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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
This really isn't a how to question, it's more a 'what do you think' question.

My three horses are kept together at pasture. When I feed them their V/M supplement (that is all they get for pellets) two of the three are right there on top of me ready to shove their faces in the pan. They aren't horribly pushy as they will back up when I ask without argument or aggressiveness. This would be Laela and Novia. Star on the other hand is very proper about the whole thing. She actually goes over to pee before she eats and then comes over when I call her name. Star is the leader of the three. I don't really like to call her the BOSS mare as she's not really bossy, just the leader in charge. If you were to take my body out of the equation, she would be over there taking what she wants first.

I've tried to get them to stop being so pushy with some success. After asking them several times to back up, they will actually stay briefly until I let them come in. The next evening, it will be the same all over again. I've thought plenty of just letting it be as they are not being aggressive and when someone else puts their supplement in the buckets (every morning) waiting is not a requirement. I sometimes feel that it is a lost cause unless they are asked to wait every single time.

Do you all feel that this scenario is that big of a deal? Do you feel that making them wait for food without being pushy bleeds into other interactions with them (groundwork/riding) as far as respect?

I think that I would be more insistent if their nature were more uptight or aggressive but these two are actually quite gentle and have never offered any kind of aggressiveness towards anyone interacting with them.

I am editing to add that I feed them in the same order every time. Novia, Laela and then Star. I have my reasons for this order so everyone gets what they are supposed to have. Obviously Star finishes last. Laela and Novia don't even think to go over to Star while she's eating to take hers. Hmmm. If allowed, Laela and Novia would share the same pan without any kind of fighting or jostling.
 

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Here's a simple thing you can do if horses are crowding you: Spin a lead rope over your head (with the cotton end out, not the clip end, of course) like a helicopter before you go in. Guaranteed space. You can carry the bucket in your other hand. If you think it's an issue. I use this little trick most often if I have to go in a field with boisterous foals / weanlings at the "I want to jump up on you" play stage. It's simple and effective and doesn't involve any displays of aggression on your part; you can sing the theme to "The Sound Of Music" if you want. And it involves absolutely no making the horse do anything, it just automatically buys you room. They don't come near enough to get bumped by the rope, generally - and you can lengthen or shorten your "helicopter rotors" depending on how much rope you spin out.

( @Knave will be proud of me. It's one thing I can do with a rope! :Angel:)
 

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Your horses sound pushy...a no-no to me, especially at feeding time.
My horses are fed feed at the barn, each has a designated stall and goes to it and waits.
They stand in the back of their stall, each ground feed pan is in the front corner...
I dump food and call them to it...they approach but also know they must gently hand-touch first before they get to eat...no touch, don't you think about taking a mouthful.
No remotely in my space...
Each horse waits their turn and same scenario is carried out for each...they talk, they grumble but wait.

They know not to approach each other either or its my face in their face...
When all have finished and left their designated stall, all are free to sniff, lick each others buckets...till then you will have me showing who is boss mare!!
No arguments ever occur.
Feed done, they come out and go to a pile of hay left for them to eat...moving around tasting always occurs, but there are 2 more piles than horses so all get to eat with no grief.
:runninghorse2:...
 

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I've tried to get them to stop being so pushy with some success. After asking them several times to back up, they will actually stay briefly until I let them come in. The next evening, it will be the same all over again. I've thought plenty of just letting it be as they are not being aggressive and when someone else puts their supplement in the buckets (every morning) waiting is not a requirement. I sometimes feel that it is a lost cause unless they are asked to wait every single time.
I think it sounds like your two understand what you want but are still testing your leadership. So sticking with what you're doing and staying consistent. If you have someone else giving the supplements part of the time they should be expected to make the horses wait the same as you do. If there is any inconsistency in the way they are being handled or fed/given supplements then they will keep testing what they can get away with. My mare is one that is like that I have to make sure that everyone who deals with her knows she must have respect and must be polite. If they cant keep up with that then i don't want them handling her as she is one that will test every time with someone new to see what she can get away with.

Do you all feel that this scenario is that big of a deal? Do you feel that making them wait for food without being pushy bleeds into other interactions with them (groundwork/riding) as far as respect?
I would say this if not kept consistent with expecting space and manners out of them could be a big issue. Any time you can work on Respect and space and not having them be pushy helps establish that you are the leader of the herd and good or bad can bleed over into other interactions with them. They should be able to respect you no matter what you are doing with them. As without respect and proper manners they could easily hurt or kill you, Accedently or intentionally.

