Manners around food

Ruskii

Well-Known Member
Jun 21, 2000
6,218
733
113
UK
My usual routine for feeding my horse is walk in with the feed bowl and I walk in a few steps, he will usually be right behind me (think close enough to step on heels !) and then I step to the side to let him have it.

Last night I went into my horses field as usual and just as I was about to put his bowl down, something caught my eye and I looked over at what it was - my horse decided at this moment to give me an almighty shove with his head (he does this at times) I have to say I am not a small person at all, but he nearly knocked me off my feet.

I'm afraid I whipped round and shouted him hissing, put my arms in the air and drove him off, I saw red and was quite angry at him ! I put his bowl down and stood in front of it - not quite what I intended to prove but I instantly went to 'Sod you, you get it when I say so !!' He pinned his ears back but not in an aggressive manner (he would have copped a slap to the mouth if he tried to bite - but he has never done that) but I think in a more 'Get out the way, I'm hungry !' and he shook his head whilst walking around me, he came in again and shoved me with his shoulder but at this point I placed my hand on his chest and said 'Back' in a tone that said 'Don't push it.' and he did step back instantly - grumpily - but he did it. I then said 'Ok' and let him have his dinner.

What would you have done in a situation like that ? How do you insist on manners around food ? He is the only one in his field so there is no competition. He was being a rude pig wasn't he ?

I know we shouldn't compare horses and dogs but it made me think later, actually I don't let my dogs just dive into their dinner, they have always had to sit and wait for it before being told "Ok".
 

Jessey

Well-Known Member
Dec 20, 2004
24,859
15,264
113
41
Suffolk, UK
I would do exactly what you did, I will not tolerate any encroachment of my personal space from Jess without invitation (around food or not) as she kicked the bejesus out of me on more than one occasion in her younger days. She can stomp, snort and flail herself around 10ft away (she is a real foody) but I will not tolerate it towards me, if she so much as gets within my bubble (about 2ft around me) she is pushed out (I start by saying away, then by pointing at her, then if needed I will make myself big but its very rare it escalates to this now) and made to wait. She knows the routine after all these years and even when she thinks she is starving and wasting away (and having a tantrum about it) she won't get too close and will wait until I indicate she can have the food.
Now if I am leading her with a full bucket, that's slightly different as she is already inside my bubble and she knows it! she will then try and pinch a mouthful out of the bucket and this may very well involve reaching right around me and pulling at the bucket :rolleyes:
 

Ruskii

Well-Known Member
Jun 21, 2000
6,218
733
113
UK
So how would you start to teach this then ? My daughter comes into the field sometimes with me but I've always sent her on a butterfly hunt well away so she isn't around, my horse has never threatened to kick or run around if he did then she wouldn't be allowed in the field at all.

It was his behaviour last night that made me think, 'Sh*t if he had done that to her, it would have really harmed her.' So now I think he needs to go on a manners boot camp.
 

Jessey

Well-Known Member
Dec 20, 2004
24,859
15,264
113
41
Suffolk, UK
I did what you did but react (just enough to get the reaction you are looking for) before they make contact, draw a line in the sand and react every single time they cross it un-invited, that is regardless of if you are bringing food out, poo picking or doing nothing. Consistent repetition is the key exactly the same as with dogs and children ;). Don't forget to also teach the desired behavior too, the 'wait' command, the 'eat' command, the come here for a hug command ;) or the I want to catch you now not have you run off each time I approach because some of these will be non-verbals :D
 
  • Like
Reactions: Kite_Rider

Skib

Well-Known Member
Dec 21, 2003
8,577
1,875
113
London
Only posting this to agree. I was warned not to come between my share and her food when I led her back to her box after hacking. I said that to be safe with her I absolutely had to walk between her and the food. And I did. Yes you need body language and assertion and intent. All of which you had OP.
 

KP nut

I'd rather be riding.
Dec 22, 2008
6,560
5,386
113
When we first got Zak he had no manners around food so although he never tried to drag me, he dragged the girls around if he ever got a haynet in his eye-line as they were leading him from the field. I can't have that, so I put up a hay net and asked the girls to lead him towards it and halt 10 feet away. Then walk towards and halt again. Once he was 3 feet away they invited him forward to eat. If at any time he pulled toward it, they circled him right away and started again. He soon learned the quickest way to hay was to be polite. You could do the same with feed of course.

I had a loan horse that once charged me in the field when was putting out a salt lick. I drove him off swinging the lead rope, yelling, and using very assertive body language. We ended up in an un-planned 'join up' as he started circling me and I kept him out on the circle and only let him back to the lick when he showed all the classic signs of submission. He was 1000X better after that. Shoving you out of the way is extremely rude! No way would he do that to another horse unless he considered himself totally dominant to that horse. I don't really train using the whole 'alpha' idea but nor do I tolerate being pushed around. They are too bloody big and strong to believe they can use their weight against us!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Kite_Rider

Ruskii

Well-Known Member
Jun 21, 2000
6,218
733
113
UK
I totally agree they are to big and strong, mine knows his own strength and has injured my husband in the past, my horse has pushed his way out of gates / stables before as well. He tried to push his way out of a stable recently and I had to grab a chunk of skin on his chest and twist it to get him to stop ! He was really about cause me a serious injury as he kept pushing until I reacted and had tk hurt him.
99% of the time though he is as good as gold and after that stable incident he HAD to back to up when anyone approached his stable. If he was being fed then he had to back up as well, if he didn't well - he went hungry (he had hay so wasn't starving !)

