Feeding time manners - The Horse Forum
  • 3 Post By usandpets
  • 1 Post By Saskia
  • 1 Post By KatieQ
  • 1 Post By EquineGirl1965
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post #1 of 10 Old 11-01-2013, 12:44 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Australia
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Question Feeding time manners

Hi all,
I have only had my boy for little over a week and admit to probably spoiling him with feed time and lots of carrots.
I have yet to ride him as I wanted him to settle into his new environment, so I've realised he is starting to see me as just this feeding machine!
I've spent time everyday brushing him, but he doesn't seem to want anything to do with me unless I have carrots on hand or it's feed time.
Are there any suggestions on bonding techniques and how do I get him being not so bossy at the gate when it's time for tea.
Be gentle, he's my first horse!
Tombo8 is offline  
post #2 of 10 Old 11-01-2013, 01:12 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: North Dakota, USA
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First off, he's a horse. Not a friend or dog/pet. He needs needs boundaries and for them to be enforced. You need to understand how horses behave in a herd. There is always a leader, which needs to be you. If you aren't, he becomes it and you'll have problems.

There are many threads on here about bonding and many of those will have responses of needing to be a leader first.

To be the leader, you'll need to learn how to do ground work and move his feet. Then you'll need to learn how and when to correct him when he does wrong or misbehaves
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post #3 of 10 Old 11-01-2013, 02:22 AM
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I agree with the above.
Horses are wonderful animals but, they can also be dangerous. If you allow him to push you around on the ground then there will soon be issues with riding him.

Stop hand feeding him carrots. If you think this is the only time he wants to be with you it is because of the carrots only. Make sure that when you go to feed him he moves away from you and waits. If he pushes to get to the feed carry a rope and use it to make him moved back.

It is the little things on the ground that need correcting to stop the major things happening.
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post #4 of 10 Old 11-01-2013, 02:35 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: New South Wales, Australia
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As other posters have said, horses will never be dogs. Some are friendlier than others but they don't want to be with you like dogs do. Horses have their herd for that. I don't have a problem feeding carrots but they have to be on my terms. If you are going to treat you can't be flexible on that.

Feed time is a really important time to establish your leadership, and if you don't do it sometimes all ground manners can deteriorate pretty fast. This is what I do - if you feed him in the paddock you make him back off and wait. If you have to carry a lunge whip and chase him off then do that, carry the feed in put it down and wait. Don't let him come near you and if he does chase him off until he accepts that he can't come near you.Then walk away and let him eat and leave him. Do this a couple of times and he should start moving away when you have feed.

Instead of just feeding carrots, start working on some ground work, getting him to move away from pressure to start with. That way you'll get to know each other.
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post #5 of 10 Old 11-01-2013, 09:55 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Missouri
Posts: 3,860
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Spoiling a horse usually leads to some major problems. And bonding is not part of having a horse. They are not meant to bond like a dog, nor do they.

And too many carrots is not good either, as they can cause a horse to choke if they get them wrong in their mouth, which is one reason people limit treats like those and apples too.

There are many threads on here about ground manners, establishing who is leader, and learning horsemanship.

Horses make me a better person.
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post #6 of 10 Old 11-01-2013, 10:13 PM
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: BC, Canada
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Like the others said, stop the carrots! I have an older mare who is partially leased to a woman who spoiled her rotten with treats! She thought the horse would like her more if she gave her treats all the time, but all it did was create an ugly monster of a mare. She bullies my two young geldings because she thinks EVERYTHING is about treats, and I got her because I wanted a boss mare and role model for them. I wanted someone to take her on and ride her and make her useful for ponying my little guys, but she is such a nasty b**tch now I don't dare pony anyone off her. I have forbidden the treats but the damage is already done! And she doesn't like the lessee any more than she likes me, as I am the one who feeds them.
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post #7 of 10 Old 11-02-2013, 02:56 AM
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Central MS
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i had similar issues --- i was ignorant about horses and warning signs, so i am sure i missed everything that might have clued me in that there were going to be problems

i was out feeding them treats and i wasn't feeding one as fsat as she wanted -- so she turned her butt to me looked over her shoulder to take aim, took a step towards me and tried to plant her 2 back feet into my chest ---- i was extremely lucky i recognized her taking aim and backing up

for the past 6 weeks when i take feed out with my i bring a carriage whip and run them off until i set down all the buckets --- now when i bring feed out they stay a respectable distance away until i drop the buckets and walk off

it's MY feed
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post #8 of 10 Old 11-02-2013, 04:35 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Australia
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Thanks everyone for their input. I have been reading up now about setting boundaries and I am going to be the boss from now on- carrots are going to be reward only. No more spoiling. I'm glad I brought it up so early.
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post #9 of 10 Old 11-02-2013, 06:50 AM
Join Date: Feb 2013
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Yes treats are should definitely not be used in excess! Someone at my previous yard would feed my mare treats all the time and whereas my mare is the sweetest creature you will ever meet, when that women came near she would turn into a monster!
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post #10 of 10 Old 11-03-2013, 11:20 PM
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: East Coast of Australia
Posts: 89
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Treats are just that...for rewards when the horse does something you've asked for, in most cases we want to treat them 'just because' and yet they don't see it quite that way. We must have their respect before we can really work with them. My new standardbred mare arrived yesterday and today we started working on our new partnership. She took a while to catch but using 'join up' she soon realised I was going to have her respect. Every time she gave me what I asked for, she got a reward (release of pressure, rub between the eyes etc) and sometimes she got a piece of carrot flavoured cookie, but mostly it's the physical gestures that make the most impact. Have fun...learn from any mistakes...and keep asking questions! :)
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