Here's a simple thing you can do if horses are crowding you: Spin a lead rope over your head (with the cotton end out, not the clip end, of course) like a helicopter before you go in. Guaranteed space.
This is a good idea and very effective. One thing I do some times is carry a riding crop with me to use as an extension of my arm and create a little more space when needed.

Now Im still a newbie owner so take my thoughts how you like
 

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Excuse me if I don't think this is about leadership, it's just about food. People get really control freaky about this sort of thing and superimpose all sorts of ideas on it that aren't there. In nature, horses don't get brought food - it's an artificial situation. Horses feeding on the range is not the same thing as a pack of dogs feeding - horses on the range just graze simultaneously. When feeding horses, the main thing is to stay safe and not to reinforce inappropriate behaviour. There's another thread here discussing this sort of thing and "how-to" at the moment - and it's not about pecking order, it's just about not rewarding behaviours you don't appreciate, and rewarding good behaviours you do want to reinforce.

https://www.horseforum.com/horse-training/food-treat-aggression-pushiness-803203/
 

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Excuse me if I don't think this is about leadership, it's just about food.
My feeling is no matter if it's just about food or not If your horse is Crowding or being pushy It is a lack of manners and respect. Manners and respect are a direct reflection of your leadership in my opinion. Now not everyone feels that way I know.
Now getting what we want as correct manners or respect does require rewarding good behaviors and correcting bad behaviors so all in all that is a reflection of Leadership as well the way I see it.
For me, good leadership and asking for manners/ respect is not about control but good communication and understanding with my horses.

So i would like to ask why you dont think its about leadership. ( its always good to understand why one person thinks one way and you think another for me its good learning) :)
 

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I think Tiny posted this on another thread.

It shows that just making a horse step back is not enough, they have to keep well away and accept the food is yours until you say differently.


 

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I take a carrot stick or lunge whip in with me and they all know that they are not to approach before I ask them too. I walk up to the feed pan, look to make sure no one is too close (within about 10-15 feet) and then dump the food in the pan. I then allow 1 horse to approach (usually Cloney first) and the rule is, he has to approach respectfully, giving 2 eyes and ears up, then he must touch my hand with his nose and THEN and only then will I step away from the food bowl and say, "Good boy" and give him a pet on the way by. If he comes in and won't look at me, ears back (caca ears), or pushy in his attitude, I send him out until he relaxes and we start all over again. Dolly has figured things out to the point I don't even have to tell her anything. She stands out of reach watching me, attention all on me, then steps in and gives me the equivalent of a 'fist bump' with her nose as I'm stepping back from the bowl. Makes things very genteel and mannerly, no fear of someone getting out of order or being too rude, they all know that they'll get sent off the food if they push in any way.

Your 3 don't sound terrible, but they are too pushy for me, a pushy horse can and frequently will throw heels at a pasture mate and if you're in the way it's not a good outcome. I would just make them give me a little space and approach like I described, it actually speeds up the whole process.
 

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One thing that has worked for me free feeding my three in an outdoor space is prepping their food and then going to do another chore, which provides some wait time for them to go stand in their spot patiently. Doing it this way was an accidental side effect of soaking their cubes/pellets, and then I realized it had inadvertently created patient horses. It might take ~5 minutes for the pellets to soak down to where I want them, so I'll use that time to pick poo or top off water; when the horses hear and see me go into the feed shed to prep the pans, they fan out to their designated spots until I come over with their pans. Their spots are spread out so the old lady who gets the most food and eats slowest gets hers first, and on from there.

The thing I still have trouble with is that the one who gets just a handful hoovers it quickly and then sort of lurks around the other two eyeing their food if I'm not within close range of them. She won't bother them when I'm in range, but I couldn't leave them without her pushing them off their pans. So I'm considering putting a rope across her shed to keep her contained with some hay while the other two finish.
 

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Hope I don't get virtual tomatoes thrown at me, but I am different. I don't have an issue with a horse greeting me when I have food. I have a little ritual, something the horses and I have enjoyed since I was a kid.

When I take the hay out to put in big tubs for the horses, I hold out the hay and let them taste a sample, then put it in their bucket. I have never had horses be aggressive to me with food, nor to each other. They know who gets to eat first, second, and so on. Sometimes I laugh with them and say, "Is the wine to your satisfaction?"

I have never found my not demanding horses move away from their food correlates to their obedience on the ground or under saddle. I know I spend a lot of time with my horses, and when I was a youngster, I spent tremendous amounts of time with my horse.