As he isn't stabled now and his gate swings in he can't push out. But I will start with him backing up and staying away by 3 feet I think, I'm not the only one who handles him so I think it's going to have to be a joint effort in reminding him of his manners.

Funnily enough when he was on full livery his manners were foot perfect. :rolleyes:
 

Ruskii

Well-Known Member
Jun 21, 2000
6,218
733
113
UK
He won't think twice about swinging his backside around as well actually and I usually just step out of the way, then instantly make him move back to where he was plus a bit more. Hmm might have to dig out the Manners Book by Kelly whatserface
 

Kite_Rider

Cantering cabbage!
May 18, 2009
10,210
8,299
113
I have always made mine take a few steps backwards (even Oscar the ex racer had to be respectful) if I go into the stable for any reason and especially if I go in with food, Belle isn't allowed into my space without permission ever, it is so ingrained in both of us now it's automatic and it didn't take long for Belle to understand this when I first got her.
She doesn't get her food until I say she can have it as in I'll walk in, she steps back, I'll ask her to wait while I put the bowl down and then I'll tell her ok, until I say it's ok she won't touch it.
Good luck and yeah definitely dig out your Kelly whatserface book :)
 
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
H New loan, no manners Cafe 14
Trewsers Bad manners! Cafe 7
L Ground work/ Manners Training of the Horse and Rider 48
R Sharpening up on manners and training Training of the Horse and Rider 1
Trewsers Yard manners Cafe 25
Kite_Rider Yard manners Cafe 26
Flipo's Mum Herd Behaviour and Manners Cafe 8
eml Modern Manners?? Cafe 14
Dark Storm Perfect manners.. Training of the Horse and Rider 3
Dark Storm The Cob who forgot his manners (or left them in bed this morning).. Training of the Horse and Rider 15
Dizzy Woo Bad manners or am I a grump Cafe 11
Dark Storm I rode out today, and a lesson in manners for the Shad! Cafe 4
R Rather embarrassing - but how would you teach better manners ? Training of the Horse and Rider 8
Calluna What makes good manners? Cafe 16
LexxLizz teaching ground manners Training of the Horse and Rider 19
L Struggling to get up, tripping and ground manners ? Veterinary,Injuries and Therapies 3
MistyGal Help with Stable Manners please***!! Training of the Horse and Rider 18
Nimbus65 Need to reteach Kal some manners - got any strategies? Training of the Horse and Rider 17
Nimbus65 When is bad manners, well . . . really bad manners? Horse Care 5
fairlady Somebody, 'Bertie', needs to learn some MANNERS, lol. SH*TLANDS!! Cafe 15
K Perfect manners by kelly marks-how much? Training of the Horse and Rider 1
Crazy Mare Manners at Feed Time Training of the Horse and Rider 15
P Barging and bad ground manners...also considering stronger bit Training of the Horse and Rider 17
xRobyn Improving manners and general way of going Training of the Horse and Rider 6
R What manners do you expect from your horse ? Training of the Horse and Rider 14
Doeylicious Help needed for horse with few manners Training of the Horse and Rider 69
D Bad manners Older Riders 6
Lisa21 My horsey needs MANNERS!!! Training of the Horse and Rider 2
E yes my horse has manners. is that a problem??!! Training of the Horse and Rider 45
RRA Teaching a stroppy mare some manners! Training of the Horse and Rider 10
Chrisnscully Stable manners Training of the Horse and Rider 3
vels mum Stable manners? General 35
S Natural Horsemanship, Tricks or Manners? General 28
joosie teaching ground manners to a bolshy youngster Training of the Horse and Rider 13
F Objecting to stable rug/general bad manners? General 5
V Lunging & Manners General 19
Bertie Ground Manners Training of the Horse and Rider 12
Ladyknight Ground manners..on hills General 5
amylou_84 Manners!! Training of the Horse and Rider 39
Amber Hughes Need Help, New horse napping, rearing and no manners! Training of the Horse and Rider 3
Trewsers Our gentleman has lost his manners...... Training of the Horse and Rider 6
S Manners? General 9
P clumsyness and lack of concentartion or bad manners? General 24
Kecka~Rocka PERFECT MANNERS,horse whisper?????? Horse Care 4
jenren!! What are your horses manners like? General 56
Kazzie Teaching a youngster manners General 15
kirstie Manners General 6
laura jeanne Not too excited about the Perfect Manners book Training of the Horse and Rider 40
E Teaching a horse manners General 2
mjb_akagus ground manners Training of the Horse and Rider 13

Similar threads

newrider.com