Too Many Treats? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 26 Old 11-16-2008, 09:28 PM Thread Starter
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Too Many Treats?

I've just started to really work with my otsb, and I'm a huge treat giver. Especially while training. I don't give them a treat for a everything, but I do give them a few treats while grooming, during stretching exercises, for tricks, etc.
I've found out the hard way that Snafu, the otsb, is very obnoxious about it.

He will get angry and pout if I don't give him a treat while tied up. He won't stand still while I try to groom him b/c he keeps turning around to try and get a treat. While I'm riding him, he'll stop everything and bend his neck to his butt hoping to get a treat (I have him stretch like this on the ground for a treat). I've come to realize that he is now only allowed a treat when I first get to the barn, and just before I leave. NONE OTHERWISE. lol

My mare is a completely different story, besides following people around while smiling, she never really begs for a treat. She'll be the first one to the gate if customers want to feed them carrots, but what horse wouldn't? lol She'll turn her head once and a while I groom her and I'll give her a treat, but she doesn't do it nonstop and she doesn't move from side to side either. I don't think she's too spoiled from it.

I have a friend who feeds her horses treats like a supplement with their grain. She always adds a few treats to their meal. Now I don't think I'll ever go that far, but yea...

I guess some horses handle it different than others. Do any of you have problems with horses and treats? While training or any other time?
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post #2 of 26 Old 11-16-2008, 09:51 PM
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I know people that go either way about treats. Many horses do get pushy or start to nip, ecpecially if you hand feed them. Personally, we only give our mares a cup of grain or an apple, but only after we're done doing work (riding/grooming/trimming/etc) and they are always well mannered.

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post #3 of 26 Old 11-16-2008, 09:52 PM
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Yes you have to be very careful about giving treats.

I have done a little bit of clicker training before, which requires a treat after the clicker for good behaviour.
I thought this was good at keeping my horse paitient ( especially since hes a greedy bugger ) while waiting for the treat. As if he got pushy or did a trick with out being asked he got ignored/ no click - no treat. It didnt take long for him to realise he has to wait for me to give other wise he gets nothing.

You just have to be very direct and on to it about when to give the treat, and immedietly correct any wrong behaviour.
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post #4 of 26 Old 11-16-2008, 09:59 PM
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I personally almost never give treats... Everyone tells me I should give them and stuff, but they make my gelding get snappish and my mare... I just don't give them...

You're got to be very careful when it comes to treats.. too much of a good thing.

Horseshoe Loop Farm: Home of Gypsie (22 y/o TWH mare), Dakota (10 y/o TWH gelding) & Codie (18 y/o Walkaloosa gelding)
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post #5 of 26 Old 11-16-2008, 10:10 PM
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I think treat giving and the ammount should depend on the horse. I know some that I could give them a million treats and they'd still never beg...where as others look for treats constantly and are downright pushy and rude about getting them.
Sonny isn't too bad about them...he knows where I store my treats, so he'll constantly go over and sniff my pockets, but he's never been pushy about them and he gets out of my space when I want him to.
I definately use treats alot....I use them for stretching, for rewards and such
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post #6 of 26 Old 11-16-2008, 10:17 PM
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I never give treats; if the horse has been good, I put a carrot in the crib. Or on the ground.

I can accpt treats when trick training, but the you have to have a good timing, never give treats unless you gave the horse a cue to do something and he did it. And not untill he has done it, otherwise it's a bribe :P

To just give treats without reason is never good.. some horses can live with it without getting bad, but most can't. And the treat doesn't make the horse happuer either, just upset when he doesn't get it.


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post #7 of 26 Old 11-16-2008, 10:34 PM
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agreed with Zab, don't give treats for the sake of giving it to the horse or because he looks cute. Sonny always has to do something for his treat whether it's stretching his neck out) or bowing or something like that
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post #8 of 26 Old 11-16-2008, 10:35 PM
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I'm very hesitant with treats... I've met far too many snappy horses... the only time my horses get something is when I randomly get given carrots or apples, actually feel like buying them some, or at Christmas time, cos we normally get them each a 'cracker' full of horse candies.
Considering two out of three of my horses had be to taught to eat carrots and apples (racehorses aren't taught to eat treats on a general basis), treats aren't a big deal to my guys, they'd rather their feeds which they get after working.
I'd seriously not feed him any treats until he gets the message. A horse doesn't need treats all the time anyway, it just creates an attention problem down the track.
x


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post #9 of 26 Old 11-16-2008, 11:31 PM
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I give Arrow a treat when I catch him, a treat when I unbridle after a ride, and a treat when I turn him loose. Occasionally I give a treat while grooming, but no treats during training.
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post #10 of 26 Old 11-16-2008, 11:35 PM
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As I stated above, I may not give treats to my horses much, but if I'm out riding and say... little kids want me to come over and let them pet the horse and/or maybe give a few pony rides... yes, I'll let them give my horse a treat or two apiece, as long as they're careful and do exactly what I say and their parents don't care. A lot of the time, their parents ask me if their kids can give the horse a treat... lol. I'm perfectly fine with that, but on a general basis, no... I don't give treats.

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