I've started a bunch of colts in my lifetime, and all 4 of the horses I have now I either started or "fixed" because they were unrideable when I got them. It could be just me, but I don't feel that ultra strict discipline around food is that necessary. At least it never has been for me. I like @bsms idea of partnership. It's worked for me, anyway.

As long as everybody's happy, then I'm happy.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks everyone for your input.

I know that I can go out there with a rope to swing or a whip and they will and have respected that. Here's the thing. Sometimes I forget to bring any thing with me, don't feel like walking ALL the way back to grab something and they are right back to being on top of me. It's not something that really even bothers me, just something in my mind that says they should behave better. Like I said, it's just the two of them, the other one stands back and she is the dominate mare out of the three.

They are not being aggressive at all. It's more "gimme gimme my food" with impatients. Not "give it or else". Laela is usually salivating she is so looking forward to it.

As far as other people feeding in the morning, changes are not going to happen and they still need to get their hay. The hay is just thrown over the fence while the horses are grabbing pieces of it.

I guess what I'm wondering is, is it really that big of a deal when no aggression is being shown but very much impatients?

I usually ask them to back up a bit and they do. I do have to repeat this several times before they stay still because they are not asked for this at every feeding.
 

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They are not being aggressive at all. It's more "gimme gimme my food" with impatients. Not "give it or else". Laela is usually salivating she is so looking forward to it.

As far as other people feeding in the morning, changes are not going to happen and they still need to get their hay. The hay is just thrown over the fence while the horses are grabbing pieces of it.

I guess what I'm wondering is, is it really that big of a deal when no aggression is being shown but very much impatients?

I usually ask them to back up a bit and they do. I do have to repeat this several times before they stay still because they are not asked for this at every feeding.

To me that is one very, very fine line between being aggressive or "gimme gimme my food" with impatience.
To me, when dealing with 1000 pound on average animals, a line to fine to want it to be defined. :|

Only you can decide what it is you want to allow, to deal with...
Ordinarily you feed and are comfortable with the behaviors exhibited...
But what happens when it isn't you feeding or dealing with the horses is the problem..unexpected changes can happen.
No, the horses will respond differently to anyone else feeding is a fact, yes.
But if established what is expected everyday, every meal a lot better chance of better behaviors being present.
Consistency is what needs followed...same day in and day out.
I don't need anything other than my voice for my horses to respond and respect my space and my wishes...and I never not demand that respect....consistency!

If you are comfortable with what you have...leave it alone.
If you want change, then make changes but expect those new attitudes and manners to be done every day as sameness is a must with animals...
Respect, rules given and enforced by you makes daily interactions more pleasant and predictable in nature.
:runninghorse2:...
jmo..
 
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@horselovinguy you just said what I was thinking!

But, I take the easy way out. There are 5 horses where my paso is boarded. I put the other 4 in stalls to eat their oats and a little hay so my paso and I can spend time together without their interference. He gets oats/treats in a bucket, then follows me around while I dump out more piles of hay for everybody. I check him over for owies, groom and love on him for awhile. Then go let the others out and everybody is happy. Of course if the weather is bad they just stay in the stalls.

If you don't have stalls and want them to start backing off then take the lunge whip--it's worth the trouble. Just tapping it on the ground is usually enough for our guys.
 
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Thanks everyone for your input.

I know that I can go out there with a rope to swing or a whip and they will and have respected that. Here's the thing. Sometimes I forget to bring any thing with me, don't feel like walking ALL the way back to grab something and they are right back to being on top of me. It's not something that really even bothers me, just something in my mind that says they should behave better. Like I said, it's just the two of them, the other one stands back and she is the dominate mare out of the three.

They are not being aggressive at all. It's more "gimme gimme my food" with impatients. Not "give it or else". Laela is usually salivating she is so looking forward to it.

As far as other people feeding in the morning, changes are not going to happen and they still need to get their hay. The hay is just thrown over the fence while the horses are grabbing pieces of it.

I guess what I'm wondering is, is it really that big of a deal when no aggression is being shown but very much impatients?

I usually ask them to back up a bit and they do. I do have to repeat this several times before they stay still because they are not asked for this at every feeding.
My honest answer to you is this. If you're happy, I'm happy. If I were asked to feed for you though, I would carry my whip and I would make them back off and stay backed off. No, it wouldn't be for every meal, but trust me on this one, horses are smart enough to know "Don't mess with this one" and "Oh mom let's me get away with anything.". So if you'd be ok with me swinging a whip (NOT whipping them, just enforcing space limits) and making them behave for me, then let them do whatever you are ok with for you.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Well, I guess the major consensus is that it makes a big difference and some feel like it doesn't. With my girls pushiness, it's more of an annoyance than anything for me personally. I guess that is because I know them. For someone else who doesn't, they may take it as aggressiveness and I can see why they would. I don't really worry about them getting at each other during feed time and getting caught up in it because they don't bicker among themselves at feed time anyway. Laela lets Novia share everything with her and like I said, Star is very polite (or conditioned) and waits.

