walk in with the food bucket, they push and bite at each other and try to pull the bucket out of your hand.

Last week, my Buckskin wouldn't get in his stall so my hubby took his feed and was walking out of the pasture. He rared up on my hubby and thankfully was too far away and missed him. He ran in front of him and kicked, just barely hitting his chest enough to leave a sand print on his jacket.

My hubby won't let me feed them anymore.

They are very well behaved any other time except feeding.
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    02-18-2012, 10:13 AM
Green Broke
Take a dressage whip with you, or a lunge whip if needed, and teach them space. My horses are not allowed to eat until I say, I make them stand and wait.
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    02-18-2012, 10:15 AM
Green Broke
I'd walk out with a lunge whip & use it. They can learn to stand back until you're finished.
minihorse927 likes this.
    02-18-2012, 10:24 AM
Green Broke
Take a whip and smack them if they get to close. Between feedings, work on their ground manners and respect of your space. Plain and simple. They have no respect when food is involved.

I feed 9 horses in one pasture. I take 3 large bowls and three small bowls in. I never let any of them come within 5 feet of me while I have a bowl. If they try, I swing the whip around. If they are too close, they will get a whack. Lately, I haven't had to take the whip with and they still stay back. If they were to start crowding, out comes the whip again.

Respect is not something I ask for, especially at feeding time. I demand it for my safety. If they decide to try and take another horses bowl, I can walk towards them to move them by just the way I'm walking. I can then walk up to them when they are at the right bowl and pet them. That is how I know they respect me.
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minihorse927 and Kayty like this.
    02-18-2012, 10:28 AM
Ok when it comes to feeding time - especially in a situation where the human is vulnerable because of lack of confidence - you need to take precaution because they get so excited they can hurt you. At feeding time it can become extremely chaotic as the horse establish the pecking order and yes they will trample you if you get in the way of that order. It is like a feeding frenzy of sorts and I know exactly what you are talking about. First off YOU must establish order. They will follow what you want if you establish a game plan. The anticipation of the feed is what is getting them excited. If you put them in the barn to be fed then BEFORE you ever go near the feed put them in their stalls. Don't get it out, don't open up the feed shed, don't carry any buckets at all...nothing to indicate that they are about to be fed. Put them up in their stalls THEN get the food. OR if you feel froggy and want to correct this right now and establish some control over your herd as leader, get yourself a lunge whip, grab your bucket, and go out into the feild with some confidence and ANY horse that makes a run at you for food you crack that whip at them and let them no your not going to tolerate being bullied outta food. When you let a horse bully you out of food by coming at you ears penned, pushing in your space, and letting them grab at the food you are telling them you are submissive-especially if you just dump the food and get the hell outta their way. In the horse world that's how you know who's on top. Who eats first and can chase others outta the food. With your whip in hand send them out far far far away from you...don't let them come close. Most often they are going to retreat out and stare at you...they may move around abit but they should at least respect the whip. Pour out the food in their pans but DON't let them come into eat. If they come in chase them out. Right there you have asserted yourself as leader. Make them wait out away from you...try counting to say 30 seconds then slowly walk away but if ANY of them make a run at you or do anything that seems like they are dominating the situation send them back out. Do this for a week or so and watch how their attitudes towards feeding change. IF you don't handle them they WILL handle you. They can respect you at feeding time BUT you have to be the one to teach them to respect you. And if they are crowding you at the gate making it difficult to even open the gate send their butts out out with that whip. You shouldn't live with having problems getting in the pasture. That's a really dangerous habit to let go on. That gate needs to stay clear.
minihorse927, Kayty and Foxhunter like this.
    02-18-2012, 01:50 PM
Thanks for all the information.

The Buckskin only did that one time and hubby popped him with the rope. They never pin their ears back at us or crowd the gate where we can't get in. They just wait there because I feed them treats in the morning and evening by the gate.

They have gotten better in the last week with going into their stalls but they follow hubby in there. I'm going to tell him to start putting them in the stall first and then get their food.
    02-18-2012, 02:13 PM
Both methods work, but like others here, I prefer to make sure they understand when it comes to food I'm the boss.

Mine big group are fed from a trough, and they have to let me walk to teh trough and dump the buckets before they eat. We go through cycles with this, I take the whip for a few times, everyone remembers their manners, I stop taking the whip. Overtime they start gradually becoming a little more pushy, so out comes the whip for a few days until everyone remembers, then we are good for a while.

Also it isn't the whip that is the magic, that just helps you stay out of range, the magic comes from you being dominant in thought, word, body stance and action. You have to believe that you are the boss, and then it's easier to make them believe it as well.
herdbound likes this.
    02-18-2012, 02:28 PM
When I just moved my 2 mares from boarding facility to my place they were like that too: crazy! My mom was afraid to feed them. I simply took a stick with me and 1) they MUST back off and wait for me to walk in, and then 2) they did NOT get a bucket until they stand quietly behind me waiting till the bucket goes on fence. About 2 weeks was enough for them to learn that feed is coming and that I don't tolerate cr*p.

BTW, when my qh tried to chase the paint off her bucket (because qh eats very fast, while paint always been a slow eater), my mom simply smacked her butt with the manure fork handler. Hard. Once was enough for qh to learn the lesson: now she just stands by the hay waiting for the paint to leave the bucket (so she can walk there and leak on it).
    02-18-2012, 02:29 PM
Originally Posted by Golden Horse    
Also it isn't the whip that is the magic, that just helps you stay out of range, the magic comes from you being dominant in thought, word, body stance and action. You have to believe that you are the boss, and then it's easier to make them believe it as well.
100% agree.
    02-18-2012, 03:17 PM
That's a great idea about them chasing each other. Our Draft/TB mix is the first finished and he's out of the stall and trying to get in the other stalls. We have a temporary set up right now with no barn. We have the stalls wooden in with a rope across the entrance. The Draft/TB jumps the rope when he's finished eating.

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