Giving Treats: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 134 Old 04-17-2015, 03:22 PM
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I often give treats. One is greedy so he frequently gets a bump on the nose with the back of my hand. The other is so polite I can't help but laugh as to how far he will try to extend his lips for the treat. When he thinks he's close his lips start flapping while he searches around.

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post #22 of 134 Old 04-17-2015, 03:37 PM
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Treats come with rules
I give my horses treats and sometimes 'just because'. I never stand a force feed them with a ton of stuff - just one treat and that's it
None of them nip or push me around for them. K was a bit too demanding when she arrived to live with us but she's learnt that it gets her nothing
They can be quite useful for positive reinforcement training (If that term even makes sense) and having a horse learn to not be pushy or nip when there are treats around is good self control training for them
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post #23 of 134 Old 04-17-2015, 03:50 PM
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I rarely ever give a treat, if I do then it is thrown into their manger, usually a carrot or apple. However I think it is important for a horse to know how to take a treat correctly which is gently.

I often had small children visit the barn and I would allow them to give each horse a carrot. As many of these children were small I would have them hold one end of the carrot and let the horse take it. If they held it on the palm of their hand it rolled off!

No horse would snatch, if the child kept a hold of the carrot whilst it was bitten each horse would feel with their lips as the where little fingers were.

As a child the riding school horses and ponies were turned out on Downland where there were public rights of way. Opposite one of these fields was a car park and people would go an tidbit the horses across the road. Notices were there to be ignored.
This was mainly a summer thing when tourists were about.

All these animals were used in the riding school and were well mannered. Non ever thought about kicking or biting.

One day I was just going to catch some of the ponies to take into the stables. A woman was walking down the hill with two children, one, about 4 years and another older lad. One of the ponies walked across towards her. The children were nervous so she put the older lad to one side and lifted the younger. She also was carrying a bag.
She was some distance from me. The pony suddenly put his ears back and lunged at her, he took a good bite to the child's arm.

I know this was caused because people fed them, and he was annoyed she didn't have anything.

That pony had been in the school for about eight years, he was not a biter but had learned to expect and was annoyed when he didn't get.

He never went out in that field during the summer months again.
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post #24 of 134 Old 04-17-2015, 03:53 PM
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I give my boy a couple of treats when I am all done with him, just before turning him back out. He's pretty well-behaved about it. If he hears a bag rustling, however, he thinks, "Oh boy! Snacktime!" Even when it isn't. Just like the dog and cats.
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post #25 of 134 Old 04-17-2015, 05:34 PM
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When I got my youngster she would go crazy if she heard the rustle of a plastic bag. She was obviously used to treats coming in bags, and was a bit pushy with it. I very rarely give treats, and never in bags - she is now polite about taking occasional carrots etc. from my hand.

Not really treats, but it amuses me that when I take her out to graze I sometimes spend time pulling up noxious weeds from the paddock, and she likes to come and check the green stuff I've got in my hands (nosy-parker checking if my nosh is better than hers). She must think I have awful taste in greens because my 'choice' plants are always horrible!

Having cut my teeth with horses in the UK where polo mints were a stock treat, I was shocked to find that she doesn't like peppermints. I thought ALL horses liked them!
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post #26 of 134 Old 04-17-2015, 05:53 PM
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My mare works really well with treats as rewards, but there's another horse at my barn I would never treat that way. He gets way too pushy very easily. I've used them for training with great success with my non-dominant mare.

Do what works for you and your horse!
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post #27 of 134 Old 04-17-2015, 06:19 PM
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Big lad gets a sugar cube for coming to call, as he can be a sod to catch sometimes. And if we clicker train, but he doesn't get clicker trained much anymore. It was more a phase for me as a kid teaching my 16.2hh to play fetch....

Little man doesn't get any treats by hand. He doesn't get food around people at all. Food in a bucket gets thrown at him, although not literally, and he's left with his bucket until he walks right away from it. Hays put in his stable or field when he's not near. Because of his previous hard life he is VERY food aggressive.

I think it depends on the horse as to whether you give them treats or not. Big lad doesn't care whatever you do when he's eating. He even leaves it to let you do his inhaler or do the front of his rug up!
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post #28 of 134 Old 04-17-2015, 06:24 PM
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Ana gets treats after our ride; she knows it's coming too because she starts nickering. I can't say that it's turned her into nippy horse; the worst she will do is sniff me up and down for treats.
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post #29 of 134 Old 04-17-2015, 08:23 PM
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I treat as a reward for coming to me in the pasture. I also use treats to stretch him out.

He is also a 'lipper' with treats and very gentle.
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post #30 of 134 Old 04-17-2015, 10:53 PM
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I'm totally a sucker for treating, but he has to do something to deserve the treat...very rarely does he get a treat for "just because you're so darn cute".

He does sometimes get a little too excited about it though, and when he does all I have to do is shake my finger at him and tell him to back up and he does and then waits patiently for his treat. Hes VERY food motivated so I use that to my advantage. When I bought him he had a terrible habit of moving while mounting or just after you got he patiently waits for his treat...and then waits even more in hopes a second may come lol! I just use the little tiny buckeyes "sugar free" training treats though, they're the perfect size for how I use them. Occasionally he gets "better" treats but thats for doing REALLY big things or after a REALLY good ride.
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