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Food aggression

This is a discussion on Food aggression within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category

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        12-01-2013, 04:01 PM
      #11
    Super Moderator
    I am with Cherie on this one. If he attacks over food then when he doesn't like something else he might well do the same again.

    When a horse comes at me because it is being fed I will give it it's feed in the bucket wrapped straight around its head, hard and I will continue to go on the attack chasing it backwards around the stable until it is sitting in its manger biting its toenails.
    I will then walk out and leave it to eat its feed off the floor.

    I do not tolerate any food aggression at all. I expect to be able to go I to a stable whilst a horse is eating, top up its water, skip out any droppings and that horse will continue to eat but will automatically move over without a thought of kicking or being anything else but nice and polite.

    I had a horse come to me whilst the owner was on holiday. I was told to halter him before feeding to lead him whilst I put the food in the manger and lead him back to the door, go out the door and remove the halter. Oh boy, the time that would take if I had to do it with every horse!

    I start the way I mean to go on and put his feed in a deep bucket, fed him in the manger at the back of the stable and he immediately started to kick. I held the bucket at arms length so he kicked it. The bucket went spinning, hit the wall, bounced beautifully, hitting him on the head - which had stopped eating when he hit the bucket. It frightened the heck out of him and as he spun away so I kicked the bucket between his legs and kept doing so as he rushed around the stable.
    Next morning I walked in and fed him. One word and he moved over to allow me out and never a thought of kicking. Cured with me in one short sharp lesson. He never did it with his owner either.
    I will say I was most surprised that this horse had been allowed to do this because his owner was a very experienced international event rider. She did ask of I had given him a hiding and I could in all honestly I say that I had not laid a finger on him!
         
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        12-01-2013, 04:55 PM
      #12
    Super Moderator
    The only thing that concerns me, Foxhunter, about doing this IN a stall, is if the owner is not very quick on her feet, and all hell breaks loose, being inside a small stall might not be the best idea. If a person is really focussed and confident about doing this, it's one thing, but if they are not , they may touch off a violent reaction and be neither able to keep it on the other side of the stall, nor quick enough to dodge the results.
    One would just have to be very careful to not get pinched between the horse and the wall.
    Ian McDonald and elbandita like this.
         
        12-01-2013, 05:41 PM
      #13
    Foal
    What precisely is the element of food aggression in horses?


    How might someone distinguish this behavior from anxiety complications to just being aggressive like the top horse would deal with a lower ranking horse?
    Ian McDonald likes this.
         
        12-01-2013, 06:29 PM
      #14
    Showing
    The cause of food aggression doesn't matter. What does matter is that there is a lack of respect for whomever is feeding.
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        12-01-2013, 06:29 PM
      #15
    Yearling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by elbandita    
    What precisely is the element of food aggression in horses?


    How might someone distinguish this behavior from anxiety complications to just being aggressive like the top horse would deal with a lower ranking horse?
    Indeed, good observation. It could be any of the above or combinations of reasons. Tinyliny brought it to light as well. If a person doesn't know how and where and when to move their feet, surprising things could happen! It's often overlooked that the horse mirrors your intent and energy in his responses. It could be likely that this is carried-over from prior owners, environments and experiences. To break the pattern you may have to be firm and command a lot of attention (respect), but without being aggressive yourself thus setting it up to get the same thing back from him. Sometimes when you tag one on the butt with the popper on your lead rope, he kicks you.

    Can you protect your life and your space when things get dangerous, but stay as calm as if you were just brushing him on a sunny day and everything was good between you? That's the very difference between getting one good as a result of your correction or confirming the behavior even more.
    elbandita likes this.
         
        12-01-2013, 08:33 PM
      #16
    Super Moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ian McDonald    
    Indeed, good observation. It could be any of the above or combinations of reasons. Tinyliny brought it to light as well. If a person doesn't know how and where and when to move their feet, surprising things could happen! It's often overlooked that the horse mirrors your intent and energy in his responses. It could be likely that this is carried-over from prior owners, environments and experiences. To break the pattern you may have to be firm and command a lot of attention (respect), but without being aggressive yourself thus setting it up to get the same thing back from him. Sometimes when you tag one on the butt with the popper on your lead rope, he kicks you.

    Can you protect your life and your space when things get dangerous, but stay as calm as if you were just brushing him on a sunny day and everything was good between you? That's the very difference between getting one good as a result of your correction or confirming the behavior even more.
    I appreciate you giving me so much credit, but I wasn't really taking that as far as you thought I was. Only that the kind of "throw the bucket " at him reaction might create more of an explosion than a person would feel able to deal with in a stall, and could just end up in someone getting hurt.

    I know I would have trouble disciplining a horse that threatened my life and wellbeing, without becoming angry and aggressive myself. It's a very natural reaction. Horse causes me fear, I find myself inraged. Some folks run, and some folks fight back. I'd likely fightback, and it could work, or could make the horse more aggressive. I know it's not helpful to get enraged, but fear like that is hard to keep in its' place.
    I am glad I don't have to deal with this sort of behavior.
    A few times that I've brought grain to Mac, and he's tried to push in, I set the tone at the very beginning, just when he starts pinning his ears and starts to thinking about pushing in on me. I make him move off. He isn't "happy" about it, but he moves of. But he is pretty textbook as horses go.
         
        12-02-2013, 09:31 PM
      #17
    Yearling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tinyliny    
    I appreciate you giving me so much credit, but I wasn't really taking that as far as you thought I was. Only that the kind of "throw the bucket " at him reaction might create more of an explosion than a person would feel able to deal with in a stall, and could just end up in someone getting hurt.

    I know I would have trouble disciplining a horse that threatened my life and wellbeing, without becoming angry and aggressive myself. It's a very natural reaction. Horse causes me fear, I find myself inraged. Some folks run, and some folks fight back. I'd likely fightback, and it could work, or could make the horse more aggressive. I know it's not helpful to get enraged, but fear like that is hard to keep in its' place.
    I am glad I don't have to deal with this sort of behavior.
    A few times that I've brought grain to Mac, and he's tried to push in, I set the tone at the very beginning, just when he starts pinning his ears and starts to thinking about pushing in on me. I make him move off. He isn't "happy" about it, but he moves of. But he is pretty textbook as horses go.
    Nods. It's a challenge certainly. Maybe the biggest single challenge that we face in dealing with horses are these fears of getting hurt or maybe, also of the horse learning a bad lesson. But it sounds like you recognize it! Many don't, and attribute ALL responsibility to the horse's fault! Maybe you don't give yourself enough credit. ;) Hey, I'm not as good in this area as I want to be yet either but also believe that as long as we're looking for it, we can't help but find it eventually. It IS a process!
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        12-02-2013, 09:49 PM
      #18
    Weanling
    feeding our horse

    One of my favourite online gurus.
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