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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug. 31, 2000
    Location
    Idaho
    Posts
    971

    Default Hand feeding treats - consensus?

    Is this always a no go? I own what I will call a mugger - nose in pockets, lick you up and down for cookies gelding. Lately he has escalated a bit (surprise, surprise) so I stopped hand feeding treats completely for a few weeks - no change. Do you hand feed treats? Why or why not?



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun. 4, 2012
    Location
    Louisa County, Virginia
    Posts
    285

    Default

    I have 16, mostly schoolies, a couple retirees, a couple hunt horses, and they all get hand fed treats. In fact, I have treats in the tackroom specifically for kids to feed before and after their lessons (and they learn how to do so safely, very important). Once shown how to feed safely, parents and siblings are welcome to feed treats to other horses over the pasture fence. If anyone gets at all muggy, they get the flick on their nose a time or two (literally index or middle finger flicking off of thumb. Right on the muzzle, this is quick, effective, doesn't create overreaction). I have never had to escalate to more than that, although if I did, my philosophy would be: How would the dominant horse react to being bitten? So I would come down pretty hard. I can appreciate some busy barns banning the practice, though. I just haven't had it be a problem.


    2 members found this post helpful.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb. 14, 2008
    Posts
    935

    Default

    My boys always get hand fed treats and neither bite.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    May. 5, 2009
    Location
    Location: Indiana, but my heart is in Zone II
    Posts
    2,833

    Default

    No hand treats except in the in hand classes. I can't stand my horses being pushy. That's just my opinion and works for me.
    Come to the dark side, we have cookies



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb. 9, 2011
    Location
    IE SoCal
    Posts
    922

    Default

    I hand feed treats a lot. I never treat a horse who is touching me or in my space. The behavior you reward gets repeated. I have no problems with mugging because mugging = no treats. The horses want their treats.
    ______________________________________________
    My Blog -horses & photography


    4 members found this post helpful.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb. 2, 2003
    Location
    Iowa, USA
    Posts
    2,663

    Default

    i feed treats too but insist on the finer points of manners so that it doesn't escalate to the nipping. What you describe as mugging and licking is pretty far up the escalation scale, in my book. My corrections would basically start at anything more serious than looking really, really earnestly at me.
    I define my personal space whereever i want it to be and they can't invade mine, period end of story. And when you're addressing it at that level, the correction needed is so minor, usually just "Quit" or "Backup" (the human equivalent to flicking an ear back), that you don't feel like a big meanie. After all feeding treats is meant to be fun and a bonding thing.
    Try to break down crushing defeats into smaller, more manageable failures. It’s also helpful every now and then to stop, take stock of your situation, and really beat yourself up about it.The Onion


    1 members found this post helpful.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug. 31, 2000
    Location
    Idaho
    Posts
    971

    Default

    Any correction such as a slap, poke, flick invites him to play right back at me. I've had him for a year and a half - he came to me this way - feedlot rescue that the rescue org that saved him earned his trust by hand feeding treats. I guess he had no idea what treats were when they got him in.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct. 26, 2007
    Location
    San Jose, Ca
    Posts
    5,673

    Default

    I had feed treats, but mugging is not allowed – she is taught to wait, and take them politely when offered.

    I also do “carrot stretches” each day with my horse – so she obviously gets those by hand.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2007
    Location
    TX
    Posts
    42,966

    Default

    I use treats with most horses, a few, not at all, at least not until I feel they have learned to respect human space very well and be patient.

    Just had one such very sweet but clueless oaf of a horse and no, he was not getting any treats for a while.
    He obviously had been fed treats before as bribes and was a bit pushy anyway.
    He had a way to go to learn some good manners and treats were only going to make him frantic for more at first, so didn't want to go there.

    Treats with horses that are pastured are very good to help keep them interested in you, as long as that is all they do, don't make pushy or anxious horses or have them competing for your treats.

    I feed treats after they show being patient and feed them low, as I work to scratch their heads too, so that is also a training situation, where they learn humans touching them at any times can be expected and is part of feeling good about their world.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug. 21, 2012
    Posts
    667

    Default

    I hand feed treats all the time. I also use it when training. The first thing I taught my young stallion to do was to back up a step and then come forward for his treat. Now he makes me smile...when he knows I have treats for him....he backs up a step for me. He is very very sweet. When training with treats I am usually in my indoor and they are free. If they get pushy I just sent then on their way.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep. 21, 2009
    Location
    Queens, NY
    Posts
    1,546

    Default

    We hand treat all day, everyday, while working in harness, bridles on

    Customers and kids love it, it's great for photo ops, creates goodwill with passer-by, helps to keep our horses friendly and interested in people; but most of all, it greatly increases the horses' enjoyment of their work shift. And it's satisfying for the driver to make his horse happy

    We also have two special treat-givers:

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f...type=3&theater

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f...type=3&theater
    Last edited by michaleenflynn; Feb. 22, 2013 at 08:54 PM.
    VP Horse & Carriage Association of NYC

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-F...ref=ts&fref=ts


    2 members found this post helpful.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul. 4, 2000
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    1,849

    Default

    I hand feed treats also, but like Ticker and Hippo, I insist the mares work for it first. I use clicker training to indicate the behavior I want (stay out of my space) and make sure that I am 110% consistent in the process.

