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Young horses may be easier to train if they temporarily lay

HAY MAKER

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Science News Share Blog Cite Print Email BookmarkSweets Make Young Horses Harder To Train, Study Finds
ScienceDaily (Aug. 19, 2008) — Young horses may be easier to train if they temporarily lay off the sweets, says a Montana State University study where two-year-olds wore pedometers, wrist watches and Ace bandages.


A commercial mixture of corn, oats, barley and molasses -- sometimes called "sweet grain" or "sweet feed" -- gives horses the glossy coat and lively spirit that makes them attractive to prospective buyers, said Jan Bowman, an animal nutritionist at MSU.

But the extra energy provided by sweet grain during the early stages of training made the horses in MSU's study more disobedient and fearful than horses that only ate hay, Bowman said. The grain-eaters spent more time resisting the saddle. They startled easier. They bucked and ran more during training.

Early training, which usually lasts about 30 days, gives young horses the foundation they need for more advanced training, Bowman said. They learn to move sideways on command, for example. They learn how to move their front or hind feet in any direction.

"Results suggest that trainers under time constraints could increase their training effectiveness during the early stages of training by not feeding excess dietary energy," Wade Black wrote in a paper that will be submitted later this year to the "Journal of Animal Science."

Black -- a horse trainer, instructor for the MSU Colt Starting class and one of Bowman's graduate students -- came up with the idea for the study when he was an undergraduate in her equine nutrition class, Bowman said. She and Black then conducted experiments during the summer of 2007. Black presented their findings to the American Society of Animal Science in June this year. He is still analyzing some of the data to see how the grain affected the horses' adrenaline during training.

The study involved 12 closely-related quarter horses that came from one Idaho ranch, Bowman said. Black trained the horses for three weeks, five days a week at MSU's Miller Livestock Pavilion. Half the horses ate only hay. The hay was a mixture of grass and alfalfa. The other horses ate five pounds of sweet grain a day in addition to the hay. Both groups ate as much hay and drank as much water as they wanted.

Each horse wore a pedometer adjusted to its stride and attached with an Ace bandage to its left front leg above the knee, Bowman said. Each horse also had a combination wristwatch-heart monitor hanging from its saddle. The watch displayed minimum, maximum and mean heart rates detected by an electrode belt.

Black trained the animals for 30 or 40 minutes a day without knowing which animal had eaten grain and which one hadn't, Bowman said. She and Black then recorded heart rates and the number of steps the horses took during training. They scored behaviors like obedience, get-up-and-go and separation anxiety.

Horses that ate both grain and hay became more upset when they were separated from the herd, Bowman said. They whinnied more and were livelier and less submissive than the horses that ate only hay.

The study doesn't mean that trainers should keep grain away from horses forever, Bowman said. They might consider withholding it just during the early weeks of training.

"We don't want to give the impression that you should starve them in order to enhance their good behavior," Bowman said. "That's not the point of it."

Wade wrote in his paper that, "Horses, being ridden by less experienced riders, need to be calm and easy to handle, characteristics that may be enhanced by more effective early training."

Bowman noted that all of the horses in MSU's study gained weight during the study. It didn't matter if they ate hay alone or hay with grain.


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Adapted from materials provided by Montana State University.
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hayray

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Thanks for the post. Can't believe they had to do more research to confirm that but at least now there is some scientific basis to refer to in case the client does not believe the trainer. Always a good idea to not feed any grain when you are saddle breaking.
 

MistyMorning

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May not be new to most of you guys, but since I'm new to this horsey business, it is some good info for me, Thanks Hay Maker. :D
 

HAY MAKER

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MistyMorning":3mix1589 said:
May not be new to most of you guys, but since I'm new to this horsey business, it is some good info for me, Thanks Hay Maker. :D

You are welcome,that was the purpose.....................good luck
 

spinandslide

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I agree..thank God we have it in writing now...

there are so many people who havent a clue about feeds and feeding. with it being cold here, I was giving my older mare some steamed rolled oats..to help keep her weight up and keep warm..damn horse KICKED me square in the knee a week ago and was holy hell under saddle. this mare is 17 years old and usually sedate..needless to say shes back on straight pellets now.
 

