2 pushy horses at feeding time - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 26 Old 10-15-2014, 05:54 PM Thread Starter
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2 pushy horses at feeding time

Hi everyone! This is my first post. I am very new to horses, 2 1/2 months new.I am very green. I have 2 horses, a mare (4 yrs) and a shetland pony gelding (20 yrs, that I adopted). I have a zillion questions, but I will start with this one,
I've got the 2 pastured together and they get along pretty well except for a few issues at feeding time. The pony has since learned to stay away from the mare
while she is eating. He was used to sharing a round bale with 2 other mares at his previous ranch. Anyway, I had them separated before, because of them being new and the pony came to me with an eye injury. Anyway, I was separating them to eat for a few days after I put them together. Then we had a big rainstorm that had swollen the gate and it stuck, so I had to feed them over the fence. I have been doing this for about a month now. They have gotten used to this routine. I want to be able to go into the pasture and put down their feed without the 2 of them getting pushy and aggressive. Please help me with any ideas or advice. I don't want to be scared or intimated by them. They are not aggressive/pushy except when it comes to food. Thank you all so much!
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post #2 of 26 Old 10-15-2014, 08:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smdecuir View Post
Hi everyone! This is my first post. I am very new to horses, 2 1/2 months new.I am very green. I have 2 horses, a mare (4 yrs) and a shetland pony gelding (20 yrs, that I adopted). I have a zillion questions, but I will start with this one,
I've got the 2 pastured together and they get along pretty well except for a few issues at feeding time. The pony has since learned to stay away from the mare
while she is eating. He was used to sharing a round bale with 2 other mares at his previous ranch. Anyway, I had them separated before, because of them being new and the pony came to me with an eye injury. Anyway, I was separating them to eat for a few days after I put them together. Then we had a big rainstorm that had swollen the gate and it stuck, so I had to feed them over the fence. I have been doing this for about a month now. They have gotten used to this routine. I want to be able to go into the pasture and put down their feed without the 2 of them getting pushy and aggressive. Please help me with any ideas or advice. I don't want to be scared or intimated by them. They are not aggressive/pushy except when it comes to food. Thank you all so much!
Are they pushy with you or just with each other? Are they outside all the time, or do you have a run-in or stalls for them? If you are graining them side by side that can lead to food aggression...better to separate for that. But they should be able to eat hay near each other. More info and perhaps I can lend more advice.
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post #3 of 26 Old 10-15-2014, 08:26 PM
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If they are pushy with you, you need to run them off and make them wait patiently until you give them their feed. If one tries to steal the other's feed, same thing, run it off. If you do this consistently, they'll learn to behave at feeding time. It can help if you always feed them in the same place. Our 5 horses have "assigned" spots 10-15 feet apart, and when it's feeding time, they've learned to go to their spot and wait for their feed pan.
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post #4 of 26 Old 10-15-2014, 08:54 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, here is more info.... They originally ate separately. Pastured 24/7, barn and paddocks under construction, the horses came to us sooner than expected. The horse was pushy at first, taught her to move back and wait. The pony was always pushy. Put them together. They eat grain and they hay far apart. The pony wanted to share hay since he was used to a round bale with others. The horse ran him off. He keeps his distance now. She will run him off his hay if he is not finished. They are pushy to me.
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post #5 of 26 Old 10-15-2014, 09:04 PM
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you can take a crop with you when you go out, and run her off. Show her you are boss. Give her a whack and a verbal command . Mine get pushy with each other and I simply toss the hay into 3 piles for 2 horses , same amount of feed , just one more pile than horse.
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post #6 of 26 Old 10-15-2014, 09:31 PM Thread Starter
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I know that you should always feed in the same place, but i will probably want to feed them in a divided paddock or their stalls, once the construction is complete. I don't know how they will take the change, Would i halter and lead them to where i will feed.
How can i get them to go into a stall or paddock to eat? They do know what their feed bowls look like. I appreciate all of your answers.
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post #7 of 26 Old 10-15-2014, 11:35 PM
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You need to establish a routine and stick to it. They will learn which stall is theirs once you get them built and used to eating in them. I like mine to be in their places and waiting (patiently) before I dump the feed I know a lot of people who do the opposite so it's one of those whatever works best for you things.
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post #8 of 26 Old 10-16-2014, 12:47 AM
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I agree that taking a crop/lunge whip/ stick in with you if they're getting pushy with you when you feed, until you know how to move them around without one. It's good if you don't need to use it (crop or whatever) but you should not hesitate to give a good whack if someone is being pushy or rude ... just not on the face, unless that is what they're using to be rude with - your safety is absolutely the most important issue; having a thousand pounds or so of rudeness coming at you can be really dangerous. And coming on a little strong now will save you having to *really* come down on them later on if they fail to straighten up and put you in any danger.

