Parellis take on grazing while riding
So my horse likes to try to eat while I'm riding her - heck she tries to eat all the time! I always kick her forward when her head goes down, but she still hasn't given up trying. I looked on Parelli's website and basically they say I should let her graze when I'm riding her every once in a while. (here's the link: http://www.parellinaturalhorsetraini.../eating-grass/ )
I don't really know if I agree with that, and honestly I'm too scared to try it because I don't want to teach my horse a bad habit. I always hand graze my horse after I get off and untack, but that's completely different than under saddle. Have any of you tried this way? Do you let you're horse eat while you ride? If so does it work?
And just so you know I'm not bashing Parelli, although I have heard alot of people claim it's all a scam. I'm just wondering if you guys agree with this training method? I can't say I do.
I vote no, I hand graze in a halter, but I don't want them hand grazing in bit, or eating when I'm riding, not happening.
The kid in a Candy Store reference, well yes I took my kids into all sorts of stores, and guess what, they learned that you buy food and then go home and eat it!
I let my horse graze during rides. He only gets to when I tell him to and has to stop and move on when I tell him to. Just like any lead mare will push another horse off food, I get to do the same and tell him when it is time to move on down the trail. If I ask (verbal kiss) and he doesn't move, I give a gentle leg sqeeze. 98% of the time that is plenty. The other 2% of the time he gets a solid kick or smack which has never failed to remind him that he ought to be listening to me. More often than not, he's expecting to move down the trail and already starting to walk off before I get further than think it might be about time. If he tries to eat without permission, a solid kick usually nips it in the bud and I seldom have to remind him more than once on any given weekend.
My horse was dry-lotted and the only grass he ever saw for two years was when we were out riding, so I'd have felt like a horrible person to never let him eat any of it. If he was pastured, I might not allow him to graze under saddle since he could do that all the other 18 hours of the day.
I agree with GH.
For me, I absolutely never let horses eat while I'm anywhere near their face/holding the lead rope. If I'm tacking them up or grooming, sure they can eat. But any kind of grazing while attached to me or eating hay from my arms while I place it out is entirely off limits. I will very rarely allow hand-grazing but I will grab the horse's halter and lower their head to the grass, to say "ok, you can eat" if I decide to let hand grazing take place - they never get to just start eating, even if I'm about to let them hand-graze.
I just figure that a dominant horse never allows to 'lesser' horses to eat without his/her ok ["ok" in the form of not chasing the less-dominant horses off]. Those less dominant horses don't get to just come up to a more dominant horse's pile of hay and just start munching either. They stay off to the side where it's easy to get away and very cautiously approach the more dominant horse, if it's been previously proven "safe" to share hay with the dominant horse. If they know that more dominant horse WILL chase them away, they generally won't even try to sneak bites from their superior.
Friends of the dominant horse might get to be a little less cautious but that's because 1. they're friends 2. the subordinate friend is well aware of their position as the subordinate. Same for me - horses that respect me and willingly do what I ask around food get rules that are a bit more 'relaxed' than horses that are constantly being pushy around their food. Everybody starts out with the same "you get AWAY and stay away from that hay when I ask! I don't care what you're doing, or how hungry you are, I'm telling you that's my hay" rule though!
With me it depends on the horse. In general it is bad behavior though. If I have a horse who will eat when I let them put their head down and will lift it again when I ask and move on, then that is fine. But when it comes to a naughty/pushy horse (my own mare for instance) then I say no grazing at all. There are some horses you can allow little indiscretions with and they will not walk all over you, but the majority you give them an inch and they try to take a mile.
I'm with TessaMay, my mare is really good about not developing bad habits. If I'm on her bareback with a halter and just messing around the farm I'll let her graze and just be along for the ride. She knows when the reins pick up than her head has to come up and it's time to work. With some other horses however, I don't do this because they'll use it to their advantage or will not know the difference. Just depends on the horse.
I will let my horse graze on a trail ride, but only when I say it's OK. He understands the difference between me stopping him and allowing him to lower his head to the ground vs. deciding to stop on his own or grabbing at plants as we're walking. I think it's much like hand treating horses- some understand that they should still be respectful of space no matter how often they're given treats by hand, while others get nippy and disrespectful. Horses that don't follow the rules don't get rewards (either grazing on the trail or hand treats).
You can, from the ground, teach your horse that by pressing on the top of it's neck that it's ok to graze. You can also teach it to raise it's head when asked. It may be a single rein signal (lift of the rein). If the horse flatly refuses to lift it's head, give it's hip a good tap. The head will lift as the horse moves forward. Repeat this many times until the horse learns that just moving your hand is the signal to lift. Then apply this from the saddle. Dismounting and removing the bridle (halter underneath) is the better option as too many times a horse steps on the rein and it's either broken or the horse reacts with a lot of energy. Horses should be allowed to graze for about 10 min every hour to keep something in his stomach.
I disagree with this statement from him: "If you never let your horse eat grass while you’re riding, he’ll take every opportunity to lunge at the grass, even unseating a rider to get at it."
Mine have never acted anything like that. There isn't a lot of grass in southern Arizona, but there is some in the spring, and they like a nip of mesquite all year long. If I'm walking them on a lead rope, I'll let them stop and take a few bites. Under saddle, no thanks.
We don't do long trail rides. If we were going out for 6 hours and there was a good chance for them to eat & drink, I'd dismount, remove the bit and let them take a break. But that is just IMHO.
My horses can ALWAYS eat while I ride! This would probably drive a lot of people crazy, but I have done endurance riding since 1998, so my horses EAT!!
One time on a ride where there was very little grass, I was riding in front of a very nice man who is 6'8" tall (not your typical endurance rider) and we were going through a place where the trail had sides, with grass. MY mare slammed on the brakes to grab a bite, and I apologized to the rider behind me, who said(in his adorable accent) "That's OK, she's like me....she NEVER passes up a sandvich!!".
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