Super feed agressive! any ideas! - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 20 Old 11-21-2008, 09:07 PM
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Well, no wonder he acts aggressive, he's been whipped. I'd be angry too. But I don't see this as "bad behavior" per-say. I mean you certainly want to nip this in the bud, but labeling a horse as a biter, kicker, etc. is not fair to the horse, IMO. The horse is only doing what he feels needs to be done, for whatever reason. So in Jackson's case he is probably trying to dominate the human because he was the lowest man in the herd, OR, and have an open mind here, he is VERY unconfident (about being bullied like he used to be in the herd) and the only thing he feels he can do is act aggressive, and sometimes fear can come across as aggression. And this might certainly be the case because he has been whipped. Again, it could be either situation. Either he's saying "Don't you dare treat me that way" of he's saying "Just give me the food and get away from me" (in this case that one is fear).

Either way, this all starts with ground work. Take the time to let him graze. Go for nice walks with him, do a lot of bonding things, but also work on keeping him out of your space and make sure he respects your personal space. With feeding, as you approach his stall make sure you pay attention to his ears and where his focus is. If at any point he takes an ear away from you (you want both ears forward) or he looks away from you STOP. If as you approach he pins his ears STOP. Wait until his ears are forward and/or his expression softens. When you get to his stall DO NOT go in. That is his personal space, his bedroom, and you need permission to enter. If he does not approach you just wait, relaxed body language, energy turned off of him (but still watching him!). If he tries to approach with a nasty look take a lead rope and drive him back. You don't have to be mean or aggressive, just stay calm and drive him back. He is not allowed in until he has a nice look on his face. If he turns his butt to you take the lead rope and lightly flick him on the gaskin, but make sure you are out of kick range. You don't want to smack him, just irritate him enough to that he turns and gives you his attention again. When he gives you permission to come in (ears forward, nice expression) enter the stall, put the food down, and invite him in. If he gets nasty drive him back. If he is nice resist the urge to touch him. Just leave the stall. Through this whole exercise you are showing him "Look, I'm alpha here, but that doesn't mean you can be ugly and that doesn't mean you have to be afraid. I respect your space and thresholds but in turn you have to respect my space."

Be prepared for this to take time. Be patient and consistant. It will work, you just have to take the time it takes.
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post #12 of 20 Old 11-21-2008, 09:28 PM
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Good idea.

Always keep your head up, but be careful to keep your nose at a friendly level.

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post #13 of 20 Old 11-21-2008, 09:33 PM
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While I am all about establishing alpha at feed time, over food as a proper alpha mare should, when it comes to feed aggression that can be another kettle of fish. It often makes it worse.

First off, if this is a horse that is food aggressive cuz of neglect, it is best to find a way to feed him where you don't hafta come in contact with him. Once he realizes that he will be feed the same amount all the time (and seperate horses to feed, always) it helps, and within, say, 3 or 4 months you can start working on stall manners, but I would definately have a way to back him off when I go in his stall. Make him give you your space, but give him his as well. If he is food aggressive, I would personally work with him on stall manners WITHOUT feed, managing to feed him without coming in contact with him, and then when you have him being respectful and eventually lets you groom him in his stall (and all this without the added incentive of feed to aggrivate the situation), and loose (a sign you have reached the point where you could introduce feeding him and being in his stall with food). I did a variation of this for a mare I had that was food aggressive. It helped.

Know thyself, know thy horse.
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post #14 of 20 Old 11-22-2008, 12:27 PM
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when I have young horses that put their butts to me I will start flapping my arms like a crazy lady they hate that they cant see what i'm doing as well and as soon as they turn to see what it is I stop moving. Eventually I move my arm and cluck and they turn to face me because they know what i'm asking that way you arnt getting to close to thier butt and you are making it to where they dont want to have thier butt to you.
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post #15 of 20 Old 11-23-2008, 03:38 AM
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I have a gelding who is very stall agressive. I do believe it is mostly bluffing but would never take the chance. The first thing is that there is an "Attention" sign on his box. I do not bother him when he is in his box and just try to accept the fact that he has chosen it for his territory. He was a stable horse for lessons for 7 years and this is a just a defensive behavior he developed over the years there to scare people off. The riders had to groom and tack up in the stall. I never offer hand treat feeding when he is in his box. I take him out for stall cleaning and grooming. If he turns his rump to me I stand at the door with his halter and then he happily turns to me with his ears forward.
He is protective of his food and I feed him in an opposite corner so he is not eye-to-eye with his neighbors when eating. This seems to have reduced his stress a bit. I rotate who gets fed first and this has reduced door knocking and packing also.
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post #16 of 20 Old 11-23-2008, 08:23 AM
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i used to work with a horse how was foood aggressive, untill she stood without trying to rear she wouldn't get dinner. she was intelligent and picked it up really quickly.
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post #17 of 20 Old 11-23-2008, 09:00 AM
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Good point. When I reach the point with a horse where I am trying to feed them and enter thier stall, I would do the same thing. But I do try and get them used to the fact the WILL be fed first. I would try to put the feed in beofre they enter the stall, and let them get used to the place and get used to a set schedule of feeding first. Then, I enter the stall without food at first, and show that I deserve a bubble of personal space that they are not allowed in till I know they are gonna be nice. But I am a bit more tenatious than most people, too. First we work on stall manners, then we introduce the escallation of food into the mix. If they get pushy or bargy I walk right out and they miss that meal. I have used that technique for a few things, including using it on a pony that was BAD halter shy. (She had to willingly put on her halter to be fed. Took awhile, and I couldn't feed her if she didn't, but now you never have to chase her down to put a halter on her.)

Nice manners, or no supper. They got that way sometimes cuz someone would be scared and drop the feed and run. If the behavior brings hunger rather than a full tummy, they will reconsider.

Know thyself, know thy horse.
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post #18 of 20 Old 11-23-2008, 04:13 PM Thread Starter
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kay, thanks every body. i got my plan now. Going to work on some stall manners, brush him down really nice, do some ground work, tack him up, do some flatwork, do a little more ground work untacked, then let him graze, and ten maybe a little more stall manners. Thnaks for alll your help. I really want him to see my presences as a good thing.
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post #19 of 20 Old 11-23-2008, 05:10 PM
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I have a rule with my horses that they have to stay several meters away from the bucket unless i tell them its okay to approach. I feed them in the paddock or a small yard, when i first put the bucket down, i drive them away, usually with my body and voice, sometimes with a rope or lunge whip although i have never hit them with it, usually just cracking it is enough if they won't listen. If they try to approach the bucket before I ask them i drive them out again. Only when they stand still, a good respectful distance away, do i approach them, give them a rub on the head and tell them ok. then they're allowed to eat, and i leave them alone while they do so.
they also must back away from their feed if i approach them.

feeding our horse
I found the above website very useful, and there is a video about the trainer working with a young horse who is aggressive at feed time to the point where he tried to double barrell the trainer.
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post #20 of 20 Old 11-23-2008, 11:14 PM
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I have had two mare with feeding issues. The first was easier to deal with because she was sooo thin she didn't have energy to fight for the food. HOWEVER, the second one, just had issues. She still gets haltered and tied for feeding. I hang around and clean out the barn, throw down more hay and check out the horses for the day's bumps and scrapes. This gives her lots of time to eat, plus she is not nearly so bossy about food now. I started out slowly, but now I can do anything around her when she is eating. I still halter and tie her, but that has more to do with halter and ground training issues than feeding issues now.
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