Continually attempting to graze
What methods should I try on Dixie to keep her from trying to eat every green thing in sight while saddled up? She generally only does it when being led. The constant tugging on her mouth probably bugs me more than her, but I don't want to hurt her mouth.
What I do first is to groom on the grass. I take my time and every time he puts his head down to get a bite a say no and tap him on the nose with my carrot stick (or lounge whip). Eventually he understands ok no eating and he starts understanding the word "no." Then I use it with ground work. When he tries to eat i push him forward and say no before he can grab a bit. After this he has a great understanding of no eating and the word "no." Then in the saddle I do the same thing I did on the ground, but from his back. I don't pull on his head I just say no and give him a tap on the butt with the crop just like I would from the ground.
Hope that helps. It worked for me and I hope it will do the same for you
What I've done with my horses to teach them not to graze unless I say it's okay is everytime they would go to grab some I would ask them to trot off. Trot for a little then go back to the walk. It's simple and works like a charm.
I do the same when we are under saddle. I won't make her walk by some fresh spring grass when she has been on hay all winter. Its not fair :lol: But when I say go she better go.
Anti-grazing rein. It puts light pressure on the bit when the horse tries to lower her head to eat. As soon as her head goes up, the pressure magically disappears. It doesn't mess up the horses mouth and it's cheap, only like 20 bucks but well worth it. It usually only takes a couple of lessons for the horse to figure out not to eat when the saddle is on. Plus, it's self-correcting. You don't have to constantly be on the lookout and the pressure is immediate and the same every time.
I agree with Vida! Well said.
While not a substitute for retraining, I have heard that the anti-grazing rein does help, esp. if you put a less experienced rider on your nibbler who wouldn't be able to correct the behavior. I have seen temporary anti-grazers made from baler twine, but I've never tried it. I kinda live in hillbilly territory, and if it can be made or fixed with baler twine, bungees, ducktape, or WD-40, it's fair game, lol.
I would really recommend Maieutic and Spirithorse's solutions to really solve the problem. Like many "gadgets", grazing reins have a tendancy to only work when the horse is wearing them. My sister just taught her horse to respond promptly to a sharp "Head Up!". Her boy can be grazing 30 ft away, and if she yells those words, his head flies up and stays up, lol.
I tell Vida, "grab a mouthful". She does and we go :D
There are many things you can do:
First, establish respect. If your horse respects you, they won't care about the grass. You do have to keep in mind, tho that it IS hard for them to just "ignore" the urge. The earth is an all-you-can-eat salad bar, and they are only doing what is natural..
An anti-grazing device only works for grass. It won't work for trees or any nose-heighth shrubs. What I usually do is anticipate the up-coming trees by moving over to the other side of the trail so she can't reach it..If you she dose somehow manage to swipe a bite, give an " I-mean-it" kick or smack her sternly on the neck and say "NO!".
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