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melinda27858 02-05-2008 10:08 PM

Horse pushy for food....
 
I am new to owning...but loving it!
I do have a concern with my new gelding however...I have noticed in the past two weeks when I am at the barn during evening feeding time that my boy is very pushy with the barn help as they are taking him hay and grain out to the pasture. He follows TOO closely ass the carry his hay and grain to his area (he is with three others who coincidentally show no interest in his food) and he puts his head very low and pins his ears back. I am concerned that not only will someone get bit by him, but also that he is not behaving as he should. In general, he is very pushy with food...I give him no treats b/c of this, but he gets fed twice a day and is turned out in a pasture with grass.
How should I handle his behavior? Especially since I do not feed him myself???

Thanks!
Melinda

wiresalot 02-05-2008 10:12 PM

I would hit him with the bucket, just hard enuff to get his attention.

jazzyrider 02-05-2008 10:49 PM

i, on the other hand would refrain from hitting him with a bucket. the last thing you want is for him to become scared of buckets considering how often we use them for something in the horsey world :)

my mare does the exact same thing to me. im always terrified that she is going to bite me in the back but she never has. i think it is more of a warning to other horses. its like theyre saying 'that food she is carrying is mine. and see how my ears are back?? well if you try and take my food and going to rip your head off!' lol

my personal opinion is that as long as there is no aggression shown towards the person carrying the food i wouldnt worry. unless that changes of course.

another thing you can start is teaching your horse to wait for his food. among many other problems, my wb was awful at food time and got really aggressive towards us. we started putting his food down and then holding his head up so he couldnt eat. all the time we were saying 'wait, wait, wait'. at first he got quite upset that he could see his food there but wasnt allowed to eat it. eventually he figured that as soon as he didnt try and go for his food he was allowed to have it. now he wont touch his food until we say 'go on'. it seems to have made him much calmer about the whole process. until he starts eating that is and then he's all protective again lol

melinda27858 02-05-2008 10:56 PM

I really like the suggestion of making him wait until he is calm. Maybe I need to get out there during feed time and enforce some mellow time before eating. I don't like to even ride him when he hears the hay cart, because I no longer have his attention!

wiresalot 02-05-2008 11:03 PM

A horse should not asociate anything with a bucket, (Yes His feed is normally in it, but sometimes there are fence mending supplies,etc) Ii dont whant my horse going after buckets.

jazzyrider 02-05-2008 11:12 PM

a horse will associate bad with near anything that is going to whack him. most horses wont 'go' a bucket they will sniff and see whats in there and if it isnt edible they dont care. if you can teach your horse a lesson without whacking it with a bucket that would be the best idea

melinda - it is a good idea. horses need boundaries in many areas and behaving at food time is a good sign of respect :D

free_sprtd 02-05-2008 11:14 PM

well, i dealt with this when i first started feeding my gelding. it was starting to get really bad, and he would rush me and eat the food while i was carrying it up a muddy hill to his house (wasnt the best situation at first, now we moved him). So what i did was when he started to come near me, I stopped, put the bucket down, and made a scary voice at him and said 'UH UH! wait....' sometimes I had to carry the poop fork with me and kind of wave it at him when he started to come close. very very soon he learned that he needed to just wait in his own space until i put it at the top. then I would call him and reward him for being so good and waiting. he never developed a fear of me, the bucket, or the fork. good luck!

jazzyrider 02-05-2008 11:19 PM

he never developed a fear because you never gave him anything to be afraid of :) now had you whacked him with the fork or something he would have had something to fear. that was another good way of teaching the same thing as i have with jarred.

melinda - another idea, if you have to feed in a paddock where you have to walk a while with him behind you is to carry a lunge whip. most horses know what a lunge whip is for and dont have a fear of it they just know that it goes crack and makes a scary noise. the whip can also act as an extension of your own arm to keep the horse further from you. if you hold the whip straight out on front of you a horse will rarely go past it :D just some more food for thought there :)

free_sprtd 02-06-2008 01:35 AM

^^^ good good jazz!

jazzyrider 02-06-2008 01:55 AM

:)


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