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eaferg 12-26-2009 06:11 PM

Treats as Rewards
So, when I teach a horse with treats they end up running me over for the treat, or trying to get a treat from my hand when I don't have one, or running me over. Does anyone train with treats as rewards successfully?

Oh, and I'm not training anything major, just little tricks.


gypsygirl 12-26-2009 06:22 PM

i never hand feed my mare besides when she is stretching or bowing. she never expects treats at other times because she never gets them. also if she tries to stretch when im not asking her to i dont reward her for it, i just ignore her.

Walkamile 12-26-2009 06:28 PM

No, I do not use treats as rewards for training. They get a release from pressure, a "good girl/boy" and a heartfelt rub.

They do get treats in their feed on occasion, just because I want to. On long trail rides , when we stop for lunch, I do carry a bag of cut up carrots that I give to my horse to nibble on. And I have been known to give a treat after a grooming session, when they are all relaxed and mellow.

I want my horse to focus on what I'm asking of him/her, not on the treat they want.

EveningShadows 12-26-2009 07:32 PM

I think it really depends on the individual horse as well. I can't hand feed ANYTHING to my 2 year old or she gets busy, grabby lips and I don't want to encourage that. My mom has a 12 year old mare that you can hand feed all day and she'll sniff for more, but doesn't get lippy about it.

For training purposes I'm not sure how much I agree with using treats...depends what you're training. There's not much incentive for a horse to learn to bow unless there's something yummy under them to reach down for - my best friend taught her paint filly to bow using treats and it worked wonderfully for her! I'm still teaching my 2 year old that my fingers don't taste good...for training, I would go with walkamile's method, which is also what I do. The release of pressure, verbal reinforcement, and rub on the shoulder is more than enough to let them know they've done what you asked.

White Foot 12-26-2009 07:38 PM

At first you should reward with pressure and realeas like walkamile said. But, once your horse understands that your the boss, and how things work, giving treats isn't bad. I taught my horse manners with treats. People always say a way to your horses heart is through its stomach.

I think the problem here is your horse thinks he can walk all over you, with no punishment. Try not bringing any treats the next time and just reward him with brushing. Once he understands where your space is then it should be okay.

kitten_Val 12-26-2009 11:06 PM

It all depends actually. I give a treat after the grooming and when I'm done riding and dismounted. However now I teach them to be vacuumed and clipped and I use LOTS of carrots when doing head clipping. I clip a little and if they behave give a piece of carrot. Then clip again. I did the same thing when I was teaching them to pick the feet for cleaning.

jody111 12-26-2009 11:10 PM

depends on how you are training them and how you are feeding the treats...

I taught my old horse who used to completely mug me for treats to not do it (By using a look away command) and this was done with clicker training - which is all about rewarding with treats;...

worked a treat (hehe mind the pun) too!

Spirithorse 12-27-2009 12:25 AM

It's all in HOW you use the treat. If the horse gets treats for little to no effort, then yes, he will become a treat **** and his motto in life will be "Hand over the treats and no one gets hurt!" These are usually the more dominant horses.

I will use treats to motivate "lazy" horses and to offer a little something extra to the horse if he's offered me something really nice, but during a session I never give treats just because...the horse has to earn them. If not, he can become pushy. Pushy behavior with treats can be prevented in the first place.

To some horses treats mean nothing. These are usually the more unconfident horses, horses who have safety issues, not food issues! lol. Treats should NEVER be used as bribery! Treats should be used as a bonus. To say that you never use treats is to limit yourself, and you better hope you don't run into that horse who will play on your limitations.

Attitude05 12-27-2009 05:41 AM

i teach my horse to come when called, everytime she comes to the gate when i call her she get licorice, same with everytime i put her out. taught her not to bolt off down the paddock, and to come so i dont have to walk :D

but depends on the horse, it didnt work with my tb x

ChingazMyBoy 12-27-2009 06:06 AM

I give my boy treats as a reward when his doing tricks. But I do teach him to "come" and reward him with a treat, as he isn't a horse that connects a pat with a reward. As he always haves cuddles and pats.

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