How can I make my horse not food aggressive? - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 30 Old 12-28-2015, 07:35 PM
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Good advise given!
You have confused having a good relationship with your horse, with a fear of correcting him, thus loosing his 'love/affection"
Horses aren't programed that way. They are programed to respect clear, and fair and consistent boundaries, and also, if you don't lead, they will.
Horses often act possessive of their food, towards a human, just like they would with another horse, and when they do that, they have considered themselves dominant to you. This behavior can them escalate, as your mom found out the hard way.
Chase him off that food instead, while stay safe, and make him stay away from that food, until he is respectful, waiting for your permission to approach, then treat him like nothing happened.
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post #22 of 30 Old 12-28-2015, 08:17 PM
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Ah good aggression. I never ever had a problem with it until I had an ugly ugly bruise on my thigh from being kicked by my colt. THAT day we had a HUGE discussion over who's food it really was. I was carrying the grain pail, he was fairly new at the time, and he came from a bad situation. He had open wounds from being beat into the trailer to be brought to my house by the previous owners. Now you'd think I'd be sweet and coddling, no. I had a homemade crop I used to gentle him to touch in my hand at the time, grain bucket in the other. He was loose in the barn and ran by and SMACK- he kicked me good. I was shocked. There was no warning- nothing. I whipped him good with my crop immediately and chased him through the barn like a mad man. Yelling -screeching- and waving my arms. Then I sat the bucket in the middle of the floor and retreated. He jogged over to the bucket very merrily an began eating. I came over and aggressively slapped him out of the way until he retreated from MY bucket. When he approached again he got another good smack. This continued until he stood way away, watching. Then I sat and invited him to dinner. He was allowed a few mouthfuls and again I waved him away. In all it took him -I made him- 20 minutes to eat his grain. But by the end of the day I just have to give him a look and he goes about ten feet away, letting me have my bucket. And guess what? He still likes me. He will follow me anywhere, across rivers, bogs, ditches, scary fields of chickens- anywhere.
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post #23 of 30 Old 12-29-2015, 07:59 PM
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What I did was get my mare to back up and give me my space when entering the paddock, arena, with the food. She must stand and not approach or i back her up where she came from and say stand. Then when she stands patiently I say good girl and put the food down.

I think it took 3 times to get this down pat. She used to be food aggresive, would hover around you to get to the food but now she knows she wont get it until she stands back.
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post #24 of 30 Old 12-30-2015, 03:05 PM
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My two mares have to wait until I am finished with their food before they are allowed to eat (pouring the soaked pellets into the feeders, adding supplements, etc. until I finally give the ok). Because of this, my horses are not food aggressive, but they are also on free choice hay (they always have hay) so that actually does help make them less aggressive (because they always have food, they are not worried about someone taking it from them). We do free choice hay because we have no pasture or grazing and I want them to have as close to a grazing situation as possible.

