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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
  • Started giving my horse treats now he is getting pushy
  • Hand feeding my horse

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    07-30-2012, 02:40 PM
  #41
Yearling
I will carry buckets of their feed in their pasture as we have no stalls up and they all need supplements. My QH I've owned for 5 years will come close to me but has NEVER tried to strike out at me in any other way. I use to carry a 4' whip when I went in and my other two learned that they can only come so close before they will get a tap and they would back away. Now I have one in a 'stall' made of round pen panels, and the other two out in the 'arena' of the barn till I get stalls up. I or mom will stand inbetween the two and they will all eat their food once the two paints are done I will let the one out of the stall and they will stand near my QH while he finishes they all know that you don't mess with him or me when food is out there. Or any other time as they all have wonderful ground mannors.

They never bite at our hands when we give out treats they all learn right away they will nudge everyonce and a while but never lip at us or they get flicked in the nose.
     
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    07-30-2012, 02:50 PM
  #42
Foal
I don't feed treats to my weanling and until he becomes a yearling maybe every once in awhile as with my 2 older horses,but with my older horses I established bounderies when they were young, like as in "my space" and they learned really well and stand so quiet for their carrots.. lol BacktoHorseback I got tickled too imaging the scenerio with 2 carrots and 12 coming at you lol!.. no disrespect ..just a little horse humor in my head. My 2 get 2 carrots each btw lol..but it's not a everyday thing. They love being groomed to and always come running to me if there is a nasty horse fly bugging them..it is so funny and they run up and stop and I wait for the horsefly and slap>**SPLAT** on the rump and they are so pleased with theirselves lol..cute,but I'm a little partial to my kids .
     
    08-01-2012, 07:07 AM
  #43
Banned
I agree HarleyWood.
Yes, IMO, I think you should be able to handfeed a horse. Why not? I've heard too many times people say it makes a horse disrespectful. I disagree with that. Giving a horse a treat and him nipping at you are two completely different things and he knows it. Your hand does not equal food all the time and that is your job to teach the horse the difference between the two.
You can also feed horses in a pasture while others horses are around. Granted you may need to use alot of pressure to stop others coming in on you if it's unwanted, but it's not impossible.
     
    08-01-2012, 09:08 AM
  #44
Weanling
Well I hand fed my horse when he wouldn't eat last time I saw him he looked a bit ill so he ate a tiny bit out of my hand, and he is never disrespectful to me I've never been kicked bitten or pushed over by him or any other horse horses have attempted to kick me But Slip wouldn't dare do any thing like that around me he knows his place.
     
    08-01-2012, 09:22 AM
  #45
Green Broke
My horses love peppermint treats and I love giving them to each of them. When it becomes a problem I guess I'll stop.

Funny, the shelves are stocked with treats in most of the retail establishments and feed stores so some one other than me must be buying them.
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    08-01-2012, 09:23 AM
  #46
Weanling
We'll give our adult horse treats every once in a while. They never know if we have treats so they don't learn to expect them. We never give our foal treats. We did have a problem with people were we where boarding giving them all treats every day and they were starting to become pushy. In our new place we have a no treating our horse policy with the BO and her kids.
     
    08-01-2012, 10:02 AM
  #47
Weanling
Not going to lie, I feed my horse treats most days. He is VERY food orientated, as in, more than even most horses, and having treats in my pocket means I can distract him if he's getting worried about something, encourage him to load etc etc. He loves his treats, and whilst he will thoroughly inspect my hands afterwards to make sure I don't have any more, in them, he knows not to go near my pockets or to get bargy or pushy. He also gives up pretty quickly when he realises he's not getting any more.

I like it as a way of rewarding him, because he appreciates his food so much. When I don't have any treats, he downs;t get any, and I've never had him expecting a treat as I try to give them at different points during the day rather than begin in a routine. However, he does get quite a bit.

Interestingly, he's actually calmer to give treats to now than he was when I first got him. He would get desperate if he thought I had one, and would reach forward or gulp them down. But he was a horse at the bottom for he pecking order who would get bullied out of his food, so that was how he made sure he got some. Now, knowing that I'm happy to give him sweeties when he's been good, he is much more relaxed and gentle, and doesn't panic when there is food going around. I've even got him trained to back away from his feed bucket now half way through feed, which he never did before. My personal guess is that he knows that, whilst I don't take nonsense, I will happily feed him, and he will always get his food when I'm there, so he is less desperate to get it...
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    08-10-2012, 08:31 PM
  #48
Weanling
I feed my horse treats from the hand everyday.
She gets one when she gets caught (but she has to beat me to gate, if I'm standing there calling her its a fail and she doesn't get the treat) and she gets one in the float when she loads (but she only gets the treat when she's right up in the float, standing quietly with her head in the right spot.)

That being said my mare is quiet and easy to feed treats, she must stay well out of my bubble when I am feeding her a treat and any pushing or nipping WILL be punished and treat will be removed.

But as long as she is calm and polite about treats she will continue to get them.
     
    08-18-2012, 02:54 AM
  #49
Yearling
It completely depends on the horse.
There are some horses I know.. that I would never hand feed all of the time. Maybe the odd treat here and there though.

My one horse with get shovey and pushy if you give her treats all the time. I have learned to just give her treats in her grain at night :]

My other mare, is quite shy and respectful. I use treats with her training, and give her one for positive reinforcement when she does the right thing. It works very well for her, and she has never tried to nip or push at me for treats.
She knows that she must first do what I ask her, then maybe she will get one.

So, it completely depends on the horses personality. If it's a new horse, or you are in doubt, just feed in a bucket.
     
    08-18-2012, 02:23 PM
  #50
Green Broke
This is what my equine chiropractor has to say about excessive hand-feeding as she was adjusting one of my horses (she's worked on all four):

CHIRO: "---you don't feed your horses treats from your hand do you?"

ME: "I do but it's rare".

CHIRO: "I can tell you don't make a habit of hand-feeding. None of them are mouthy or looking for something in my pockets while I am trying to work on them. I have some horses that are difficult to work with because owners give them treats all the time".

The other night, I lost my presence of mind and gave everyone treats -- twice. And that's because two horses came in from one side of the barn and the other two came in from the main pasture.

By the time I got in the barn, everyone had graciously gone to their own stalls (even the guy with open-to-the-paddock-stall) and they were all looking at me, eyes bright, ears forward, as if to say "aren't we just the best!!" So I sinned against my own rules and gave them cookies-------------------

Mr. WTW is horrible about giving treats and that's because it makes HIM feel good. He admitted that. I told him it's a P-poor reason to give them treats because they then have an expectation.

Then there's my two with metabolic issues that can tolerate an occasional treat but not as many as Mr. WTW would like to get away with. In our old age that's the big thing we fight about, THE big thing--------------I keep reminding him the horses were in my life before he was and they're papered to me -- NO treats!
     

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