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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
While my GF and I have separate work schedules, its the weekend we tend to converge at the barn.
She loves to feed her horse treats and ask for "kisses" and its to the point her horse automatically kisses anyone in range (looking for treat) which can be quite unexpected coing from a horse. I am much stricter about my horse's treats - he always has to do "something" for them, I don't just dispense. Now for carrot stretching I use a clicker and his head is always pointing away. he is better mannered around food. With me.
EXCEPT when in the presence of my GF. I was riding my gelding on the trail with her daughter riding their horse; GF was walking alongside. I noticed my horse was lagging behind if my GF was behind us...or if she was next to us, would gravitate to her side....as if he was waiting for her to dole out a treat. I couldn't believe it. We finished the trail ride and took the horses out for grass. The two horses were 15 feet apart and my horse suddenly lifts his head and walks to my GF, stands in front of her and waits for a treat. After that, I said no more because he tried to do it again 4 more times.
It makes me grind my teeth because they let their own horse do this "searching for cookies" behaviour and think its cute.

They have done this with all the horses I've had, it used to be tolerable, but not now. Especially with this one who is so food oriented. I think rather than having a hard talk with them (and her disabled daughter) I am going to say with my new horse or any new horse coming in, I am no longer feeding treats just scratches and affection and hope they respect that.
I had no idea of when or where they were feeding my horse but its obvious it became quite the habit for him.
 

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Yeah, simple solution is to stop with treats entirely.

I don't do treats with my horses, occasionally I'll buy some molasses cookies and throw one or two in with the handful of oats they get after a ride, but I absolutely refuse to carry treats on my person and feed them from my hand. My dogs are the same, any treats or yummy meat scraps are given in their dishes and usually saved until meal times.

None of the animals know the difference and I don't feel bad for not giving treats.

ETA: my horses actually refuse to ear almost all "treats" with the exception of some molasses cookies and oats.
 

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I admit, I used to think treats were great. I had a mare that was terrified of everything, including me, and food really helped me get through to her so she would understand I was going to be a positive thing in her life. But she was gentle and careful, and never grabby. With my gelding Rusty, it quickly escalated to searching for treats, even nipping. So we stopped. I do allow treats, but only when fed in a special dish so he is never given treats by hand.

When we got our new pony a couple of weeks ago, we used treats to load her in the trailer, and it stopped there. Since she has been here, she has gotten maybe two, and those are fed in a bucket or feed pan. I am not starting that again! She loves human attention and is really in your face so we do not need treats. I have told others who come to my barn that we don't feed treats. It's just not worth the bad habits it creates. I know you can train a horse a lot faster with them, but there are too many undesirable side-effects.

I would tell your friend that he is no longer getting treats, period.
 

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Ugh, I’ve been there, only the people in question actually trained my horse to be food aggressive (on accident). We have worked it out since but it is something I perpetually have to keep in mind to stay on top of and not let it resurface.

The decision made was that no one would feed him anything but me, so that I could do it the right way... that worked out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yep. I personally would not allow this behaviour: mugging with kisses, using you as a scratching post, and head butts or pushes. Because her horse is relatively gentle she lets him do this. Me, no way, its irritating. Because my old guy rip, was very respectfully in her space, I let it slide. You can let certain horses take liberties but its generally not good to start these bad habits.
 

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Ugh, yeah, other people 'untraining' your horse - frustrating!

If it's your horse, it's your call. And yes, I'd absolutely request that she stop feeding treats to your horse. I'd just explain that he is gaining some bad habits & learning to be 'rude' because of it. I'd just say you're wanting to restrict treats to only your actual training sessions. Nothing wrong - & plenty right imo - with using food as a training aid, but you have to be careful to never reinforce behaviour you don't want.
 

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It may be that the disabled daughter gets a real thrill out of treating the horse. and, if that is so, they can find a place and way and time to do it that doesn't encourage the horse to think that is wiill happen anywhere, at unexpected times, so that he keeps coming over in a hopeful search. Like, only when they arrive at the barn,, and only in a certain bucket, . . remind the GF that one of these days the disabled daughter might end up being bitten by accident .
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Sort of what like being a mom is about. I dont like putting up with children's bad behaviour ...I have no problem saying something (PC). Just like its usually a reflex action to correct someone's horse if needed (punishment to fit the crime). I've had ppl thank me for doing so lol.
 

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Your horse, your rules. Period.
 

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Sort of what like being a mom is about. I dont like putting up with children's bad behaviour ...I have no problem saying something (PC). Just like its usually a reflex action to correct someone's horse if needed (punishment to fit the crime). I've had ppl thank me for doing so lol.
That can be dicey, I mean correcting other people's horses and children. I know it's darn near impossible to resist doing at times,,, tho. And, yes, I am a mom.
 

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That's really frustrating.
I have also had that issue, except not with friends, it was with strangers feeding treats over the fence at a field I used to keep my lot at. You're absolutely within your right to enforce a no treat rule, your horse will get over it. Maybe put a sign up on the stable door saying your horse isn't to be fed treats.
I will say though, whilst you should be able to tell children to stop doing it, be prepared for a whole range of responses. In that old field we put a sign on the gate saying the horses were on special diets and were not to be fed, of course people fed them anyway. Whenever I saw families feeding the horse I'd go over, ask them if they saw the sign and tell them the horses weren't to be fed. Sometimes people would apologise and go on their way, other times people said I was lying and they needed treats, and one person said it was abusive to not let horses get treats and I should be ashamed of myself :ROFLMAO: So whatever you do, be prepared for people to totally disregard your wishes. Good luck :)
 
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