Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Adirondacks, NY
• Horses: 0
Food aggression can be different from other types of aggression, that's why it can be so startling to see a "good boy" start acting up with it. You may want to spend time being near him while he eats. I'ts normal for most horses to not want to be bothered while they eat, and there's no reason to make him think you want to steal his food, so spend time near him while he eats. Let him know that your intentions are to be near HIM, not his food. The pats on the neck may help do that. Talk to him as you feed him and don't back right off, but stay there after you place his hay down. Look like you have better things to do than steal his hay, but don't be in his way as he tries to eat. He is focusing on his food, and that is fine, but you don't want him to focus on it so much that he's acting disrespectful. Your horse should always allow to approach him, eating or not.
You may also want to try leading him from his hay while he's eating, loop him around, then lead him back to it. This shows him that YOU are boss and though you need him to leave his hay for a moment, he can still come back to it when you're done with him. I only recommend doing this if he's not threatening you with naything more than laying his ears back. ...
Some horses are also good with just a firm "NO" when they act like this too. Ella likes to give a little back kick with one leg when I walk away from her after leaving her hay....I swiftly say "NO!" and push her butt and she stops.