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Doesn't understand treats...

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  • #21
    Originally posted by Tom Bloomer View Post
    The social order of horses is a dominance hierarchy. The more dominant horses push the less dominant horses off of the choice feed/grazing areas. Therefore, if you use food (treats) as a reward, you are teaching the horse that it is OK to be aggressive and dominate YOU.
    OK, really? It's a wonder my horses even let me ride them. Because I feed them all their meals, so obviously they must dominate me.

    OP: I agree to try peppermints - you can probably find something very small (like Tic Tacs?) that might be just enough for a mini.

    If a horse doesn't consider food a 'reward' then I would try other ways to reward like petting or scratching. But, clicker training and food as a reinforcer is a great way to train certain things. I think you can over-do the treating so you have to watch and see how it goes (my TB mare will not leave you alone if you give her a peppermint, so I tend not to give her any).

    Our mini, though, was a mostly unhandled broodmare before we got her (she's 22 now and we got her last year). She is just very timid and shy, and that may never change. She does like food, though, so it is possible to give her little rewards for allowing us to "catch" and halter her (something she is reluctant to do). So far she hasn't turned into a biting maniac.

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    • #22
      Originally posted by S1969 View Post
      OK, really? It's a wonder my horses even let me ride them. Because I feed them all their meals, so obviously they must dominate me.
      Nice try, but domestic horses do not have to "do" anything besides walk to the feeding area to be fed their meals. As such their is no "learned behavior" on their part and in their minds they do not provide you with any "stimulus" or dominate you in any way in order to get to the food. However, if they holler when they see you walk out the back door because sometimes when you do that you throw out some hay, then in their minds hollering is associated with stimulating you to bring food - because more often than not when they holler, eventually they get food. And once they have food, they stop hollering . . .

      So indeed whatever abnormal behavior (not the result of natural instinct) they exhibit at meal time is what they think they have to do to get you to bring food. Add a new horse to the herd, and that horse will take up whatever meal time behavior the others are doing because IT WORKS for them in their mind.

      OP: I agree to try peppermints - you can probably find something very small (like Tic Tacs?) that might be just enough for a mini.
      LOL, and it would make their breath smell sweet to other horses in the herd that were avoiding them due to chronic halitosos.

      If a horse doesn't consider food a 'reward' then I would try other ways to reward like petting or scratching. But, clicker training and food as a reinforcer is a great way to train certain things. I think you can over-do the treating so you have to watch and see how it goes (my TB mare will not leave you alone if you give her a peppermint, so I tend not to give her any).
      Well darn, so your TB mare exhibits dominant behavior and invades your space uninvited when you feed her treats? Say it ain't so!

      Our mini, though, was a mostly unhandled broodmare before we got her (she's 22 now and we got her last year). She is just very timid and shy, and that may never change. She does like food, though, so it is possible to give her little rewards for allowing us to "catch" and halter her (something she is reluctant to do). So far she hasn't turned into a biting maniac.
      A real horseman doesn't need food to catch a horse any more than a herd leader horse needs to "invite" less dominant horses to share their space.

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      • #23
        Originally posted by Tom Bloomer View Post
        Well darn, so your TB mare exhibits dominant behavior and invades your space uninvited when you feed her treats? Say it ain't so!
        No, just for peppermints.

        Originally posted by Tom Bloomer View Post
        A real horseman doesn't need food to catch a horse any more than a herd leader horse needs to "invite" less dominant horses to share their space.
        In theory. Someone other than a real horseman owned this mini for most of her life. I'm not sure you can always "undo" two decades of learned behavior by just being a "real horseman." But there is certainly a variety of acceptable training methods that work in different circumstances and for different animals.

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        • #24
          Originally posted by S1969 View Post
          No, just for peppermints.
          So she is particular about the kind of buttons that make her push your buttons.

          In theory. Someone other than a real horseman owned this mini for most of her life. I'm not sure you can always "undo" two decades of learned behavior by just being a "real horseman."
          The rescue story does not indicate that this horse was separated from other horses and therefore not acclimated to the natural social order and herd dynamics. The OP has not described how the horse interacts with other horses and that information would be paramount in evaluating what the horse's social needs are. Treats are an anthropomorphic imposition that serves the emotional needs of the human to feel wanted by the horse that would otherwise ignore the person as someone who makes incoherent gestures.

          But there is certainly a variety of acceptable training methods that work in different circumstances and for different animals.
          What works best for training horses is communicating directly to the horse in their own language.

          Comment


          • #25
            Originally posted by Tom Bloomer View Post
            A real horseman doesn't need food to catch a horse any more than a herd leader horse needs to "invite" less dominant horses to share their space.
            A halter can help though.

            https://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphot...26704627_o.jpg

            My gelding grew up in a herd including his mother, who was the dominant mare. Sometimes she would allow him to share her food, sometimes she wouldn't. If he approached her when she didn't feel like sharing, her body language would indicate that and he would back off. In essence I treat him the same way. If I have a peppermint, I may choose to share it and or I may not. If he approaches me and I wish to share, I will offer it to him and he will take it politely. If I do not wish to share, I do not offer it to him and he does not persist. He understands that being pushy will result in the boundaries of my personal space being enforced in a fast and firm manner that I like to think I learned from his mother. (Although unlike her, I would never remove a layer of skin or give him a hematoma.) We are both quite happy with this arrangement. I enjoy giving him treats, and he enjoys eating them but does not seem to think they are his by right, nor does he become upset in any way if there are none given.

