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Pushy horse at feeding time


I have just gotten my first horse and have had him about 3 weeks now. Let me say that I am very green. When I go into the stable to feed him, he stands right by the door and waits to grab hay right out of my hands. To me this is pushy behaviour. Shouldn't he back off and wait until the hay actually gets into the hay rack before he starts eating? How do I get him to back off and respect my space. What I am doing now, (so I can at least get INTO the loose box), is say in a VERY stern voice 'back up!' or 'get back!". If he doesn't move, then I say the same thing, a bit louder, and then use his head collar & push on his chest to actually make him back up when I say. He does back up when I do this. When he backs up, I tell him 'good boy' & give him a scratch or a pat, then I put the hay into the hay rack. Am I doing the right thing?? PLEASE help.

I do not want to be the reason my horses misbehaviour. He is very good every other way.

Thank you for your time.

Hi Dee,

You do not need to try to physically push him off. He is too strong to get into a test of strength anyway as he will win in the end. Hold a lead rope or a wand (short dressage whip or something like that). Hold it up and jiggle it at him (towards his chest or legs not his head) and say BACK! He will move back. Do not use too much pressure as you will scare him. You only want him to take a step back, not run away or get scared. Before you go into his stall at all, at the door jiggle the wand and say back so he moves away from the door and keep holding the wand in your hand when you go in. As soon as he backs a step when you ask, lower the wand and say Good Boy! You are thanking him for complying. Do this process a lot and your horse will eventually move back with a wave of your hand or the verbal cue to BACK!

You are basically doing the right on thing.

Sincerely, Franklin

Well, feeding time is much more enjoyable now for both of us! He knows that he won't get fed until he complies. :O) So he is beginning to understand and moves back on his own or just with my voice command. I make sure I don't feed him right in front of the loose box door anymore,(duh!), or let him 'steal' hay from my hands anymore either. I feed him his hard food in the same spot (away from the door) every time, and he has sometimes waited for me in that spot.

It is amazing how once they catch on, all they want to do is please you!
Thanks again!

Hey Dee,

Wonderful news. Great to hear and well done on your part. Let me know if I can be of additional assistance. Sincerely, Franklin

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