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Anybody else have a horse that refuses all treats?

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  • Anybody else have a horse that refuses all treats?

    Exactly as the title says. I'm a big positive reinforcement person, but the new fussy pants mare won't eat any type of treat I've offered. I also like to use them for stretching exercises.

    What worked for you?

  • #2
    I had a mare that like Cheez its. She would do anything for a cheez it. That same mare also loved dehydrated Pink Lady Apples. I would make them for a trail treat for me. We would be wandering down the trail I'd reach into the saddle bag to get a little piece of apple and she'd crane her head around and wait for her piece. She also liked beer.

    I had a gelding who LOVED ice cubes. He wouldn't eat anything else out of your hands but an ice cube.
    Chambermaid to....


    • #3
      Could always try peanuts in their shell, cranberries, prunes, iceberg lettuce, or sunflower seeds. Might get lucky with one of those!


      • #4
        Scout had no clue what hand fed treats were about. Now he's discovered grapes, and raisins, and he likes the peppermint flavored treats but not peppermints. He will not have any part of a sugar cube.

        just keep experimenting. and try them in her bucket. she may be funny about eating out of your hand.


        • #5
          I agree with katarine about feeding them in a bucket first. I got a mare who was 5 when she came out of a field and was immediately stalled at the trainers. When she came to live with me she had no idea what a treat was.

          She would refuse them from my hand and I would just toss hers in her feed bin when I gave some to the other horses. Gradually, she started eating them and will eat out of my hand. She prefers butterscotch flavor (I think the brand is Manna.) After a while she started eating from my hand. She still won't eat apples, carrots, or other treats which most horses go crazy for.


          • #6
            When we first got my mare, she didn't want to eat anything out of our hands. I think she'd just never really done that. My fiancé offered her Kashi Go Lean Crunch enough that she learned fast. Now we've totally ruined her and she acts like a whore begging for treats (especially from my fiancé who's a Pez dispenser in disguise).

            Find something your horse likes and it's all downhill from there...
            Born under a rock and owned by beasts!


            • #7
              My gelding doesn't like most commercial treats, although he'll eat apples and carrots. His favorite "other" treat–the only one he'll eat–is peppermint TUMS.


              • Original Poster

                She eats grain from my hand no problem; so I don't think that's the issue. That's what I've been using as a "treat", but it's really not convenient, and not really big enough for neck stretches. I might just have to buy a bunch of stuff and see what will work. I've NEVER had a horse turn down Nicker Makers, and she won't eat those. My other horses will tear down the fences for those.

                She might eat those sweet feed "muffin" type treats - I just hate buying them because they are expensive and you don't get very many in a container.


                • #9
                  My horses all love Apple Wafers. As a substitute I started buying Cow Cubes - the larger size cube of the pelleted feed we used to buy. (Totally safe for horses.) They LOVE those now and they only cost like $8/50 pounds!! I think if I threw a handful of nuggests on the roof, all the horses would be on the roof!!
                  Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma


                  • #10
                    Meadow, ask your feed guy to find a larger-pellet grain for you. They DO exist! Then, you can give a single pellet per treat. It's much easier than a little handful of loose grain, with the horse trying to lick up every crumb. (Though, it's still not as good as a long carrot for those neck stretches.)

                    I'm sure it is very frustrating to try to do +R with a horse who doesn't want treats. I would be heartbroken!
                    I have a Fjord! Life With Oden


                    • #11
                      Offering her something and then offering it to another horse (who WILL eat it) may work, after a few goes. Especially if they're friends and your horse will sniff noses with the other.

                      I find the Apples & Oats things pretty tempting, too. I still have horses that won't do carrots, apples or peppermints, but LOVE those treats!


                      • #12
                        My gelding will only eat the Nicker Makers. He'll eat apples if they're cut up and in his feed pan. He does like Guinness, but of course that doesn't help with stretches!

                        If a small handful of grain works for stretches, then use that. You could always put a small amount in a little baggie and then take some out of the bag for each stretch.


                        • #13
                          One of mine will not eat any junk food, only apples and carrots. No peppermints, no watermelon, no chips, beer or soda. The other eats anything plus hot chocolate, coffee, orange soda and beer and he doesn't object to cigarette smoke. I think it was his race track training!


                          • #14
                            How about putting the pelleted feed in those little pastry puffs/crusts or making like a refridgerator cookie with the pelleted feed. There has got to be something you could use to hold them together. Even if they are a little sticky you could use those little cupcake papers to hold them in.


                            • #15
                              Carrots. Or old-school Horse Nibbles. I break them in half to make them last longer.
                              "You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed." - The Little Prince


                              • #16
                                I've got two words for you.

                                Watermelon. Rind.
                                Dreadful Acres: the chronicle of my extraordinary unsuitability to country life


                                • #17
                                  My TB gelding never ate treats (not even carrots, let me tell you how my jaw hit the floor when I figured that out) until I put him with my two Morgans, who "ate first, asked questions later".

                                  It was completely unintentional on my part, but that honestly cured his "disease", and he has officially adopted the Morgans' policy. I suppose he figured it was ok based on their behavior...?


                                  • #18
                                    Mrs. Pastures. Then you can begin working down to the cheaper stuff.


                                    • #19
                                      Ginger snaps! the horses at my barn - and dogs too - go crazy for them. They are cheap too, buy them at grocery for around $2 a bag


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by betonbill View Post
                                        Mrs. Pastures. Then you can begin working down to the cheaper stuff.
                                        Ha, ha, ha - my guys LOVE Mrs. Pastures. We tried to go the cheaper route with Dumor's from TSC. They ate them maybe 2 or 3 times and then flat-out refused to touch them ever again! I guess they figured that if they held out long enough we'd relent and buy them their coveted Mrs. Pastures (which we did, of course - always have a supply of Mrs. Pastures on hand now).

                                        They also like Starlight mints, candy canes, those jelly candies (like the old Chuckles), and carrots. And people oatmeal cookies are good too!