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Old 11-20-2006, 08:40 AM  
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"Treats" or No "Treats"

Treats or no treat, that is the question?
I love to give my horse treats, well all the horses in the barn treats. I even make home-made horsey cookies. They see me comming and get excited (not overly) because they know they will get goodies. I will on occasion feed Sugar a treat by hand, but not too often as she is a nipper, but only bites everyone but me
My sister does not believe in treats, she thinks it make the horse's bite and become pushy, but I totally disagree with her. Sugar has been a bitter and mouthy since she arrived, where her horses never were. Well except for her weanling (she bite me in the head while I was cleaning my girls hooves) And NO treats were given then She thinks that Sugar bites because I give her treats. That's funny beacuse I give her horse's treats (in their feed bin's) and they don't bite.
What's everyone take on this, Do you feed treats? and Does your horse bite because of it?
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Old 11-20-2006, 08:51 AM  
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My experience is much more limited than some, but I think it just depends on the horse. I think some you can give treats until the cows come home and they will not get pushy, but others will definitely get that way.
Maybe it is me-but I guess I am leaning toward the latter being more common, based on my observations anyway.
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Old 11-20-2006, 09:06 AM  
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I'll agree, some horses you can't give treats to from your hand - but I've not personally met one!

Then again, I don't have a problem with horses searching me down for treats, I find it kinda cute and endearing (so I always end up with spare hairs all over me )
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Old 11-20-2006, 09:09 AM  
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Best solution is to give them treats in their bucket instead of by hand. that way they enjoy their treat, you enjoy watching them enjoy it etc. I'd say yes, your horse probably is nippy because it is hand fed treats! Equine brains aren't like ours or even a dog's...instead of thinking, wow, this person is nice cuz she gives me treats, it's like...this person shows up with treats, then takes them away (in the horse's mind, when the treats run out, which of course they have to) then the horse nips or gets pushy for more. then the person's feelings are hurt, or they get angry and have to correct the horse for nipping.

Watch how a horse eats it's grain. How a horse gets irritated when the grain is finished, and is upset cuz there's no more grain! Then the typical horse will push at its bucket or bites the bucket or stamps it's feet. If the treats are put in the bucket, the horse will get annoyed with the bucket when the treats are finished, and not the person....)
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Old 11-20-2006, 09:11 AM  
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I don't handfeed treats. I give Apple Wafers sometimes but in their grain rations.
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Old 11-20-2006, 09:26 AM  
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I sometimes give treats in their feed bucket.
Try to stay away from hand treats though.
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Old 11-20-2006, 09:29 AM  
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We use treats only in their grain - and for Joe, his nightly cookie, of course But they don't get them otherwise - I have been bitten by too many horses looking for that "hand -out" and only finding the hand
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Old 11-20-2006, 09:29 AM  
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I give my horses lots of treats. However, three months ago I recieved a horse that came to me because he was an avid biter. So my rule with him is that no treats are given while tacking up or any other time. He only gets his treats in a special bucket after he has been ridden or just groomed. As long as he behaves and no bitting occurs he knows he gets his treat bucket. He sees me put his cut up carrots, cookies or apple waffers in the bucket and into the stall it goes. If he even makes an attempt to bit out comes the bucket. I have also asked anybody who wishes to give him anything that they put it in his bucket.

I love to give the horses treats at the barn, I always ask the owner if it is ok. Most of them don't mind at all.
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Old 11-20-2006, 09:54 AM  
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My guys get treats all the time....apples, carrots, black licorice, commercial treats and my blacksmith brings peppermints!

They are pretty spoiled but they don't nip or push...they know they have to respect our space.

At our prvious barn the owner was always complaining that we were ruining our horses by giving them treat 'for no reason', she wa the alpha to her horses, blah, blah...and then we'd wait an hour while she caught her horse to go for a ride.

Besides how could I resist this face and those big blue eyes???

