I hired a trainer...and a question about treats!
I had a consultation with a trainer Saturday and she was amazing! I'm going to have her come train Sherwin (new name to be determined LOL) and me twice a week until I feel more comfortable handling him and then we'll drop down to once a week and riding lessons.
It felt so good to have yet another person tell me that he's a GOOD horse and that he will be everything I'd hoped with proper conditioning. (For anyone not familiar with the saga, a vet told me to return him, auction him or use him only for pony rides).
Anyway, this leads me to something I'm wondering. The vet that didn't like him criticized me for giving him a treat out of my hand. I have some MannaPro little biscuit thingies in peppermint, carrot and apple. He used to love, love them but now he's just "meh" about them and prefers carrots and apples (which I slice or break into chunks because of his teeth).
But...anyhow...she said I should never feed a treat out of my hand and that I shouldn't treat at all really. At the time he'd just endured a looooong speculum exam of his mouth and he's been genuinely frightened, so once he settled down after his ordeal (he was really acting like she'd stolen his dignity LOL) I gave him the treat.
Would be interested in hearing how and when it's "appropriate" to give treats. I often give him carrots or apples "just because." I never would do it in a way that would enforce bad behavior.
Personally I only give treats to train something into them then wean them off the treats. For instance, I had my horse treat trained at one time so she would come when I called she would then get a treat but only one and no more for the day. But other than that I hate giving treats. It makes most horses pushy. I don't want them nosing at me at all. She no longer gets treats, her reward for something is to give her scratches on her head.
I've never had my horses get pushy because I feed them treats. They know their boundaries with an occasional thump on the nose as a reminder now and then.
Everyone is different. Some people hand feed, some don't. You really have to go by what is best for you and your horse.
Some horses get pushy or nippy when they are hand fed and are best off fed treats in a bucket. Some horses do just fine. Some horses become treat oriented and stop "performing" without treats, some will beg for them.
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I will hold my hand off to the side so the horse has to turn away to get it. That way he learns there no point in mugging my body. If a horse gets a little grabby he get a little pop with the back of my hand against his lips. That usually takes care of it.
i look at it like this, some do it a little some a lot, some only when they are clearly in charge. on and on. In your case its simeple
You are PAYING this trainer to teach you, you seem happy with their level of competance, ok not ok doesnt matter. Neither is abusive or harmful, so follow the methods you are paying to learn. Its that trainers call.
I dont even give my horses feed until they learn respect, far as they know they are getting my left overs, I put feed in the bowl and stand over it with my back to them and will run them off if they get close to me. Then I calmly walk away. That is my method for quickly letting them know I am the boss in this field. Not saying its perfect or the best but it is mine and I like the results I get, think how that would work if soemone was behind me feeding thehorse treets out of hand.
So many people have probelems with horses because they treat them like a dog. A horse is not a dog. Its brain doesnt work like ours or the dogs. A mom and dad dog go kill something, bring it back for the puppies to eat. Give a dog a treat he thinks you are the coolest guy in the world and he'll do anything for you.
Give a horse food, and he thinks you are a punk and he just took your food. Until you have clear boundries not a good thing to hand treat a horse. And most likely your trainer feels the same way, but either way thats the pro you hired , should just go along with them.
Everytime I go out on the trail I take up to a dozen small treats in the velcro pockets on my saddle pad.
My horse gets one before I put on the saddle and only gets them on the trail when we cool down in the river crossings.
I keep water in the right and treats in the left.
If I pull out the water bottle for me he knows not to stop or hesitate.
My horses get a "cookie" when they are done....which includes being ground tied to untack, and waiting patiently while I put everything away.
We also feed apples or carrots out on the trail. They are trained to turn their heads back to the saddle, and we can also electrolyte from this position during an endurance ride.
Never owned a horse that nipped, even stallions. They just KNOW better.
Joe, I think the vet said not to feed treats, not the trainer, though this does bring up a point...
Op- you are paying a trainer to help you, what is their stance on treats specifically with you and your horse? :)
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