clampitt

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So in a manner you starve the horse to ride them.What happens when you send the horse home and Terry Trail Rider puts ol Puddin up and feeds him and does not ride the horse for a week.He has to hem him up in a pen to catch him and the horse wants to buck him off.Well you rode my horse and took my money and sent me back a bronc.They can come ride with you and you tell them all you have done and they will go home and do the exact opposite.
Tell them and show them this horse is green broke and is a little snorty this is what you need to do.And I guarantee they wont.
You feed them well and ride them hard.You feed them as well as if you going to show the horse.
If you are going to ride for the public you had better.They need to look good and you need to be able to handle it.
Most horses are not ridden long eneough to be tired and know what a job is and how they better handle it.A pen rode horse can take anything for 45min.A ranch rode horse figures out in a while his day may not end untill dark and he better take care of himself.
Any one can in a manner starve one down to ride that takes no talent.
This does not come from a study but from 40yrs experience and working for four world champions.
I have winners in the pros.Money Saddle,and Buckel winners.I have a horse that has placed or won at every major pro rodeo in the nation. PRCA,WPRA,Circuit finals,AQHA,NBHA,Youth rodeo.Four time AQHA Top Ten,And two time top fifteen.
You better feed em and ride em.
 

hayray

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clampitt":29cinxtf said:
So in a manner you starve the horse to ride them.What happens when you send the horse home and Terry Trail Rider puts ol Puddin up and feeds him and does not ride the horse for a week.He has to hem him up in a pen to catch him and the horse wants to buck him off.Well you rode my horse and took my money and sent me back a bronc.They can come ride with you and you tell them all you have done and they will go home and do the exact opposite.
Tell them and show them this horse is green broke and is a little snorty this is what you need to do.And I guarantee they wont.
You feed them well and ride them hard.You feed them as well as if you going to show the horse.
If you are going to ride for the public you had better.They need to look good and you need to be able to handle it.
Most horses are not ridden long eneough to be tired and know what a job is and how they better handle it.A pen rode horse can take anything for 45min.A ranch rode horse figures out in a while his day may not end untill dark and he better take care of himself.
Any one can in a manner starve one down to ride that takes no talent.
This does not come from a study but from 40yrs experience and working for four world champions.
I have winners in the pros.Money Saddle,and Buckel winners.I have a horse that has placed or won at every major pro rodeo in the nation. PRCA,WPRA,Circuit finals,AQHA,NBHA,Youth rodeo.Four time AQHA Top Ten,And two time top fifteen.
You better feed em and ride em.

Thanks for that little story and your opinion, but you are making false aquisations about what we wrote and taking things out of context inorder to toot your own horn. You are clearly mis-representing what was mentioned previously. I also have plenty of national awards showing and training, but I did not think that was a pertenant thing to mention.
 

Pickles Dillman

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clampitt":1w4ol2ia said:
So in a manner you starve the horse to ride them.What happens when you send the horse home and Terry Trail Rider puts ol Puddin up and feeds him and does not ride the horse for a week.He has to hem him up in a pen to catch him and the horse wants to buck him off.Well you rode my horse and took my money and sent me back a bronc.They can come ride with you and you tell them all you have done and they will go home and do the exact opposite.
Tell them and show them this horse is green broke and is a little snorty this is what you need to do.And I guarantee they wont.
You feed them well and ride them hard.You feed them as well as if you going to show the horse.
If you are going to ride for the public you had better.They need to look good and you need to be able to handle it.
Most horses are not ridden long eneough to be tired and know what a job is and how they better handle it.A pen rode horse can take anything for 45min.A ranch rode horse figures out in a while his day may not end untill dark and he better take care of himself.
Any one can in a manner starve one down to ride that takes no talent.
This does not come from a study but from 40yrs experience and working for four world champions.
I have winners in the pros.Money Saddle,and Buckel winners.I have a horse that has placed or won at every major pro rodeo in the nation. PRCA,WPRA,Circuit finals,AQHA,NBHA,Youth rodeo.Four time AQHA Top Ten,And two time top fifteen.
You better feed em and ride em.

I dont think anyone on here would starve a horse to ride them.
A horse needs to be fed according to what it does for a living.
Unfortunatly most hobby horse owners arent educated to that fact and often feed all sorts of high dollar feeds to their seldom used hard, pet/horse.
Horses are fed grain here while in training, just not over board with the next new and improved trendy hyped up feed.
To me it would be like a football player on steroids that does nothing to burn up the extra induced energy,and that my friend leads to major problems.
 

TexasBred

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Good post Pickles. Active horses need to be feed accordingly. Plenty of calories and plenty of roughage. Horses that do nothing but eat and go lay down under the tree are literally being "loved to death". Most of those need nothing more than good grass hay. More and more of your higher quality feeds are going from feeds with high grain content which means a high starch diet to a feed with little or no grain and energy supplemented by addition of vegetable oil such as corn oil, soybean oil or both. Your horse will not have nearly as much "nervous energy", will not get nearly as hot and will look just as good. Cargill makes a couple that are good, "Safe and Sound" and "Safe Choice".
 

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