Most of the lack of consistency for them is because I give the supplements and hay at night and then someone else gives hay in the morning because realistically most mornings I can't be there. I've watched it being done and they just grab hay before it even gets over the fence. A small part of it is because sometimes I don't bring something with me to shoe them off. In those times I just push them back with my hand. Even though they listen, they don't take it too seriously so it's not very effective. As soon as I turn around they're back. I pretty much have eliminated their interactions with other people for the most part for various reasons. The only exception is the hay in the morning.

This evening, I made it a point to bring a lead rope out with me and swung it around and of course they backed off and waited. They know the routine with the lead rope but to be honest, it's not me that they are backing off from, it's the lead rope. I can guarantee that if I didn't have it, they would be right there. I will do it every single time while telling them "back off" I'll test them in a couple of weeks and see if it makes a difference. Maybe I will try to make it a game for them and teach them to give me a high five before they get to eat.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
My honest answer to you is this. If you're happy, I'm happy. If I were asked to feed for you though, I would carry my whip and I would make them back off and stay backed off. No, it wouldn't be for every meal, but trust me on this one, horses are smart enough to know "Don't mess with this one" and "Oh mom let's me get away with anything.". So if you'd be ok with me swinging a whip (NOT whipping them, just enforcing space limits) and making them behave for me, then let them do whatever you are ok with for you.
Ha, I wish you were the one feeding them in the morning. I would not have a problem with that at all. No one seems to have the the time to do this where they are at.

I am going to start being more insistent about this with them just for the mere fact that I wouldn't want them to scare someone else who might resort to hitting them to get back because they are fearful of them.

Like Horseluvinguy said, you never know what the future holds.

This wasn't really a how to question. I just wanted to know what other peoples thoughts were on this behavior whether they thought it was really a big deal or not.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I think it's up to you. If you feel safe, why change it?
Yes, I do feel safe. They really are not being mean or buttheads. I was wondering what peoples thoughts on it were. I will be working on it more consistently just for the fact that better behavior won't kill them.
 

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Hope I don't get virtual tomatoes thrown at me, but I am different. I don't have an issue with a horse greeting me when I have food. I have a little ritual, something the horses and I have enjoyed since I was a kid.

When I take the hay out to put in big tubs for the horses, I hold out the hay and let them taste a sample, then put it in their bucket. I have never had horses be aggressive to me with food, nor to each other. They know who gets to eat first, second, and so on. Sometimes I laugh with them and say, "Is the wine to your satisfaction?"

I have never found my not demanding horses move away from their food correlates to their obedience on the ground or under saddle. I know I spend a lot of time with my horses, and when I was a youngster, I spent tremendous amounts of time with my horse.

I've started a bunch of colts in my lifetime, and all 4 of the horses I have now I either started or "fixed" because they were unrideable when I got them. It could be just me, but I don't feel that ultra strict discipline around food is that necessary. At least it never has been for me. I like @bsms idea of partnership. It's worked for me, anyway.

As long as everybody's happy, then I'm happy.
And that's basically my experience and thoughts on it too. I don't get run over by horses - I've never had to react to something like that. I think they just know not to run me over. With a new horse, if it approaches me in a way I don't like, I just let it know that early, before it gets to that sort of point. And if I have to go in a paddock with random horses elsewhere that are rude and pushy, I do my helicopter trick. I don't have to get upset about anything, I just have to act intelligently.
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
And that's basically my experience and thoughts on it too. I don't get run over by horses - I've never had to react to something like that. I think they just know not to run me over. With a new horse, if it approaches me in a way I don't like, I just let it know that early, before it gets to that sort of point. And if I have to go in a paddock with random horses elsewhere that are rude and pushy, I do my helicopter trick. I don't have to get upset about anything, I just have to act intelligently.

There is one gelding on the property that I would smack the heck out of if he gets near me. Why, because he bites and kicks. He's not my horse so I don't interact with him on a daily basis therefore I don't want him around me at all. If he were mine I would try to change that if I could.

My girls are pretty much just really, really, really ready for me to share food with them (they share with each other). There is no ear pinning, jostling to be first in line, squealing, kicking or anything. They just can't their faces jammed into the pan fast enough. Nom, Nom, Nom, Nom.
 
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