Horse Eating on Trails - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 28 Old 10-15-2012, 01:03 PM Thread Starter
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I think I will just have to keep trying different methods and seeing which ones he responds to best. He is a great horse and is a fast learner...sometimes :P

I don't want to put a riding muzzle on him because he already has to wear a grazing muzzle on the farm because he has Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS). When I go out riding I ride for several hours at a time and that's when I allow him to freely eat a little bit of grass to help his condition but I make sure he doesn't eat so much as to offset the exercising.
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post #12 of 28 Old 10-15-2012, 01:13 PM
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I think that's where the issue is. You could dismount and let him graze and ride him with the muzzle. Riding time is working time and be will learn that he's not to eat while you're up there. Right now he doesn't know when it's okay to eat and when it's not.
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post #13 of 28 Old 10-15-2012, 01:20 PM
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Unfortunately, some people let their horses stop to graze while they are riding. This starts a habit that is hard to break. I never let my horses even take one bite of grass while I am riding. If they need to graze, I get off. Correct it by pulling his head up before he starts eating. If he is pulling through your snaffle, you may want to go to a curb.

As far as trees, that is weird. You say he wears a grazing muzzle. Do you think he is just really hungry? Does he always wear the grazing muzzle? I hate those things. I would rather keep my horse up than to have him frustrated 24/7 seeing grass, wanting it, and being hungry and unable to eat it. If he can't have grass for a medical reason, be sure his belly is full of hay before you ride.

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post #14 of 28 Old 10-15-2012, 01:21 PM Thread Starter
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I do dismount him when I allow him to graze. If I have him at a stop or if I'm giving him a breather after going up a long steep hill, I keep him away from possible eating areas and keep his head up so he doesn't get tempted.
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post #15 of 28 Old 10-15-2012, 01:26 PM Thread Starter
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With my horse going for trees I think it is just easier for him to reach them. He has to wear the grazing muzzle mainly in the spring and summer when the grass is really green. With EMS he has insulin problems in which his body isn't turning the sugar in the grass into glucose to help his body. At the bottom of the muzzle is a tiny hole so that he can still get grass just not as much as if he didn't have it. Whenever he is not on the grass I make sure he has plenty of hay because I know he doesn't get as much to eat. Before I ride, especially when we are out camping, I give him plenty of hay in the morning and when we get back from riding.
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post #16 of 28 Old 10-15-2012, 04:32 PM
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Be alert and see what he is likely to snatch at and when getting closer to it use your whip and the opposite rein to the side that the branch is.

Get tougher, a jerk with a rein is not going to do any real damage and he needs to know that you mean business.
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post #17 of 28 Old 10-15-2012, 04:36 PM
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If my horse manages to snatch up a mouthful despite my best efforts I go one step farther - I pull his head around towards me and pull his ill-gotten goods right out of his flappy horse lips. I don't know if it makes a difference but it makes me feel better.
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post #18 of 28 Old 10-15-2012, 04:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Cloudlover View Post
I've done that before and that does help! When I bop him on the butt he does speed up and sometimes will actually continue to reach out and grab stuff. Sometimes he likes to grab at branches when we're going down a steep hill and he knows he is gonna get bopped for it and will speed up going down the hill. That method has worked well for me when we are walking on a straightaway but not so much when going down hill lol :P
Pull his head around and do a quick circle (if you're in a place you can. )
Practice in a safe place for a while
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post #19 of 28 Old 10-15-2012, 04:53 PM
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I've always popped them in the mouth before they got a chance to grab it, be they in a snaffle, a small curb, or a harsh curb. One pop will not make them hard-mouthed, and it's never failed to work for me. After the first few, they'll stop as long as it isn't a baby pop. Jerk your reins and catch them in the mouth, not just a nudge.

I'm probably going to get hell for this, but I haven't had one instance where the horse didn't want to take the bit next time, continue to snatch snacks on the trail, or become hard-mouthed.

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post #20 of 28 Old 10-15-2012, 04:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Cloudlover View Post
I do dismount him when I allow him to graze. If I have him at a stop or if I'm giving him a breather after going up a long steep hill, I keep him away from possible eating areas and keep his head up so he doesn't get tempted.
THIS is probably the best thing to do--make it clear when he can graze and when he cannot. Horses' guts are designed for 8 small meals/day. If you go on a very long, like all day ride, you'll need to either bring forage, or stop for grazing during the day, or else the bacteria and stomach juices will have nothing to dissolve. SOME horses develop ulcers bc of this. I don't believe that they should be stopping whenever they want to eat, just like I don't believe that my horse under saddle should stop to defecate since I see them often (in my back yard) defecate while walking, trotting or cantering with the herd. Movement helps a horse to digest, just like it helps keep relaxed walking, like on a trail ride.
I'm changing how I trail ride next year. DH and I are planning on a week long, SD trip. I'm bringing my horse's feed bags--they look like this~
Cavalry Feed bag (w/leather on the bottom, leather venting and harness leather crown piece)
Civil War Cavalry Saddles, Gear, & Accessories
and filling them with measured out alfalfa cubes, so that we can stop a few times and give them "2nd breakfast" and a lunch break next to a water source.
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