"How can I get them to go into a stall or paddock to eat?"

LOL - you'll probably have to work harder at keeping them *out*. If they think there's food around, they'll typically try to get at it. Horses tend to be quite food motivated. So do not feed them when they're doing something wrong - pawing, acting aggressive towards you or the other horse, banging on the fence - it reinforces the behaviour and makes it very difficult to undo.

Although you are not supposed to mess with your horses while they're eating, there's nothing wrong with using feeding time to do a bit of training - it also reinforces your position in the herd if they have to do something for you in order to get their food. My horses would try to snatch bites of whatever I had before I set it down - very rude - so now they don't get their buckets until they turn their heads away from me and the food - even better if they back up a step or so. If they don't keep their heads turned, or they start rushing at me, I pull the food back until they get back (this is where a fence or panel is good to use between you). You might be surprised how quickly they figure it out (the better your timing is, the faster they learn). It is a difficult thing to teach if you have more than one at a time, the other will always mess it up, so separate stalls or corrals are necessary.

But now I'll be outside cleaning the corral out and they will approach me and turn their heads away. Looks kinda strange, lol, but they have the idea down....

Hope I haven't rambled too much, best of luck!
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post #9 of 26 Old 10-16-2014, 01:00 AM
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Although I agree with not messing with a horse while they are eating they should also respect you enough that for whatever reason if need be you could safely remove their feed bin from them without being injured. Much like a horse higher up the pecking order can chase a lower horse off a pile of hay.
It may be safest to work with each horse on their own to start with. I did this recently with my gelding who was food aggressive towards me and a pain in the butt when I would walk through his paddock with the feed buckets.
I expect him to move away from the gate when I enter with the food and stay at a respectful distance until I reach the stable where my other horse is on stall rest.
I watched a great video on Youtube about a guy working with a disrespectful filly who had food aggression issues. He chased her off the feed until she stopped pinning her ears and showed signs of submission. Would be a good idea to have a look to get an idea of what to do.
One session of this with my gelding and he is much better, he knows not to come too close when I am carrying the feed and will wait until I have put the bucket down and walked away. Good luck and stay safe!
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post #10 of 26 Old 10-16-2014, 09:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smdecuir View Post
Hi everyone! This is my first post. I am very new to horses, 2 1/2 months new.I am very green. I have 2 horses, a mare (4 yrs) and a shetland pony gelding (20 yrs, that I adopted). I have a zillion questions, but I will start with this one,
I've got the 2 pastured together and they get along pretty well except for a few issues at feeding time. The pony has since learned to stay away from the mare
while she is eating. He was used to sharing a round bale with 2 other mares at his previous ranch. Anyway, I had them separated before, because of them being new and the pony came to me with an eye injury. Anyway, I was separating them to eat for a few days after I put them together. Then we had a big rainstorm that had swollen the gate and it stuck, so I had to feed them over the fence. I have been doing this for about a month now. They have gotten used to this routine. I want to be able to go into the pasture and put down their feed without the 2 of them getting pushy and aggressive. Please help me with any ideas or advice. I don't want to be scared or intimated by them. They are not aggressive/pushy except when it comes to food. Thank you all so much!

Fellow shetland(mix) owner here! Nothing can get between Alfie and his food!.. Except Charlie that is! I feed charlie outside of the stall, so I put Alfie in the stall and close the door. Then I feed Charlie and THEN feed alfie. This keeps Alf from going and trying to eat charlies food, and vice versa. I then open the stall door so Alfie can leave when he is ready, but
I make sure both horses are busy eating and charlie has more food. He is bigger and requires more, but this is so he doesnt run out first and go finish Alfie's!
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