            But sometimes it's just fun to share!

            https://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphot...89442016_o.jpg

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            • Original Poster

              #26
              So far, the alfalfa pellets and granola bar bites have worked! Success!
              "No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle" - Winston Churchill

              Check out Central Virginia Horse Rescue

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              • Original Poster

                #27
                Lyric- love that last picture!!!
                "No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle" - Winston Churchill

                Check out Central Virginia Horse Rescue

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                • #28
                  My horse came off the track not knowing anything about treats. I started putting those soft peppermints in the side of his mouth (I would just sort of pop them in there). He did like the taste, and eventually came to enjoy treats.

                  I do wish I had never taught him about treats, though, as it did make him mouthy for a time, and then I had to fix that. I have a super hard time remembering now why I ever thought it was important that he enjoy taking hand fed treats!

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                  • #29


                    FWIW, I also have a little arab mare who was turned out on 40 acres when she was weaned and had no human contact until she was 3. When I got her she had no idea what treats or grain were either. She wouldn't touch any of it until I shredded some carrot with my teeth and she got a taste of the actual juice. That gave her the idea that just because something was a funny texture didn't mean it wouldn't taste good! Apparently she just didn't know what to do with anything that was the wrong "shape" in her mouth. After the shredded carrot taste she associated the smell with the good taste, and started taking small chunks, then larger pieces and now will try pretty much anything I offer to her or toss in her feed bucket. Your mini may just not realize that apples become applesauce when chewed, and carrots are not weird rubbery rocks!

                    Comment


                    • #30
                      Originally posted by Tom Bloomer View Post
                      So she is particular about the kind of buttons that make her push your buttons.
                      I just think she really likes peppermint.

                      Originally posted by Tom Bloomer View Post
                      The rescue story does not indicate that this horse was separated from other horses and therefore not acclimated to the natural social order and herd dynamics. The OP has not described how the horse interacts with other horses and that information would be paramount in evaluating what the horse's social needs are. Treats are an anthropomorphic imposition that serves the emotional needs of the human to feel wanted by the horse that would otherwise ignore the person as someone who makes incoherent gestures.
                      I was describing my mini as being left "feral" for 20 years. My mini interacts with other horses quite well, but is pretty fearful of people. In our case, a few treats have helped encourage her to come to a person with a halter instead of running away from them.

                      Can you create new problems with treats - sure - especially if you feed the horse that is mugging you for them. But they certainly aren't the worst thing in the world, nor are they a miracle cure for basic training.

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #31
                        Guess who is now eating carrots and loves them! in my hand I had alfalfa pellets, granola bar pieces, peppermints and carrots- he chose the carrots! and the sweetest, gentlest little nibbles. A very happy 26" pony. you guys are the best!
                        "No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle" - Winston Churchill

                        Check out Central Virginia Horse Rescue

                        Comment


                        • #32
                          Originally posted by FineAlready View Post
                          . . .
                          I do wish I had never taught him about treats, though, as it did make him mouthy for a time, and then I had to fix that. I have a super hard time remembering now why I ever thought it was important that he enjoy taking hand fed treats!
                          Probably resulted from an infection of the fluffbunny virus.

                          Comment


                          • #33
                            I've had many who come with this "affliction". They all have their preferences - apples, carrots, peppermints, apple wafers, etc. When I introduce them to something they haven't eaten before, they rarely eat it. I lift their lips a bit and scrape/shave some of the treat on their teeth. This forces them to eat it and taste it and usually they begin to warm up to it after that! Good luck!

                            Comment


                            • #34
                              To the OP, as an aside, if you haven't had his teeth checked, I'd do so. He may not want to take the bigger items because they are hard to chew...
                              Strong promoter of READING the entire post before responding.

                              Comment


                              • #35
                                OP, glad he's on his route to being a normal, sweet tooth pony!
                                www.facebook.com/lusitanos4sale

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #36
                                  Thanks SCMSL He is loving the concept of treats and is progressing well with training now! Such a little sweetie.

                                  Finders - GREAT suggestion. I've got the equine dentist coming in March for my gelding so ill be sure to have him check my mare and little guy too. I doubt he's ever had them done!
                                  "No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle" - Winston Churchill

                                  Check out Central Virginia Horse Rescue

                                  Comment


                                  • #37
                                    I'm so glad he's doing well!!!
                                    Teaching Horseback Riding Lessons: A Practical Training Manual for Instructors

                                    Stop Wasting Hay and Extend Consumption Time With Round Bale Hay Nets!!

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                                    • #38
                                      My guy watched another horse eat a carrot and decided it was OK.

                                      Comment


                                      • #39
                                        Q: What happens to the farrier when someone(eg: fluff bunny owner suffering from TSS or some other moron) routinely and regularly hand feeds treats, especially peppermints or other hard candy(but apples/carrots, etc. count, too), to their horse?

                                        A:

                                        It might be worthwhile if several of the thread contributors actually knew and understood the nine basic behavior categories under which horses operate and what that implies/means for/about their intra-herd dynamics. And for those who don't yet comprehend it, the human connection(s) are indeed part of the herd, whether that herd is 1 or a thousand or more. Want to see a microcosm of herd dynamics in humans? Read the ensuing replies to this........... lol!

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