Feeding manners: feeling at the end of my rope - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 17 Old 10-23-2012, 10:05 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Surry, Va
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This is how you feed any new horse.

Put food in bowl, stand over bowl facing the bowl with your back to the horse, if that horse aproaches within 3 feet of you , yell and smack them hard in the chest with a crop , then turn back around and stand over the bowl. Play with the food shake the bucket, what ever, if that horse comes up behind you, repeat the yell and smack. Once the horse is keeping his distance, simply walk away. DOnt call the horse, just completely ignore him and walk away.

Put a flake of hay out in a field, and you will see the exact same behavior from the herd boss. Ive havent seen many horses take more than a couple lessons to figure this out.
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post #12 of 17 Old 10-23-2012, 10:08 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Texas
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I had the same problem with my then 4 month old foal. He was aggressive at feeding time with his feed - ears pinned, shoving it out of the bucket, pacing around the bucket. He was a nervous wreck. He'd head bob after me into the stall, and try to push past me to get to his feed.

Any time he got near, I would bend over his food and swing my butt towards him. If I made contact, I'd shove him away. He'd try going in at a different angle, I'd do the same thing. At one point he'd give up and just walk out of the stall. It was actually an easy fix to a stressful time. I also got a deeper feed bucket, and he no longer even attempts to toss his feed out. He's now 6 months and doesn't have any issues at feeding time.

There on the tips of fair fresh flowers feedeth he; How joyous his neigh,
there in the midst of sacred pollen hidden, all hidden he; how joyous his neigh
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post #13 of 17 Old 10-23-2012, 12:32 PM
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Brandon, Manitoba Canada
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I have five horses here, four are mine and one boarded. They are aged 3, 4, 9, 10, 18........they all have good manners when it comes to feeding time. When I put the hay out they all stand back and wait for it to hit the ground, I don't care if they push/shove/pin ears at each other but don't do it to me!
I feed them supper at 5-5:30pm, they all know the routine.....they ALL get tied at their dishes in the corral and then they get their supper, no one is let off until everyone is done eating.
Rain, snow, -40.....I do this every day.....that's part of owning horses and not boarding them.
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post #14 of 17 Old 10-23-2012, 01:45 PM
Green Broke
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I've stood outside in HAIL backing a horse around the yard because it got the brilliant idea to run in for dinner and drag me along behind.

I don't allow food aggression of any kinds because it seems that the aggression with food is then carried over and all of a sudden the horse now thinks it can dominate humans.

As far as "eating in peace".... the horses eat in stalls but they better not even think of pinning a single ear at me as I fill buckets, clean stalls, move their grain pan out of my way, etc... I carried a crop for a while and has no qualms in using it if needed, now none of the horses do much more than give me a long suffering look of "did you really need to do that?" if I shove their pan over while they're eating.
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post #15 of 17 Old 10-23-2012, 01:49 PM
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Location: North Dakota, USA
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How many foals do you have? Do you have an older horse in with them? They need the older horse to set the example and teach them proper behavior in a herd.

What we did with our horses when we first started feeding in a field/pasture was to set out one more bowl than the horses. That way if one gets chased off, there is an extra bowl they could go to. We also put the all bowls out before letting the horses go to them.

I have to agree that if they are pinning their ears at each other, that is okay. It's if they direct it to you that it should be corrected.

What do you do when they do it? We had a similar problem with our horses. We moved them from a boarding place to where we could have them with us. When I went to feed them, all of them would crowd around while I set the bowls out. What I did was take a lead rope with and swing it over my head until they all stood back and stood still. Some did get smacked a couple times until they figured it out. Now if I need to, I take a stick with and they usually move away by just tapping the air towards them.

Since yours are foals and probably don't know to move away from pressure yet, I would work with them apart from feeding time. All you would need to do is walk towards them swinging the rope at your side. Just work on getting them to move away from you. If they do, stop swinging. If they don't, let the rope pop them on the butt. Then when you go to feed them, you just have to swing the rope to get them to back away.
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post #16 of 17 Old 10-23-2012, 02:38 PM
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My young horses would spend all the winter inside in big loose pens. I was feeding up to eight at a time and they had a trough that ran the length of the barn. manners were highly important and they soon learned that they could follow behind me but never to close nor in front.
Of course it was natural that every now and then they would try it 'their' way and this resulted in me going into attack mode and chasing them off or, carrying something handy like my hunting whip which would get cracked at them or even used across their front legs if they were obstreperous.

In the fields if I have to hard feed them then it was the same, they knew that I meant business and if they crowded me then they were in for trouble.

A horse that is bossy in the stables get his feed still in his bucket wrapped around hum and I then chase him so he is going backwards. He has his feed - it might well be in his bed but that is his fault. He soon learns to stand back and wait.

Last edited by Foxhunter; 10-23-2012 at 02:41 PM.
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post #17 of 17 Old 10-23-2012, 06:23 PM
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I'll take a lungewhip or dressage whip, even a stick at least 4' long. As they approach you wave the stick side to side about waist height. No one wants to bump into that and if one does it's usually only once. To reinforce, keep waving the stick and walk toward them. Stand there until they will stand quietly. Just keep moving them until they will. Walk to where you dole out the feed but be prepared to back them off again. There's usually a braver/dummer one that will try you but just back him off. Don't wave the stick/whip fast, you want them to be able to see it's movement.
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