Horses snacking on the trail - problem? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 25 Old 08-29-2010, 01:17 PM
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I didn't think of my horse as something to be dominated, he was my friend. We had a healthy respect for each other. He didn't just eat at will on a ride, but if I stopped to take a call or stopped to talk to another rider I met on the trail, he felt free to help himself, as he should. I wasn't his master or his owner, I was his friend and his family. He knew that and we treated each other as such. We had our tussles -- as all families do -- on the trail at times, but I loved his independent spirit and we challenged one another (in a positive way). I always wanted our rides to be as much fun for him as they were for me; after all, I didn't own him, we owned each other.
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post #12 of 25 Old 08-29-2010, 07:23 PM
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My horse and I agreed a few years ago on him eating when he wants to, and when he's allowed to. It hasn't been a problem since. If he asks to eat grass, he is required to stand still and not pull on the reins for 3 seconds. Only then does he get his head. If he doesn't get the release, he understand's the answer is no. I have no problem with it because it's on my terms.

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post #13 of 25 Old 08-30-2010, 12:02 AM
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I'd love to see new pics of the puppy! They do grow fast! My boy's name was Baxter, I lost him at exactly 11 months old, he was hit by a car, it's been 11 years! He was my first dane, I now have my boy whose 10 years old (and sadly won't be with me much longer) and a nearly 8 year old girl whose thankfully healthy as a horse!
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post #14 of 25 Old 08-30-2010, 12:17 AM
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Mine have started eating as they walk, and I only let it
happen occoasionally. And if you're stopped I don't see a problem. Same for the water. We don't want dehydration....
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post #15 of 25 Old 08-30-2010, 01:24 AM
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'I' let him snack when I want him to, but he's not allowed to just start grabbing at food along the trail. I'm not overly strict about that because I like to just mosey when I'm out riding anyway.

Unless it weighs a ton... it's just a horse. Draft horse motto.
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post #16 of 25 Old 08-30-2010, 11:10 AM
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Location: Milford, Kentucky, USA
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I don't let mine eat while we're moving, but if we stop for a people break I let the horse eat.
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post #17 of 25 Old 08-30-2010, 11:28 AM
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I have not gotten it through to Citrus yet that he cannot snack unless I tell him. I don't like it, especially when I think of my daughter on a trail ride someday and him constantly pulling down to get a bite.... for heavens sake he is not starving.....

"Equine-facilitated therapy employs a form of biofeedback for practicing self-awareness, emotional management, and relationship skills that human role-playing exercises and discussion groups cannot begin to access." Linda Kohanov (The Tao of Equus)
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post #18 of 25 Old 08-30-2010, 11:49 AM
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I was always told to never let them eat unless they were told to. But then I started doing a little trail riding with an endurance rider a couple of months ago. He told me that if they wanted to grab a couple of bites of leaves off of trees, as long as they kept up the pace, that it was ok. He said that they draw a little water from them, and helps to keep them hydrated. Rookie will keep up his pace, and I call it grabbing fast food, if he goes for passing leaves. Other than that, when I stop, he's allowed to graze at will after I let him know it's ok...usually with a slight push on the neck and release of the reigns. He's also allowed to drink as much as he wants. We played in a deep part of the river Saturday where we were trail riding. The water came up to his chest and he drank all he wanted while I swished my feet in the water. It was fun for me and him, and he got to cool down which really helps on a hot day. We stayed in there for about 5 minutes, and when we came out, I could tell that he was refreshed and ready to go again. If he gets some around his bit, I simply get off and drop it, the beauty of having a halter/bridle, clean it off and put it back in.

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post #19 of 25 Old 08-30-2010, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by charlicata View Post
I was always told to never let them eat unless they were told to. But then I started doing a little trail riding with an endurance rider a couple of months ago. He told me that if they wanted to grab a couple of bites of leaves off of trees, as long as they kept up the pace, that it was ok. He said that they draw a little water from them, and helps to keep them hydrated.
Actually - it's to keep the gut working. The amount of water they can get from leaves or grass by snatching a mouthful is negligible.

I let my horses grab a bite but the rule is they keep walking. As far as drinking - as much as they want.
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post #20 of 25 Old 08-30-2010, 12:07 PM
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I personally don't like it when a horse tries to graze along the trail. I have been fighting this with my Mustang from day 1. I don't know what it is about him but he is almost obsessive about trying to grab a bite whenever he can. I know he's not hungry because he gets free choice hay so it just bugs me. He is one of those that's a sneaker. He'll wait until he thinks I'm not paying attention before he'll drop his head and try to grab a bite. It is really frustrating when I'm working cattle and I need the horse's attention on the cattle but instead, it's on the closest clump of grass. Just because of that, I don't allow any of my horses to eat when they are being ridden. If we are working all day long, we will generally take a break in the middle of the day to get something to eat/drink and relax for a few minutes. I will often take off my bridle and breastcollar and loosen the girth and turn my horse loose so that he can graze. The only time I won't let a horse drink their fill is when we have been working hard and doing a lot of running and they are pouring sweat and breathing hard. I've heard that drinking a full belly of water can cause colic when they are in that state (don't know if its true) and I am horribly paranoid about colic. I will give them a little drink and then wait until they are cooled down some before letting them drink 'til they're full. If we're not working hard like that though, they can drink whenever they want for as long as they want.

That being said, lots of people don't mind snackers on the trail. Everyone trains and expects different things from their horses. So long as something isn't dangerous or mean to a horse, it isn't my place to say it's either right or wrong.
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