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Old 11-20-2006, 10:48 AM  
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i give treats all the time, they get a goodie everyday, i try to stick to natural treats, carrots, apples, pears, they even know the word cookie and come when i say it, the only cookies i feed are the elite treats

they don't mug me for treats and the only nipper was a nipper when we got him
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Old 11-20-2006, 12:22 PM  
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I've met ONE horse that we had to stop giving treats to by hand. When my daughter worked at a boarding stable before going away to college, we were leasing a horse at the same stable. My husband and I would go over to visit the horse we were leasing and feed her treats, and we always shared with the other horses. There was one, Merlin, a gorgeous black Fresian, that started biting at people either when they would give him treats or when the treats were all gone and he didn't get anymore (I forget which way it was), so we were told we could only give him treats in his feed bucket.
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Old 11-20-2006, 12:54 PM  
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Mine get treats all of the time, but only in dishes. I don't want my horse's to become nippers.
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Old 11-20-2006, 05:17 PM  
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Quote:
Watch how a horse eats it's grain. How a horse gets irritated when the grain is finished, and is upset cuz there's no more grain! Then the typical horse will push at its bucket or bites the bucket or stamps it's feet. If the treats are put in the bucket, the horse will get annoyed with the bucket when the treats are finished, and not the person....)
That's a really good way to put it JoAnne!

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Then again, I don't have a problem with horses searching me down for treats, I find it kinda cute and endearing (so I always end up with spare hairs all over me
Gotta disagree with you there T . . . technically, I'd love to think it's endearing and just enjoy it. BUT with a 2000lb snuffelupagus goosing me, it's not fun.

So my guy gets treats into the feed bucket only about 95% of the time. On very rare occasions I'll pull one out and hand feed if he did something extra special.

I have also allowed little kids to give him treats by hand on three occasions. He seems to realize that they are out of the ordinary and takes extra care with them. No snuffling.
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Old 11-20-2006, 05:23 PM  
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I usually only give treats after my horse has been good, and not just for no reason. But then, I can only afford to buy so many treats a month. So after every ride, my mare will look for her treat with her cutest face possible, but the only thing she'll do if she doesn't get anything is look really really sad - it always tugs at my heartstrings! Especially when she knows she's been bad and so I can't give her a treat, so she just gives me those sad, puppy dog eyes!
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Old 11-20-2006, 05:25 PM  
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I give my horse treats, and he will still lick my hand when he is done eating.
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Old 11-20-2006, 05:25 PM  
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I agree that it depends on the horse,we don't give ours treats too often. Maybe after they have been good for the vet or farrier(we usually give pony treats after farrier cause she can be a demon when he tries to work on back feet). We try to give healthy treats -apples,carrots,horse treats from tack store,once in a while sugar cubes.
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Old 11-20-2006, 05:51 PM  
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I give mine treats. She is not a biter. She actually is not a licker either. She will put her muzzle in my hand and sniff. If there is nothing there but hand she just blows air and moves on. I also use treats to help her stretch. She is older and has some arthritis and stretching helps her. Since she learned it so late in life treats helped her to get the idea. Now it just makes her day. I spoil her I admit. We do have a pony that is not hand fed treats and will try to bite anything that comes near his mouth. I have to go with it depends on the horse.
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Old 11-20-2006, 05:51 PM  
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I'd say yes, your horse probably is nippy because it is hand fed treats!

She was nippy and pushy before treats came into play. She bit me the day she arrived at the farm but hasn't bit me since. She will grab someone else's coat for a nibble though, if they aren't watching. But I think she is only playing, as she doesn't clamp down but rather just hold's their coat gently, she never goes after skin or tee-shirts just coats. She only gets a treat by hand on occasion and only in her stall, beacause she can be pushy and nippy.
I just wanted to know opinions on feeding treats in general, if it makes your horse nippy, by hand or bucket, As my sister seems to think it doesn't matter, she says "that all horses will bite no matter which way treats are given" I disagreed, " I said it depends on the horse"
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Old 11-20-2006, 06:07 PM  
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I don't think treating a horse in a bucket will make them nippy. You could say that ANY food fed in a bucket even grain could be considered a treat (my horses love their grain!). What about apples, carrots, or "good" treats? Do those make horses nip? Does your sister feed her horses grain in a bucket?

Sounds to me like sisterly love trying to pick a fight.
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Old 11-20-2006, 06:13 PM  
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treats

Hmmm, I'm kind of hypocritical on this. I hand feed treats to my older horses, the ones who have learned it is not okay to bite while looking for more. On the older horses, they get treats hand fed after a good ride and with Dixie, to catch her and let her know I'm a good person. Now, they all get hand fed treats at night...their good night treat. But, I feed them through the fence so they don't get all crazy. They KNOW that's the time they get treats and they come out in a bucket so if I have to go in the pasture at night for other reasons, without the bucket, they know there's no treat and don't come looking. But, I like to do the treat thing at night because then, if one doesn't come to the fence, I know something's wrong.

I don't allow the snuffle, either. Some horses can do that without getting disrespectful, but you give my youngsters and inch and they'll take a finger!
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