Archives MAIN PAGE

Franklin Levinson's

Horse Help Center

Professional support for you and your horse!

Can I be spoiling my horse?

I purchased my horse 7 weeks ago from an owner that didn't spend any time with him, and basically had him as a lawn ornament. He is a beautiful bay gelding quarterhorse, and hadn't been ridden in over a year, and I hadn't ridden anything but trail horses at local farms since I was 18...and I am 41 now. He was rather skittish of me at first, didn't trailer well, but I could ride him somewhat, and since he was only 7 years old I saw so much potential for him. So I sought to win him over. I started giving extra daily love and attention....and daily TREATS...lots of TREATS...for everything. All mostly given in the barn, while I brushed him, or talked to him...rubbed his ears. talking softly to him..for example.

Now we are great riding partners...but he has all of a sudden wanting to cut our rides short now, because he wants to come back to the barn quick after about a 30 minute ride, for more TREATS. I didn't think you could spoil a horse like that. There is nothing I can do to turn him around, and as soon as I come back he is foraging in my pockets, where I usually keep my treats, or looking to the barn tack room door.

Any suggestions?? or have I ruined my beautiful baby? Help from the professional needed..
Thanks, Cathy

Hi Cathy,

Treats should only be given horses in an appropriate way. What you have done has worked against you forming the kind of relationship you want with this horse. If this were a child you had given all these treats to, the result would be the same. Now it is all about the treat (gift) and not about you. There is little or no respect or trust developed. The affection and bond you were seeking has turned to greedy indifference from your horse. This is the result of giving treats inappropriately.

To remedy this you will need to STOP giving the horse treats and focusing on trying to ride the horse. You must become the true, confident, trust worthy, skillful, consistent and compassionate LEADER. This is the way to have the relationship you want with your horse. This is the only way to have it. There is no magic pill or quick fix to establish a great relationship. As with any great relationship it is forged over time through appropriate communication, activity, consistency, compassion, caring, consciousness, kindness and mutual satisfaction. This is accomplished through right and appropriate activity adn action ON THE GROUND with your horse. It has nothing to do with riding at this point. Good and appropriate riding will become the icing on the cake of your relationship with your horse. Let the dance begin appropriately, you being the competant and confident, skillful leader and your horse the willing partner, following your lead to appropriate activity. Make any action, no matter how small a clear and simple and conscious request. Things like leading straight ahead, respecting your boundries, stopping, backing, turning, longeing, two steps forward and two steps back and HO! Everything should be a clear and appropriate request followed by a thank you (Good Boy). Take it slow and one step at a time. This is how horses learn (one step at a time and build on the last successful step). Do not go to a new step until the previous one has been successfully learned.

If you feel you need coaching in these techniques, I offer telephone coaching in my brand of gentle horsemanship. Please let me know if you are interested. It is convenient, cost effective and easy to set up. Anyway, please keep me posted, Good luck and thank you for your question.

Sincerely, Franklin

Look for: