Should you hand feed your horse?? - Page 7

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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
  • Is ok to hand feeding my stallion
  • Should you feed a horse by hand

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    09-10-2012, 11:04 PM
If I hand feed, it depends on the horse's manners. Mine is very respectful, turns his head away. If he gets too enthused or too nosy he gets a reminder tap.
At my barn I trained a new horse to turn her head away by using the clicker method in 5 minutes. She still remembers when I visit her and give her a treat.

Mostly I put treats into the feed bucket.
PunksTank likes this.
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    09-12-2012, 02:10 PM
I hand feed carrots to my horses, but they are almost never pushy. On the rare occasion that they are, I put the treats back in my pocket without giving them any and flick their noses if they get to close to it. It cures them very quickly.
    09-12-2012, 05:24 PM
There is nothing wrong with hand feeding a horse. The problem comes in what you are presenting to the horse. What you are presenting is for that horse to come into your space and be disrespectful. That isn't to say that is what is going to happen, but it may create a bigger problem down the line. It can be unsafe for younger children, or other people who are not horse savvy. Your horse will like the treat just as much if you leave it on the ground for it to enjoy. I do not like my horses to get into the habit of crowding me or eating off of my hands.
    11-30-2012, 09:16 PM
It depends on the situation & the horse

Carolyn Resnick (my horse training heroine!) trains her stallions with carrot rewards, but there are very clear rules. She teaches that if you feed a horse a treat the wrong way, he thinks that he took it from you, and you lose rank (from his point of view).
At the barn where I board my horse, there is a very wise "no hand feeding the school horses" Rule to keep the kids safe.
I give my 11yr gelding treats for many good behaviors, and taught him the word "Da!"(Russian for Yes) like a clicker sound, so now he knows that when I say Da he did something I wanted ... But after he has learned the behavior, I gradually phase out the food. I now say Da often for good tries and actions, but only follow it with food (handful of feed, piece of apple) when he has done something exceptional in that moment, or if he was really trying and was close to a positive mental break-through with a behavior I was training for. He also gets a treat when he stands motionless while mounting (I recently had reconstructive knee surgery so I need him to be steady! :P) I will eventually give random rewards for this when he's further along in his training.
I have him for 5 months now, and since learning about the Waterhole Rituals (created by Ms. Resnick), he companion-walks at Liberty in a 100' long arena, walk/trots/turns/halts/ up/jumps in synch with me on my right side.
Using food judiciously has gotten him this far.. not as a bribe, but as a consequence of following my lead/listening/honoring my requests. I'm in Heaven with my Arabian, Prince Sahran!
Fargosgirl likes this.
    11-30-2012, 09:55 PM
Hand feeding can be verydangeous. But ?I think of itlike choclate. You can have it in moderation, not to much but every once and a while doesn't hurt. M mare, when I first gotr her, was very pushy and did not listen. IF you decide to train your horse through it much like MyArabPrince, as long as the horse does not start to get pushy, itrs fine. If he/she starts with that attitude and isdemading treats, it a big no but, like I've said, In moderation is not that bad
    12-01-2012, 10:18 AM
Originally Posted by gunslinger    

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.

I'm the one buying them! It's one of my insane, little, guilty pleasures. Every time I'm in a tack or feed store I have to shop the treat aisle, to see what new flavors are in stock, even though I know my horses' favorite treat is black licorice candy that I get at the dollar store. I must have 10lbs. Of horse cookies in my barn right now.

I use treats in my training(I know some think this is huge no-no) when my horse gets something right for the first time, when he puts in extra effort and does a task exceptionally well, or when he seems to be getting dull about doing a task and needs incentive to do it with more enthusiasm.

It's rarely that I use the packaged horse cookies for training, they leave yucky crumbs in my pocket. I carry a licorice whip in my pocket, or a carrot, the boughten cookies go in the grain pan each evening, because it makes me happy, and making me happy is the sole reason for my horses' existence.
Sharpie likes this.
    12-01-2012, 04:55 PM
Originally Posted by Fargosgirl    
I'm the one buying them!...

It's rarely that I use the packaged horse cookies for training, they leave yucky crumbs in my pocket. I carry a licorice whip in my pocket, or a carrot, the boughten cookies go in the grain pan each evening, because it makes me happy, and making me happy is the sole reason for my horses' existence.
You nailed it. Feeding my horse treats makes me happy too. I don't even have training as an excuse. He gets cookies when I want to give him cookies, sometimes just for standing there and looking cute while eating his hay.
FaydesMom likes this.
    12-02-2012, 01:00 PM
Count me as another horse treat buyer. Treats have always been a part of everyday life at my place. :)

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