I also used to chase my more dominant mare off her food (lunge whip in hand) and stand there over it and make her wait until I walked away. This actually did help me gain more of her respect and furthered her training. My horse, like WhataTroublemaker's horse, will follow me through anything and definitely has more of a bond with me than anyone else, but I also command more of her respect than anyone else. Horses love a leader, not a follower who is too nice to teach them their boundaries or give them direction.
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post #25 of 30 Old 12-30-2015, 08:15 PM
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I hope you've taken a lot of this advice to heart. Having spent some time in the hospital thanks to a food aggressive horse, I don't take this sort of behavior lightly!
That food is MINE, not the horse's. If they get to eat it, they better be darn respectful of me for letting them eat MY food.
My Haflinger (who is part bulldozer and vacuum) has learned to stand quietly and not push through me at feeding time. The mare I'm training doesn't dare come near that bucket till I tell her to.
Now we had a new horse brought in (17hh OTTB) who is showing signs of food aggression. Not just pinning his ears, but making threatening gestures with his nose. He's not my horse, nor is he a training project for me (yet), but this behavior won't fly with me. I have a buggy whip that I carry with me till I get him sorted out.
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post #26 of 30 Old 12-30-2015, 08:55 PM
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Also have to point out again, that you can get hurt, accidently even, by horses allowed to show food aggression towards each other, while you are out there with them. That also is not allowed by my horses!
Many here are most likely tired of this example, but since it is important, suffer through my repetition!
Quite a few years ago, a fellow breeder of Appaloosa horses, was on a promotion trip to Germany for our breed association. He thus left his young wife to feed the horses. Due to what happened, I can only assume that she was not that experienced around horses.
Anyway, she was accidently kicked by one horse, showing food aggression to another horse. She died. Dead is dead, and it does not even matter if the horse shows aggression directly towards you, by just asserting his normal position to another horse, while you are out there feeding, because if he nails you instead, end results are the same!
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post #27 of 30 Old 01-07-2016, 05:50 PM
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Thank you Jan 1975 for posting this video. This is great information. And thank you HannahNicole for bringing up the question. I understand how you feel about wanting the horse to like you. My trainer says that you have to remember a horse is not a dog. They respond more with respect than love. You have to set rules and be firm. This helps them feel comfortable because they know what is expected of them.
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post #28 of 30 Old 01-10-2016, 02:04 AM
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Excellent advice from many posters - just wanted to add that in my experience either a dressage whip or one of the natural horsemanship type carrot/training sticks are great for this type of situation. Long enough that you don't have to get super close to deliver a correction, but not so long as to be unwieldy like a lunge whip.

I have not personally done it this way, but have seen a friend take the "my bucket" approach as described by WhattaTroublemaker from the opposite side of the fence. She did use a lunge whip in this scenario and for that particular horse found she could effectively instill some manners in him about needing to wait for her permission to approach the bucket (hanging on fence) while still keeping a fence between the two of them at first.
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post #29 of 30 Old 01-11-2016, 09:33 AM
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I had a friend, who bought a horse, she could "ride" but wasn't really that horsey. Most here will understand what that means I imagine.

She had told me she was having trouble getting in the gate to feed, and that the horse had gone after her dog, and now was going after her, he had even rolled her, and was mean in the stall now too, she had called to see if I would feed him and other pets while they were away for something or other.

Told me horse was mean, and to be careful.

Went out first morning to feed, and here he was at the gate, ears pinned flat, snaking his head at me. I put the bucket down and got a pecan limb, long enough it had branches, leaves and green pecans, *storm had brought it down*...I picked it up.

Grabbed bucket and went to gate and here horse was acting like a fool. I shook branch at him, low around knee height, and his ears came up and he backed off. I went through gate, and proceeded to back him all over that pasture, wouldn't let him come up to barn if could help it, if he did make it up there, I drove him away, when I decided to let him eat, I dumped feed in stall, and then stood in door keeping him out.

At any point if he pinned ears, snarled that lip up, gave me the drop dead look or snaked his head, he was chased off from barn and not even allowed to approach it or the water trough.

Only when he approached with a pleasant expression, was he allowed to come in and even then I sent him out of the stall when I felt like it.

When she got back, he didn't revert to his normal behavior with her, but as I told her, she had to remember who wrote the check.

It is a fallacy to equate horses behaving with "love/trust/bond" as that is not how they think nor how they operate.

A horse that is allowed to show attitude, is one that will hurt you.

Horses make me a better person.
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post #30 of 30 Old 01-12-2016, 08:51 PM
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Horses are pack animals and NEED a leader when they are with a herd or just you. They will challenge you to see who will be the leader EVERY time. Whenever a horse misbehaves, MOVE HIS HINDQUARTERS. Prepare his food/grain and place his bowl next to you. Stand next to his food and do not let him get within 4 feet of you. When he attempts, have a long whip and whip the air BEHIND the horse to get him to move out of your space. Continue to move the horse for a bit in a circle around you and his food keeping your eye on him at all times. After a minute, let him rest. Do this for awhile (may take up to 1/2 hour). When he is no longer aggressive at all, invite him in to eat. If there is not enough space where you feed him to do this, move him to a place where there is. Showing a horse who is boss in a stall or run-in shelter is way too dangerous. There is a great video of this on youtube.
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