Why you should sometimes feed your horses treats by hand
Because when The Naughty Pony (who NEVER budges from the hay pile when turned out in the arena for breakfast until chased away by the big boys) decides to sneak out the gate you leave open (because he NEVER budges... see above) and head down the driveway, you can lure him back into captivity by pulling a horse cookie out of your pocket and holding it in front of his furry little nose as you walk back to the arena.
I really thought I was going to be trudging through the desert, dodging cactus, in pursuit of his furry not-so-little butt at 6:30 this morning.
And then I remembered the cookies... held one out, called his name, and gluttony did its job.
Approved helmet: Every time; every ride.
"When a sport gets to be predictable it ceases to be fun." - RAR's wise brother
Thank you for making me feel better about my paranoid gate closing / latching practices. Sometimes I feel like Rainman, latching every gate, even when I'm only going to be in the field for 'a minute'. Not. No. More. !
I tolerate all kinds of animal idiosyncrasies.
I've found that I don't tolerate people idiosyncrasies as well. - Casey09
lol, I had to substitude plastic kleenex baggy one day when my normally chow hound gelding decided he was gonna go play 'after dinner' before (or instead) hay desert... but it does neccessitate to hand feed treats, or the crinkle means nothing!
Originally Posted by Mozart
Personally, I think the moderate use of shock collars in training humans should be allowed.
Oh yeah.....treats are great! I go to work at 1a.m., live on 40 acres divided in half by a state highway with mares/foals on one side and bachelor herd of boys/geldings on the other side. Alarm went off and I rolled over, swore at it and got up one night. Dogs were barking outside but I was half asleep and not really paying attention. Dressed and noted that the dogs were STILL barking...hmmmmm...go check and find that somehow (still don't know how) my entire mare herd was in the front yard and a herd of mustangs was on the road daring each other to come in and visit (or maybe steal a mare or two). Thankfully my girls all love peppermint candies..... grabbed a bucket, ran into the house and dumped a whole bag of them into the bucket, unwrapped a few while running back out....the mustangs decided I was NOT something they had anticipated and departed in a hurry. A couple girls thought about following (hussies) but got either a whiff of peppermint smell or heard the cellophane rustling and came back....the entire herd led right back into their field without a single one (there were a dozen of them along with a couple foals and a yearling filly or two) missing the gate. I unwrapped several handsful of the candies and scattered them around....treasure hunt for the horses while I got out, got the gate closed and securely latched (possible I had not done well when out at feeding time). Took maybe 10 minutes thankfully and I wasn't even late to work. Gotta love the "love my treats" thing.
Neighbor pulled his pickup and trailer in the big lot Saturday and in those few seconds the gate was open, 20 year old, that was busy eating breakfast, it seemed, spotted said open gate and made his escape.
I heard galloping horse, went to look, horse spotted me and my hand reaching into treat pocket and, all else forgotten, came running to check the possibilities.
Jackpot! There were treats there and he followed all the way back into the horse pens.
Cowboys snicker at feeding treats, but I have caught them also feeding some here and there.
I rather teach not to mug for treats than have horses running off, the whole world more interesting than mere humans without treats.
I'll admit I'm a bit OCD about locking/closing gates. But it's an OCD tendency that's served me well. Still, escapees happen, especially those pony-sized ones who seem to whoosh past us right below our line of sight.
As for hand-feeding treats, for gawd's sake, YES. DO EEEET. That was how I caught two loose neighbor horses in the middle of the night not too long ago -- by snapping a carrot in half (at which point I was then politely mauled for carrots) and then walking the carrot 'hos/my new best friends evah into my round pen. They weren't very interested in me until they heard The Carrot Snap.
I was training Rainy to come to me when I said, "cookie." She is a peppermint horse cookie 'ho. She has been known to stop cavorting and come when "called."
All of my riding clothes with pockets have cookie dust in them. I don't always have mints or carrots, but I almost always have horse cookies. I even use a bum bag to carry them on me if I need a lot of them or have no pockets.
The Lifesaver individually wrapped peppermint candies live in my pockets. They are super easy to open in a hurry and the wrapper makes that all important crinkle sound. All of the horses at our barn know what that sound means and when you've just stuck a syringe in a horse's neck and it jerked back really hard, you dropped the lead rope and the horse is moving away from you because you're now the bad guy, you need to get their attention fast (yes, I know, I shouldn't have tried to do this a)out in the field b) by myself c) etc, etc. Consider me duly chastised).
Plus, should they go through the washer they generally emerge with the wrapper still intact and no gross stuff in your pocket!
Yes, treats are wonderful! As long as they come with rules!
If any of my horses get out, I run, not towards them, but towards the feed bin!! I usually have treats on me though and one thing I have learned that if the rare horse decides the carrot does is not as appealing as the grass, the carrot is much more appealing if I start munching on it (loudly!)
Ponies are like homing pigeons. They always come back.
Ponies know where they're well off. They always come home.
Ponies have a small device in the front of their brains that means they seek and destroy anything edible in their path. Then when they're finished the "homing device" triggers in.
Ponies are selectively deaf but are tuned to always hear a bread bag rustle or a bucket with chopped carrot rattle from across a 20 acre field on a windy day or at 2 in the morning from 1/4 mile up the farm track.
Ponies escape just because they can.
The other way to get them in is to close the gate and put some tape at the side they're on. They'll push through the tape and the gate just because they can!!!
Trust me..... I know!!!
I retrieved three from our holiday cottage garden this morning!! All gates shut and all fencing intact .... and now all flowers eaten and all lawn chewed up to mud!!! The darned things were neighing from about 5am and I wondered what all the shouting was for!!! They were complaining that they hadn't found their way back out!!! GRRRRRR
It works up here in the cold, wet north too. I went to get my mare out of her paddock yesterday. It had been raining and the paddock was muddy and slimy and I had my riding boots on. I called my mare in my sweetest voice and was gratified to see her turn and look at me and think about coming over but the round bale she was working on was way more interesting until...... I took a large carrot out of my pocket waved in in the air and then snapped it. He head went up, her ears pricked and she ambled over. No trekking through the mud for me I know how to use the power of horse treats.