Agreed, if the horse gets pushy that is a problem. My horses learn to 'step back' to get thier food, sowe establish manners over food first. It depends on the nature of the horse. Thier 'horseanilites' are all so different it isn't good to have a one-size-fits-all mentality about it.
I usually give treats after each ride, esp. If we had a good lesson. I find lots of praise by hugging & rubbing is much more rewarding, though. Sometimes I give Daytona treats before a ride; if I'm being extra sweet. LOL!
I give treats when I get there and when I leave, never in a workout or while grooming. Sonny is a PIG BOY and started nipping-i got bit twice that left scars-not out of meaness he wanted treats and missed my pockets. Work is work for him, I cannot praise him with my hands either while working-he looses focus and immediatly wanders-he gets a loving voice praise until I am out of the saddle. Guess it depends on your horse too
I would never associate treats with work. If you do that, soon enough you'll have a horse who always tries to rob your pockets looking for treats and you won't have the attention needed to get the job done.
Horses do not need treats!
A good scratch goes a lot farther to establishing a relationship based on mutual respect.
I agree with these guys. My horse never gets treats. I find that it can create some really rude ground manners. Occasionally I might throw a treat in my horses feed bucket but I never feed him treats out of my hand. Expecially if you are showing in classes such as shomanship it can create some nippy habits that are a big no no in the ring.
Since I have a lesson program we do give treats. Ponies are notorious beggers. Since I don't want the kids mobbed when they go out to get a pony, they only give them a treat when they are on the crossties. That also rewards the pony for coming to you in the field. I've never had to chase one of my guys to catch them. They also come to the center of the ring when the lesson is done to get a peppermint lifesaver from me.
Horses usually only get aggressive around food in the pasture--the dominant horse always gets to eat. And here you are, 'giving up' your food!
Treating makes you look like the submissive horse.
I dislike treating for any kind of work. Treating is a human notion; not a horse one. My horses come to me, enjoy their work, and enjoy my company with no treats or food involved. That's the way it should be. If you're treating your horse to motivate it to work, something's wrong with the training schedule. And if you're training just to motivate it--well, then the horse is training YOU.
If you couldn't tell, I really dislike giving horses treats. ;) They get apples and carrots in their feed buckets, but never from hands and NEVER for doing ANY kind of work. I want them to come to the gate because they want to work--NOT because they see me as a feed bucket. This way, I know when my horses are sore or in pain--they won't come for work.
Im a treat person :) but, I only give treats at the same time, every time and I have a process:
They get a treat right before their dinner. They have all been taught to wait until told to eat. This is the same thing for their treats. They must wait and behave before they are allowed a treat and then they can also eat.
This works well for me because I don't have them looking to me for treats at any other time. I only give them treats because they like them not as a reward or anything