I don't think feeding is submissive. Not at all. In fact, I use feeding time as a reminder to all of my horses that they eat at my pleasure, not at theirs. All of them have to back up and stand as long as I want (not usually more than a few seconds, though, TBH) when I feed them. This is also a good idea from a safety perspective.
I believe I got the idea from Cherry Hill, maybe from this book, which I would really recommend:
How to Think Like A Horse: The Essential Handbook for Understanding Why Horses Do What They Do
Her perspective is, "This is MY food, and as the gracious herd leader I'm going to share it with you, as long as you demonstrate that you accept my authority" or something like that.
Also I pick my horses' feet while they are eating. They learn to deal with it pretty quickly.
ETA: reading through the other posts now. I also give my horses a verbal cue ("good boy") and then set the hoof down gently. Seems more polite.
Also ETA: I get the idea of not picking while they are eating, but my guys only get fed if they come in from their pasture when I call them, and they have the choice of whether they want to come in or not (usually). Every time I feed them, I pick their hooves. Of course food is a big motivator, but I think that if they disliked it that much they just wouldn't come in.
Final ETA: If you are a new horse owner, having someone you trust come over and watch you work with your horses on the ground, and telling you what they see, can be really beneficial. I've only had horses for two years, and my first two are totally the kind to take over if they think you aren't worthy of leadership. I'm fortunate that I boarded and had people to help me out. Plus Horse Forum, of course!
"Saddle fit -- it's a no brainer!"" - random person
Last edited by ACinATX; 02-13-2020 at 02:44 PM.