Hand Grazing - The Horse Forum
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  • 7 Post By SteadyOn
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post #1 of 8 Old 05-24-2020, 03:36 PM Thread Starter
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Hand Grazing

My new horse just arrived at his new barn. I have been walking him around so he can adjust to his surroundings. He gets turned out on grass every day, should I still let him hand graze when we go on our walks outside of the turnout area? I am concerned he will only want to graze instead of walk, but I want him to also get comfortable.
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post #2 of 8 Old 05-24-2020, 03:59 PM
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Just be clear about when he's allowed to graze and when he isn't. If you're walking him somewhere, don't let him jerk down to eat. But if you're just standing there and give him lots of slack in the lead and make it clear that he's good to graze, he'll understand the difference.

It's also a good idea to get his attention and pull his head up and lead him maybe ten feet or so now and then while you hand-graze, just to make sure he's willing to listen and follow you and doesn't tune you out completely.
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post #3 of 8 Old 05-24-2020, 05:33 PM
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I used to be against all hand grazing, at it often creates a hrose that ignores and leans on the lead line, but I now agree with @SteadyOn . This 'allowing' the horse, at YOUR discression to graze a few minutes, then up and move to another, where only YOU decide when he gets to put his head down, ad nauseum . . .
One thing that I do see is that people often hold the line so tight while the horse is grazing, it puts him in a position of him learning to lean on a a now 'meaninglus' tension in the line. Tension in the line should always mean to the horse, "stop pulling, follow this direction".

So, allow the horse enough line to graze. You keep that slack by having a long enough line, and/or you following him closely, keeping the slack in the line, or, if he has enough line to graze around you for a few minutes without needing to move far, and he reaches the end of the line and starts to pull, you give a bit of a sharp tug on the line, which says, "No! stop going that way and pulling on the line! stay in this area near me where you can maintain slack". Do it enough, and the horse will respect the limits of the slack, without leaning on it.
Stand there and hold the line with tension in it non-stop, and you will teach him that it's ok for him to just ignore resistance, in fact, to lean into it gets him greater rewards.
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post #4 of 8 Old 05-24-2020, 05:51 PM
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I occasionally hand graze my horses. Like others said; just make our clear when it's okay and that he'll still respond when you merely need to lead him somewhere.

When will you start riding? How will you decide he's comfortable in his new surroundings?
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post #5 of 8 Old 05-24-2020, 05:51 PM
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Bonding time can start and continue with hand-grazing.
You set the location and when, the horse respects your wishes and all get along well together.
Do not let the horse drag you around, and do not let him graze when it is time to walk and pay attention to what his task is now to do.

When grazing you must remain alert that the slack in the lead-shank not have the horse stepping on his lead, nor tangling his feet...a recipe for disaster.
I used grazing time to groom my horses and check them for ticks, cuts and abrasions that can occur at anytime.
NYS is tough with deer ticks, so pay very close attention daily to hidden pests burrowing in their coats and tails.

You should be up and riding tomorrow...a horse under saddle and ridden needs his attention on his rider not his surroundings.
If you trail ride, go out the first time with another horse as yours learns sights and smells of his new barn.
Company will help to settle him if you do trails.

You do not need to let the horse settle for days, truly you do not...
He has had a few hours today and time spent with you learning smells...tomorrow is time to get to know each other in the new environment, just take it easy and be forgiving as he looks around some.
Enjoy your horse and the cool weather still around to ride and ride and ride...


Excuse my bad manners... WELCOME to the Forum!!


...
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post #6 of 8 Old 05-24-2020, 06:57 PM
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I will hand graze my horses, not often because they are out on pasture so don't need it but sometimes it is necessary, they graze and when I say that's it, That's IT!! no more grazing. They understand completely because I am consistent with this, yes they can graze and no they can't no middle ground.

also with a new horse I will ride them at the level of training they are at right away. I somehow feel it isn't right to give a horse time to get settled into one routine at a place and then after they are comfortable with that, start changing it around on him. I start out the way I mean to continue.

Happy rides with your new horse.
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post #7 of 8 Old 05-24-2020, 09:30 PM
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I also allow hand grazing when and where I say that it's ok. Otherwise,no. I teach a head down cue and once they know that, it becomes the 'you may graze now" cue -both in hand and under saddle. It's my hand on the neck with a gentle pressure downward, behind the poll in hand, and just in front of the withers under saddle. I never 'lie' to the horse. If I have given the head down cue, they can trust that I will give them enough slack in the line to graze. When I decide grazing time is over, I politely ask for heads up (not a jerk on the rope or reins) and off we go again. This method has worked for me with several horses. I'm sure some people don't want the horse grazing at all under saddle, but I don't mind as long as it's only when and where I decide. I agree that it can be good bonding time. I also think it makes time with their human more enjoyable if they know that they will get to graze at some point.
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post #8 of 8 Old 06-07-2020, 01:49 PM
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I take my horses hand grazing all the time. They know when I allow them to and they know when I don't. They're not stupid, well not mostly. Anyways they are my boulevard pre lawn mowers. The grass out there gets really long before I can have a chance to mow it and I don't feel like packing a weed wacker out there. The neighbour across the street had me do their boulevard as well, they kept bringing me out beer, so we horsey weed whacked everywhere. I'm not stupid either, well not mostly.
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