    *star*
    "Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit."
    - Desiderata, (c) Max Ehrman, 1926



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul. 1, 2011
    Posts
    2,173

    Default

    I hand feed treats to all my horses. One of my horses came to me quite rude about treats. I trained him he only got treats if he was looking away from me. Solved that problem. Even years later when I didn't worry about him anymore as he learned to be polite if he thought I had treats and didn't give it to him right away he would turn his head and look away



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep. 24, 2012
    Posts
    282

    Default

    No, I give treats IN a bucket. A lady at my barn was hand feeding my gelding carrots every time she saw him, one day after my ride he turned around and started nosing me, which he does NOT do. So I squashed that, and tied a bucket to his pen and asked her to put them in the bucket instead. That way she could treat him, but I wouldn't have a "nosey" horse.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr. 14, 2001
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    17,643

    Default

    I hand feed treats. Don't have any problems with pushy horses. Never really even considered the possibility that I might. I don't take much crap, though, when it comes to my space, so there's not a whole lot of opportunity to get mouthy.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Oct. 18, 2000
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    8,077

    Default

    For the mouthy horses the treats go in the bucket. For the ones with good manners, they may be hand fed, but in my laziness, I am finding that more and more often I just put them all in their buckets.
    "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." Albert Einstein

    http://s1098.photobucket.com/albums/...2011%20Photos/



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul. 24, 2004
    Posts
    2,737

    Default

    I've always fed treats by hand for my horses - never been an issue. If they get mouthy/pushy then they get into trouble (and mine always learn early on about manners and respect). I don't tolerate rude horses whatsoever and they know it. I will not hand-feed a horse who is not mine and is rude - I just have no patience for that kind of behavior.
    "When a horse greets you with a nicker & regards you with a large & liquid eye, the question of where you want to be & what you want to do has been answered." CANTER New England



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan. 18, 2013
    Posts
    125

    Default

    Pushy horses, if they get treats, get them in their feed bucket. Occasionally, I'll hand feed a horse, but even the ones who're good usually just get them in the bucket.

    One place I worked, a couple of people would bribe the horses to behave with treats. The pushy, invasive 'mugger' behaviour was always getting rewarded. That drove me up the wall!



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul. 21, 2006
    Location
    South Carolina
    Posts
    5,064

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by dmj View Post
    Any correction such as a slap, poke, flick invites him to play right back at me.
    Ha! I have one just like that. His name is Quanah, and he was taught to be such a nippy little pest that around the barn he was known as Quanah the Piranha. The people who taught him to bite did it with the best of intentions and the worst of timing, as follows:
    Pony nips.
    Human, startled, doesn't do anything for a second.
    Then human slaps pony with open hand while he's standing there not nipping.
    Pony thinks "Oh, goody! She wants me to nip more!"

    But I cured him by - hand-feeding treats!
    When he earned them. Here's how:
    Go out to pony with treats in an easily-defended pocket or container and a clicker.
    Completely ignore nosing, mugging, and any other behavior you don't like. (You may want to start on the other side of a stall guard. I just stood beside mine, but at first had to do some dancing and spinning to keep treats out of reach until the right time.
    When pony turns his head away from you - click and treat.
    Do this five minutes at a time as often as possible. I bet he'll start to catch on by the end of the first session, but continue for six or eight sessions to get him solid.
    After he's got that down, think of some more behaviors you can click and treat.
    But only give him treats when he earns them. Don't be a Pez dispenser!


    1 members found this post helpful.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Aug. 14, 2008
    Location
    The beautiful midwest
    Posts
    826

    Default

    I have always hand fed and never had a problem. Just got a new 4 yr old filly who is oh so friendly, head in your lap wanting to be petted. She will walk up to anybody and want her face petted. She had not been handfed when I got her, in fact she'd never been fed treats at all. I thought I would try not hand feeding her, treats go in the bucket. Never had one this demanding of physical attention and don't want her to start wanting treats and getting nippy. So far so good, never looking for a treat, still just wanting to be petted. Its an individual thing.
    Lilykoi


    Hell hath no fury like the chestnut thoroughbred mare



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