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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
  • Can handfeeding your horse teach it to bite
  • My foal is a bit pushy whenwaiting for his food

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    08-21-2012, 11:49 PM
  #51
Weanling
I hand feed my horse all the time. He does get a little pushy, but once he figures out I have no more treats, he gives up. I can see it becoming an issue for someone who maybe doesn't know how to correct the pushy behavior right away, but if you know what you are doing and you know your horse, it shouldn't be a problem.

Now, walking out into a pasture with carrots is a huge mistake, no matter how well you know the horses! One dominate nip from one horse to another could spark all kinds of dangerous behavior from the entire herd. Treats should be given occasionally and to one horse at a time, not an entire field full.
     
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    08-28-2012, 09:55 PM
  #52
Foal
I generally hand feed my horse, but to avoid him being pushy, which he has an unfortunate tendency to be :), he has to be behaving himself before hand, and once he realizes I have a treat I wait for him to turn his head away from me a little and wait like that for a few seconds. Poking and prodding gets him no where.
     
    08-28-2012, 10:18 PM
  #53
Super Moderator
I hand feed way more than I should. I am aware that it is something that has the potential to spoil the horse. I tolerate his very mild pushiness and reprimand the harder stuff. It would be a lot smarter for me not to hand feed. Think I have a hole in my head about that.
     
    08-28-2012, 10:29 PM
  #54
Yearling
I'm having a rather difficult time with the horse I'm working with now. A 13 year old leases her and I suspect there's always treats involved just because in the last week or so she's been quite mouthy while I groom her. Its gotten frustrating, I thought it was a one-time thing at first(maybe she got annoyed with the grooming) so I've started to reprimand her. I'm going to have a talk with the owner soon, because I do not want it to escalate.
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    08-30-2012, 05:36 AM
  #55
Foal
I agree with painthorsemare, It is not the horse(s) the problem, it is with how you treat them. Do they each have their turn, or is it when you say their name, or do they have to do a trick for you etc.. as long as you know what result you want, and how you want them to behave, then just train them.
Some people like them pushy, some people like them respectful..
If you have any doubt put some training into it..
It is also a great practice for feeding time, when I come into the pen, the horses have to stay after a certain line, that is clear in my head.. and only when I call them into their pen (their by 2) and tell them they can eat are they allowed to do so. If not their is training, and I have all the time in the world to train my horses ;)
Have fun with your horses, not with people's principles!

Happy training
     
    08-30-2012, 08:57 AM
  #56
Foal
All my horses are taught to turn their heads away before they get a treat. Nibbling lips or stretched heads never get rewards.

If they get get fed in the paddock they have to stand beside the bin and turn their heads away before they get the food. This stops the pushiness towards me. The feed bins are spaced wide apart and they get fed from the same one each time. This reduces the bullying while they wait for their ration.
     
    09-01-2012, 02:59 PM
  #57
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by VersatileHorse    
I've herd lots of people's opinions about hand feeding horses that it makes your horse spoiled and disrespectful and one guy said he saw a little girl get her hand bitten. I've been told not to so I don't do it anymore and my horses don't beg and strech out their neck for my pockets anymore but I saw someone go into a pasture with 6 horses and 2 carrots and all the horses were coming after her for the carrots but she fed them anyways nothing bad happened just the horses were pushy it looked kinda dangerous. I just want peoples opinions weather I should hand feed or not. So sorry about the long message but I'd appreciate your comments

Thanks
I think one should only hand feed if the horse(s) know the rules: no biting, no begging or other bad manners. But you can easily teach that.

I don't 'just' hand feed for no reason. That I like it to feed the horse is 'no reason' for me. ;) I do hand feed because food is an excellent positive reinforcer.
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    09-02-2012, 01:34 AM
  #58
Started
I hand feed both of my horse a lot every day. All in clicker training :P

Before I taught them Anything at all in clicker training I spent about 3 sessions of 5-10 minutes just feeding them treats with the sound of the clicker (my smooching noise). But in order to get the treat they needed to face away from me. So I stood at their shoulder and waited. If they moved I stayed with their shoulder. The moment they turned their head away - for anything - I smooched and gave them their treat. At first they were very grabby of the treats, engulfing my hands. But after a few times they learned to turn their head away, wait and be given treats - once they knew treats were coming and Yes they CAN have them! They stopped engulfing my hand and started taking them more politely.

Now they can both target multiple different objects and my pony is well on his way to learning ground manners (which he attacked his last trainer for trying to teach him - using more forceful methods)
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    09-03-2012, 10:01 PM
  #59
Yearling
I also hand feed every day while clicker training. My horses have learned to be very polite. I used the same method PunksTank described. I would like to add that it has helped my pushy Appy gelding become much more respectful and he loves to play fetch! And my KMSH, who hated people, is now gentle and affectionate. Hand feeding is fine under the right conditions: one horse at a time who is carefully trained how to. I would also add that you should use each treat as an opportunity to teach something because it is the best teaching tool I have found.
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    09-03-2012, 10:36 PM
  #60
Yearling
I also hand feed every day while clicker training. My horses have learned to be very polite. I used the same method PunksTank described. I would like to add that it has helped my pushy Appy gelding become much more respectful and he loves to play fetch! And my KMSH, who hated people, is now gentle and affectionate. Hand feeding is fine under the right conditions: one horse at a time who is carefully trained how to. I would also add that you should use each treat as an opportunity to teach something because it is the best teaching tool I have found.
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