Improving Horse Problems at Feeding Time
-a Horse Training Article by Linda Parelli
There is a savvy way to do everything with horses. The more you learn about horse problems, being able to read situations before anything goes wrong and knowing what to do about it—the more safety and success you will have.
Feeding time can stir up emotional and dominance-based behaviors in horses. In the herd environment some of the biggest pecking order battles occur over who gets to drink or eat first. Even though your horse may not be kept with other horses, this behavior is still a strong part of his instincts. You may find your horse performing these same behaviors with you.
Here are some of the most common behaviors:
Most of these behaviors are actually caused by people scheduling regular feeding times and allowing horses to rush to their feed before being invited. The following information is meant to teach you how to change these patterns and thus reshape your horse’s behavior… not to mention keep you safe.
General Feeding Principles
Don’t feed at exactly the same time every day
Create a sweet spot
Avoid battles between horses
Create a conditioned response
Give horses permission to eat
Don’t cause your horse to get crabby
Once you allow your horse to come to his feed, smile and leave. It’s important that your horse understands the ritual and to realize that he is not dominant over you, which is especially tested at feeding time. Only then will it be safe to stroke or pet him while he’s eating.
Need some inspiration?
Two-star Parelli instructor Kevin Bolf worked with his horses to make feeding time fun for everyone!
Pat Parelli discusses natural horse behavior and tips for avoiding problems with dominant horses.
Visit Parelli Connect for more educational articles and videos designed to inspire, empower and educate horse owners of all levels.
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