How do I get her to stop eating?! - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 12 Old 04-25-2011, 10:36 AM Thread Starter
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How do I get her to stop eating?!

My 8 year old mare is a bit of a pig... She always tries to eat, regardless of where we are. This isn't a huge deal in the winter, but now that the grass has come up, it's getting to be an issue again. She's turned out on grass for most of the day, so she's definitely getting plenty of grass to eat. Last year I tried bringing a crop out with me when I'd bring her in, and every time she'd go to eat grass I'd smack her with the crop a few times until she'd start walking next to me. However even after months of doing that, and not letting her eat anywhere unless I let her (I'd let her hand graze for a few minutes after rides, but she could only put her head down when I said she could.) she still pulled just as much towards the grass.
Is there anything else I can do to get her to stop trying to eat all the time? She has pretty good ground manners for the most part- until she sees grass. Then she completely forgets who's in charge and I don't know exactly how to remind her she needs to listen to me, food or otherwise. Thanks in advance :)

Worth The Wait <3
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post #2 of 12 Old 04-25-2011, 05:00 PM
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Instead of smacking her try working her. Everytime she tries to put her head down while leading, riding ect put her to work in circles until her attention is back on you. Once she is focused on you and not the grass carry on like nothing happened and repeat repeat repeat. The key to this is consitency and if you remain diligent she will learn its not ok to pull and ignore you. I would stop hand grazing her for awhile as well at least until she learns she needs to listen when you say no, she won't understand why its ok sometimes when you're leading her but not always
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post #3 of 12 Old 04-25-2011, 05:07 PM
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I agree with rosie1. I had a horse with a similar problem and every time he tried to eat I would work him. He got the idea pretty quickly. This will only work as long as you are consistent though.
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post #4 of 12 Old 04-25-2011, 10:10 PM
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I agree with what the others said. It will make eating unpleasant when she is not in the pasture. Also, if you are worried your mare is eating too much in the pasture, try to get a grazing muzzle. My mare eats all the time but the grazing muzzle has helped quite a bit.
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post #5 of 12 Old 04-25-2011, 10:44 PM
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I agree with everything mentioned above.

Using the crop to get her attention and do what you ask may cause her too become un-responsive to the crop. Also to remember to praise her when she is leading well.

Sir Success. Eventer.
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post #6 of 12 Old 04-25-2011, 11:53 PM
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every 2nd time my horses put their head down to eat I allow them a mouthful and stand with them without trying to pull them around (if we weren't doing something more important at the time or wearing a bit of any description). Keeps them happy because horses enjoy grazing and I won't deny them that. Every other time they eat I trot them around a bit. Keeps me happy because I don't enjoy having to drag a horse with it's head down trying to get grass all the time.

Of course if it's a problem I wouldn't allow it untill they became soft and followed me around being light on their lead. But once that's achieved there's no harm in allowing them a few bites every now and agian.

Last edited by christopher; 04-25-2011 at 11:55 PM.
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post #7 of 12 Old 04-26-2011, 12:12 AM
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Hand grazing is a bad thing is the hrose is pushy or ignoring of the handler. If you want her to hand graze, drop the rope and let her trail it on the ground. If she steps on it, it'll teach her to release herself from pressure.
When she is on line and you hold the line, the is NONONONONON grazing. Ever. If you are %100 consistent, she will learn that when you pick up the lead, she is on the job. When you lay it on the ground, free time.
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post #8 of 12 Old 04-26-2011, 01:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyliny View Post
Hand grazing is a bad thing is the hrose is pushy or ignoring of the handler. If you want her to hand graze, drop the rope and let her trail it on the ground. If she steps on it, it'll teach her to release herself from pressure.
When she is on line and you hold the line, the is NONONONONON grazing. Ever. If you are %100 consistent, she will learn that when you pick up the lead, she is on the job. When you lay it on the ground, free time.
This could be potentially very dangerous, for some horses.

Sir Success. Eventer.
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post #9 of 12 Old 04-26-2011, 08:45 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys! I gave her a mini-bath today, and the "wash stall" at the place I board is a hose and grass, so it's certainly some work keeping her still to clean her up. Buttt, we were getting somewhere by the end! I'll definitely try making her work when she goes to eat.

For you two^^... I agree, that could definitely be dangerous. My mare fortunately has the common sense to pick up her feet when she steps on a lead, but I'm always afraid if she were to spook at something she could get caught up in it and hurt herself. I think I'll just try looping it over her ears, so she isn't being held, per se, but she can't hurt herself as easily :)

Thanks again everyone!

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post #10 of 12 Old 04-26-2011, 10:38 PM
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I usually give them a chance-give a bump with the lead rope and a firm 'NO'. If they really brace (my two year old tried that, he weighs in at a firm 800-900 pounds with a neck of steel) then I make them do a few circles. Really get into it like "WHOO HOO WE'RE WORKING NOW!"

It's terribly uninteresting, but walking up and down up and down over the grass is good practice. Make her stand tied over the grass for an hour or so. Oh yes, that grass will start to look less and less delicious

Wait! I'll fix it....
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