Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Washington, USA.
I imagine you are feeding him treats in the bucket so you aren't hand-feeding them? In all reality, it's the same thing. The only difference is you can protect your fingers while treating him in a bucket, but it will create the same bad manners if you had just used your hands.
For grain, my filly has a hard time giving my space when I put the tub down. I bring my dressage whip into the stall with me, and get her to back off. She must hang out away from me and "stay," much like a dog would, until I give her the okay to come eat.
The same technique in reverse, have your horse tied in the barn. Put his grain where he usually eats it, and lead him back to his stall. If he gets over-excited or pushy, turn around [away from you] and head the opposite way. Rotate between that and halting/backing up a few steps, and continuing to walk right by the stall entrance.
My friend backs her mare into the stall if she gets too rushy. Also, don't take his halter off and let him run away. You should step away before he steps towards his grain. Keep his lead rope wrapped around his neck, and slowly, slowly, take his halter off. Unbuckle it and slowly work it down his face. Hold his nose until he's calm. When you release his nose, use the wrapped lead rope on his neck to remind him that you are still there, and he still has to wait. Then slowly take the lead rope away. When you step away, that should be his "okay."
In short, his problem is not the blue bucket. He has bad manners, and they would show up as soon as he realized a different colored bucket still meant treats and grain.
I know this is getting long, but regarding treats. I do not give my little one treats. Ever. She's still a baby and still gets pushy, I won't give her the excuse. She gets lovings. It doesn't hurt her feelings any to not get treats. I just don't give my mare treats in front of her. With my mare, she knows how to "leave it." She can't take a treat from me, I have to bring the treat to her lips. I taught her just like you'd teach a dog. I hold a treat in my hands, and poke her nose away every time she reaches for it. When she directs her attention elsewhere, I give her the treat. The only exception is when we stretch, and she knows the difference because I have cues for stretches. I scratch her loins when I want her to stretch to her hips, I scratch the chestnuts on her front legs when I want her to bring a leg forward and stretch down.
"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds."