Food Aggressive Horse
   

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Food Aggressive Horse

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  • 5 year old horse bites food aggression
  • Food aggression in horses

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    04-29-2013, 05:17 PM
  #1
Foal
Food Aggressive Horse

Problem - My horse that I have had almost a year (May 11!) is food aggressive.

Backround info - When we got Splash, he was a little is grumpy towards people when eating hay and especially grain. He would pin his ears, stomp his back feet, and sometimes would charge. He would never bite though.

We treated him for ulcers, because he was in 8 homes since the age of two since we got him (he was 5). The treating of ulcers helped with his working attitude.

Ever since we got Splash, he has had training issues to re-train him in - which is fine, but we waited on the food aggressiveness until he had more groundwork and respect for us first.

We put him on Succeed, a digestive conditioning supplement to help prevent ulcers or anything else like that. This also helped with his temperament.

Splash is a total different horse with his halter and lead on when he is eating. He doesn't care if you are petting him, blanketing, ect. Even with grain.

Over the months, he would get into the habit of "snake heading" at people and biting the air, never people. We would patiently wait for him to stop and then reward him by walking away or praising with pets.

When Splash gets grain or hay my trainer and I always wait for him to perk his ears and stand. This habit has made him less jittery and mad when feeding.

What Splash is doing now - Splash this morning got fed hay, and the man that fed Splash walked to the next horse and fed him too. Everything was fine. The man walked back past Splash's stall and Splash lunged out and bite him in the shoulder. Thankfully the man had a sweatshirt on so he was OK.

Splash is getting worse, when we first got him he only threatened, now he is lunging and biting.

Any ideas???
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File Type: jpg handsome splash.jpg (50.5 KB, 119 views)
     
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    04-29-2013, 05:26 PM
  #2
Super Moderator
Its nice that you wait til his ears are up and he stands quietly to offer his food, but since he never seems to have any negative consequences to the clacking of teeth, and worse, the snaking of the head, then he has no reason to quit that.

You might need to change your approach and stop that behavior when it starts , instead of waiting for him to decide to give it up and allowing him to do it for an interlude.

Chris Irwin has some great videos on how to deal with a food aggressive horse. Chris is a very patient trainer and does not use aggressive training techniques, but still gets results. He uses a stick and will interrupt the horse's aggressive thought very early on, before it even gets anywhere near to actually biting. This is the way to go, not to allow them to develop so far into actualy snaking and biting. Believe me, the horse is thinking about it, and it will be evident in his body language, long before acting onit. When he starts thinking about it is the time to interrupt that, and make that something unpleasant to continue, for the horse.
     
    04-29-2013, 06:28 PM
  #3
Weanling
Dear Splash needs a major attitude adjustment, and you're not the one
To give it to him. This behavior could kill you, or anyone near him, in
A heart beat. Just imagine his bite to the feeder, being the feeder's head and not
His shoulder.(dead feeder). A horse like this can crush a human skull
Instantly.

What's worse, you are aware of his problem and have made your parents liable for any damage he may cause.

I don't agree with beating horse's, but in this case, a proper belt at the right time is far over due.

Either get rid of the horse or find a trainer that can fix it before you have
The accident, that is waiting to happen. It is not a matter of, if, but rather, when.

Don't mean to be mean about it, but a teenage girl's live is much more
Important than this horse.
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    04-29-2013, 06:50 PM
  #4
Super Moderator
I am certainly another who believes in sorting this sort of behaviour head on.

I would never ever ignore the food aggression 'until the ground manners and respect' were better. It would have been the first thing I addressed.

I would have gone into his stable with his feed. The moment he came at me with his ears back or snaking his head, he would have got the feed - in the bucket - wrapped across his nose. My follow through would be to then go into attack mode and chase him so he was moving backwards around the stable with me kicking the bucket so he kept hitting it with his legs.
Then I would pick up the bucket and walk put. He had his feed and he could jolly well find it in his bed.

That is it. Done correctly one session would be enough and bet your bottom dollar he would stand back next time I walked in with his food.

I will always address any problem as it arises. If there are several then I will take on the worse - once that is sorted the others frequently disappear.
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    04-29-2013, 07:05 PM
  #5
Trained
Since he's now to the point of having attacked a human, put him down. I don't believe in retraining a horse that will attack a human. You had your chance to fix the problem before it got this far and you (your trainer very definitely included) failed to address it timely and in my barn it would be a death sentence. He's now a huge liability to you, your trainer, your parents and the barn owner. The next one he bites may not be so lucky as to only have an injured sweatshirt and could end up suing the fire out of everyone involved with this horse.
     
    04-29-2013, 07:10 PM
  #6
Super Moderator
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreamcatcher Arabians    
Since he's now to the point of having attacked a human, put him down. I don't believe in retraining a horse that will attack a human. You had your chance to fix the problem before it got this far and you (your trainer very definitely included) failed to address it timely and in my barn it would be a death sentence. He's now a huge liability to you, your trainer, your parents and the barn owner. The next one he bites may not be so lucky as to only have an injured sweatshirt and could end up suing the fire out of everyone involved with this horse.
I think this is way over the top. It is not a major issue and can easily enough be sorted.

I ask you in all seriousness, would you put down a foal that attacked a human?
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    04-29-2013, 07:27 PM
  #7
Started
Judging from this history (5 year old horse needs respect for me!), this horse has a very dangerous nature. The only thing worse than a horse with food aggression is a horse that will go after you on a longe line. This horse needs the fear of god put into him or put out or put down.

You bet your butt if my yearling ever intentionally attacked me on the longeline or in her stall her butt would be out on the street. Some horses are just born with nasty attitudes regardless of previous training. You either treat these horses like stallions or get rid of them.

I always give myself permission to be twice as nasty to a nasty horse. You better bet if a horse ever offered to bite me, that horse would fear for his short life. But I've owned an aggressive horse before, and they are frankly exhausting. You always have to be on your toes and you always have to be disciplining them to keep them in order. I likened it to my horse being in the military and I was a drill sargeant.

Now I have a horse with a very pleasant attitude and she is a joy to work with every day. Life is too short to grind through that nasty behavior day after day.
     
    04-29-2013, 07:46 PM
  #8
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by Foxhunter    
I think this is way over the top. It is not a major issue and can easily enough be sorted.

I ask you in all seriousness, would you put down a foal that attacked a human?
This is a full grown horse (5 years old) with MAJOR respect and aggression issues. You can consider it "not a major issue" but I feel it is a HUGE issue for me. I won't tolerate an aggressive horse and if I had a boarder with an aggressive horse, they would have to move forthwith.

A FOAL is not a full grown horse with a track record. It's not the same conversation at all.
     
    04-29-2013, 08:01 PM
  #9
Weanling
"I would have gone into his stable with his feed. The moment he came at me with his ears back or snaking his head, he would have got the feed - in the bucket - wrapped across his nose. My follow through would be to then go into attack mode and chase him so he was moving backwards around the stable with me kicking the bucket so he kept hitting it with his legs.
Then I would pick up the bucket and walk put. He had his feed and he could jolly well find it in his bed."

And with most of these, you'd be the looser. Your method borders on insanity and, a will, to leave this world.

If your going to fix horses like this, you stay out of their reach while doing it. Believe me, I've been there and done that, and it is no picnic.
     
    04-29-2013, 08:11 PM
  #10
Weanling
Get an experienced person who knows what they are doing to help you through these issues, or eventually you are going to get hurt. It may take a couple of sessions to give you the skills and knowledge to deal with these issues, or it may take more than a couple, but it is worth it for your safety and for the horse as well.
     

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