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Should you hand feed your horse??

This is a discussion on Should you hand feed your horse?? within the Natural Horsemanship forums, part of the Training Horses category
  • Mare gets à treat
  • Horse just wants treats

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    07-16-2012, 08:14 AM
  #11
Super Moderator
I hand feed my horse almost every time when I see him, mostly as a reward after training, sometimes just as a little treat when I come to see him in the pastures. He never gets his treat before he knows how to behave - that is, taking the treat only when I have allowed him to enter my space, not a second earlier. However, he is dominant and tends to become pushy and nippy, so I am always on my guard to discipline him if it is necessary. That is also the reason why I never let any beginners or non-horsey people to hand feed him.
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    07-16-2012, 08:29 AM
  #12
Green Broke
I hand feed my girl, but she is also not the "mouthy" type. If I had a mouthy horse I likely wouldn't do it, as it would only increase the mouthiness. Mine also respects others' private space, she doesn't go rooting around in their pockets or anything like that because treats don't come from pockets in her world...they come from a bag inside her tack locker. That way she isn't harassing people and trying to strip search them for treats!
     
    07-16-2012, 08:38 AM
  #13
Showing
I hand feed both my mares since I got them 6+ years ago. They do NOT check my pockets or nip on me asking for treats, because they know it's forbidden. They also don't check other people. They politely wait till I offer them a treat. It's all about how and when you do it.
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    07-16-2012, 08:43 AM
  #14
Showing
I don't hand feed treats. I could without concern of them being muggers because they are expected to behave. I don't however because mine see a lot of little kids on a regular basis and god forbid one accidentally take off a child's finger. I do let my students bring treats for after lessons but they go in a feed pan.
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    07-16-2012, 08:46 AM
  #15
Green Broke
I hand feed my horses & they don't get pushy, can't say the same for my sheep though as they think treats are never ending.
     
    07-16-2012, 08:48 AM
  #16
Showing
Aww, sheep are too cute, I couldn't say no to them either Natisha!
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    07-16-2012, 11:27 AM
  #17
Trained
We feed ours carrots by hand about 1/month. Break off a chunk of carrot and offer it on the palm of our hand. Any sign of pushiness gets the horse sent off and the others get his share.

Some of it may depend on the horse. Our mare and Appy are very respectful about food.

Our little mustang is not - he even tried to get our mare to leave her food the other day and she is nearly a foot taller than him. After the initial shock at his stupidity, she unloaded on him. When I brought buckets of hay pellets in the corral yesterday, he came up behind and tried to steal a few from me. I kicked out behind me, connected with his shoulder & he went running. I ended up giving him his bucket of pellets because it was cold and raining, but I also stood between him & the bucket and wouldn't let him approach for a few minutes.

So on our rare carrot days, he gets watched closely. He's too food oriented for his own good. There is no way I'd trust him with a kid & a carrot!
     
    07-16-2012, 11:44 AM
  #18
Showing
I would never hand-feed them in the pasture....too dangerous. I'm fine with giving a treat after a good ride or during a long show day, just not in a crowd of 5+ horses.
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    07-16-2012, 11:49 AM
  #19
Started
We have one mare who's owner hand fend her all the time, treats, lots of them. This horse now nips at your hands and clothing, especially pockets.
She's really sweet, she just wants her treats!

I give my horse treats in the morning, as I give one to every horse in her field
She gets one treat before we work, and a couple afterwards.

Since that's my habit, she never gets pushy.
She used to, but I would make her wait until she stopped nosing me and stood still
Now she just waits (:
     
    07-16-2012, 12:50 PM
  #20
Showing
Quote:
Originally Posted by MHFoundation Quarters    
I don't however because mine see a lot of little kids on a regular basis and god forbid one accidentally take off a child's finger. I do let my students bring treats for after lessons but they go in a feed pan.
My qh learned to pull her lips and open her mouth wide and stand like that waiting till I put a carrot or cookie in mouth. Quite funny to watch.

P.S. I have just 2 of my own mares. I wouldn't feed in a field with other horses though simply because I don't know how others behave and they can pick the fight next to me. Way too dangerous..
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