food aggression - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 03-05-2011, 11:39 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: USA
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Exclamation food aggression

help please! my horse is very food aggressive, he has a very bad habit about trying to kick people when you get around him while he is eating what should i do to break this horrible habit? pleeeeease help! 8-(
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post #2 of 4 Old 03-05-2011, 12:35 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: North Dakota, USA
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How is your horse otherwise? Does he show agression or disrespect any other times? Is he aggressive when you give him his food? I would guess that he is aggressive when you give him food. Whenever a horse shows aggression when giving them the food, I make them move away and stay away until I move away from their food. If they are in a stall, I make them stand at the back of the stall. When they remain there and I have put the food down, I go and rub their neck once as a cue that they can go to the food and a reward for standing back. If they move forward before I rub them, I make them go back to the back and stand. In my opinion, I'm the one that determines when and where they eat, not them. This is one way of establishing that you are their leader.

You could use reverse psycology with him. In a roundpen or enclosed area that has no food options for him, carry a bowl of grain and let him come up to you. I would have a cue stick or whip also. If he shows agression at any time, get after him and make him move away. You could also use a hay bag with hay in it. When he comes to you to eat, let him as long as you can touch him. Start out with just a little grain and touching him on the forehead. When he finishes it, walk out and let him be for at least 10 minutes so he can think about it. Try again with a little more grain. If he allows you to hold the bowl and touch him, you could try setting the bowl down the next time and pet him. If he allows you to touch him with the grain on the ground, I would then try using some hay. It takes longer for him to eat it. As he is eating, slowly work back along his side while rubbing him but don't go behind. Repeat for the other side unless you have enough time and he is still eating. Again, if he shows agression at any time, get after him and make him move away. Do not hesitate to whack him hard on the butt if he tries to turn it toward you.

Everyone should be allowed at least one bad habit, and that's NOT owning a horse!

Mares RULE! Geldings drool!
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post #3 of 4 Old 03-05-2011, 12:58 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: USA
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alright thanks.. i'll see if that helps :) ... hopefully it wont take to long cuz he can be very stubborn
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post #4 of 4 Old 03-05-2011, 01:06 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Alberta, Canada
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I agree with the above advice. Showing agression of his food towards you or anyone is a blatant display of disrespect. He does not see you as his leader and it is good for you to work on this with and without food.
Teach him on a lead line to come to as well as go away from you (backing up) whenever you ask. Also get him good at yielding his hindquarters on the ground. A horse that moves his bum can't kick you (same goes for a horse that yields his forehand wont bite you). It's how they act in a herd and the lower members of the herd never kick or bite the leader no matter what.
Like usandpets said, dont be afraid to smack him good on the butt. Start with light pressure & if he doesn't respond then increase it until his does move away.

"If a horse fails to do something that is because he was not trained to do it. If a horse fails to do something properly that is because he was not trained properly."
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