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To treat or not

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Anonymous

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I was watching my wife work a couple of her horses last night, she always has a pocket full of treats. I noticed that both horses would follow her around with their "nose "on her pocket, being lead or not. One of her horses would not do the desired task until he got a treat, as simple a picking up a foot to be picked.

My wife and I have the same basic thoughts on training but my treats during training are rubs and sratching... a tender hand, not food. I do give food treats during down time and bonding times... in the stall or turn out, but not asking for anything. I should say my wife and my styles are different enough that we agreed not to handle each others horses and after seeing her horses in her pocket all the time last night, I asked her not to give my horses treats unless they are in the stall.

Has anyone had problem with horse on top of you or in you pocket because of treats?

Thanks Alan
 

Running Arrow Bill

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Treats can be ok if used sparingly and intermittantly (basic behavioral psychological principle). Don't want horses to be getting into your pockets. Physical affection works very well and doesn't cost anything.

Also, if you use a treat to "bribe" a horse initially, gradually "fade" this activity to small treat AFTER the horse complies with request. Also, "pair" the treat with physical affection to fade out the expectancy for always a food treat.
 

certherfbeef

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I have a 3yr old Smoke-N-Spur paint gelding. Along with having more natural cow sence than I know what to do with, he is a little on the hot side at times. Kinda a one person horse. When I got him he was weaned only a few months. As a way of bonding I started to teach him tricks. Boy is that back fireing on me now! His nose is in my vest pocket for something, he takes my hat and my pony tail holders right out of my hair, he can un hook the other horses halters and keeping gates latched is next to impossible!!! This is just the short list :oops: I finally had to get him some of thoes balls to play with when we are not working cows to keep him busy. I love the fact that he is so intellegent but I struggle to keep him challenged. I am now a firm beliver that nice words and firm pats and general loving is the best way for rewarding.!
 

ffscj

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Seems the horse has lost respect for your wife's space. That can also lead to problems.

I have a mare that the previous owner would give her mints to get her to paw the ground. Looked cute I quess :roll: She still paws but not as much. Its been a long time getting to this point.
 
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Anonymous

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I don't treat the horses when I work with them. I don't want them all over me and even if they can contain themselves I know that they wouldn't be focused on me, but giving half a thought to me and what I wanted them to do, with the real focus on the treat...1/2 a learning experience. I have taught my horses to respect me, listen to me, focus on me and get generous praise when they do things right. It really is sufficient enough to get the job done. Come to think of it, I don't treat them at all. I don't feed them from my hand either. The treats go in their oats at night (an apple a day all winter, or when they are in the backyard, I throw it from the deck and have them "fetch" it.) Everytime I appear, they come running and I never have anything in my hand for them. When I approach my horses, I don't want them expecting things from me, I'm expecting things from them, and wish them to be listening and not wanting. Anything less than that, then I figure that I'm not the herd leader that I need to be, not only to teach, but to be safe too.
Another thing that I considered once was teaching the horse tricks. I also thought that it would be nice to get my horse to show off, but then, when I looked at what was being taught, I was seeing movements that were actually one bad habit after another. I asked myself "why would I want to teach that to a horse? or why would I ask a horse to do that? Some of those positions that they call tricks are just not natural and look downright painful! So I decided that tricks were not for me as well as the treats that make them learn faster and I believe that I made the right decision by reading the posts here that should be titled "Tricks gone bad and how long it takes to correct them." Thanks for confirming that one!
As for the original post, I think going to a clinic together would be really helpful. You are so lucky that you guys have each other in this endeavour. I am alone. You need to work together with both of you and your horses working together with a common theme and and method of getting there. The horses won't be confused, people won't be confused and you will better be able to help each other out when working with them, What if... you were laid up for a month and when you did finally get out to the barn to find out that your horses were treat freaks and invading your space? I suggest that you work together and you will achieve things double time. You guys are so lucky to be sharing this endeavour, there's so much advantage to it! Best of luck!
 

D.R. Cattle

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Running Arrow Bill":15ithdut said:
Treats can be ok if used sparingly and intermittantly (basic behavioral psychological principle). Don't want horses to be getting into your pockets. Physical affection works very well and doesn't cost anything.

Also, if you use a treat to "bribe" a horse initially, gradually "fade" this activity to small treat AFTER the horse complies with request. Also, "pair" the treat with physical affection to fade out the expectancy for always a food treat.

This is good information. Also remember that mature horses generally want to please their master instinctually. They are the only creature that I know of that will run until they drop dead without stopping when asked by their master. (This has actually happened) That being said, to act as the "master" respectfully allows the relationship to work naturally.
 
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Anonymous

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D.R. Cattle":3tctotzf said:
. They are the only creature that I know of that will run until they drop dead without stopping when asked by their master. (This has actually happened) .

And that's why they have check points on endurance rides...... Sure wish I was physically capable of doing those again :cry:
 

Terri

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When I bought my daughters gelding he was very treat spoiled. He wouldn't do anything unless you had them. When he first came, he had to have a treat before he would let anyone lift a foot. To clean his feet cost me 4 treats. Now he only gets them when we are done for the day, and not EVERY day. That took a year to work out.
 
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