Thursday, January 26, 2012


I was reading a popular horse magazine last night and something caught my eye.  There was an article with a lady that had a big win at a show and she was talking about the treats she gives her horse for a reward, chocolate chip cookies & bananas are his favourites.  After their big win he got bananas and a bag of Ruffles.
Examples like those above kinda make me cringe.  I'm sure there's lots of treats we give to our horses that aren't exactly good for them.  I've heard of things like soda, beer, all sorts of candy (sweet, chocolate, crunchy, salty, etc), chips, and so on.  Peppermints & sugar cubes are long time favourites.  Other traditional, and probably healthier, treats include apples & carrots.
Something I find interesting about treats is how some people just assume all horses will eat them.  I've read plenty of articles/blog posts/comments on horses that have been "rescued"  and how the poor thing didn't even know what a carrot/apple/peppermint was!
(the term rescue is a bit of a sore point with me, not every horse that comes from a not perfect situation is a rescue!)
Some horses just don't like those treats.  My little Odin will not eat ANY treat so far.  Trust me, I wish he would.  It might make some training things a bit easier.  For example as soon as Tavi found out he got to eat cookies if he walked into the trailer calmly he was going in & out like a pro.
Until a couple years ago none of my horses would eat carrots.  Now they'll eat them, but only the 'baby carrots'.  And if you even try to offer them an apple or a peppermint they'll just look offended and turn their noses away lol  Horse cookies on the other hand will get you plenty of attention!
My horses get a cookie once they're haltered.  After working they'll get a pail with some cookies and/or carrots or if they're put into the tie stall they'll have their cookies/carrots put in the feeder.
So what  do you give your horses for treats?  Or are you a non treat person?  Also do you feed treats by hand or from a pail?


  1. My horses didn't know treats when I got them. They wouldn't eat carrots or apples, or peppermints. Well, yes, they did eat horse cookies.
    I don't feed a lot of treats. In fact, in 2 1/2 years I have only bought two bags of treats - I think they were 10 pound bags.
    I do give treats when they get in the trailer. I sometimes give a treat after a ride. I used to not give them by hand, but realized that my 'lippy' horse was just as lippy regardless of how he got treats. That's just his way.
    I'd be interested in knowing if people really see a correlation between behavior and a treat. I'm thinking that horses only connect the last few seconds of whatever they have done to the treat, if that.

  2. We dont give treats, probably `cos we never tried to. Except apples and carrots, but I wouldnt consider the

  3. I give cookies occasionally. And sometimes Carrots. Watermelon is a treat in the summer. Desi would rather have oranges than carrots and China would knock you down for grapes.
    Never have given my horses anything except for those things.
    I personally will do anything for a box of red vines!

  4. Well, since I click/train, we go thru the treats. I buy 40lb bags of dobbin delights and cut them in half. Also licorice treats, peppermint,apples, carrots. Camyrn does not like watermelon, pumpkin, and a few other things that horses are supposed to like. Anything new Camryn puts her nostril over it, then decides if it's edible. She's not lippy at all knowing that without a click there is no treat.

  5. I give Horse treats ( they are a complete feed large pellet) sometimes, not always , and only after they have done what I asked. When the herd comes in from the far quarter when I call , they each get a cookie if I have them, a pat and a snuggle if I don't . I feed by hand yes. Some will eat an apple , and others just drool it all over me . but treats here are not an everyday/time thing .
    My old mare did , steal a peanut butter cookie from my lunch once and was a bear for Crispy crunch chocolate bars (again developed a taste for them as a result of a theft from my lunch on a trail ride) but in her entire 28 years , she ate less than a total of 4 of them. A little bite now and then , but never a whole bar

  6. And I soo agree with you on the "rescue" thing!

  7. I don't usually treat; if I want to reward as a training tool I usually use oats. I do feed apples occasionally, Chickory loves them.

  8. We do give treats, but I try to just give them natural ones -- they like carrots, pears and apples. Though Zora gets a bit picky about the apples. Sometimes she likes them, sometimes she doesn't. The LOVE vanilla wafer cookies and kernel corn, though I try to keep those at a minimum. The woman who gave us riding lessons told us to never give them peppermints or sugar cubes because it is bad for their teeth, so we don't give those. I think we have to be careful with the "people food" treats -- cookies, chips, that sort of thing.

  9. I dont call them treats, I call them bribes:) I am not really a treat person but I do use them as bribes for something I want. When I had a treat I always make sure the horse is not turned in to me when I had it to them... she knows she only gets her treat if she waits for my hand to come to her. A horse that roots for treats is my pet peeve. Ella gets a treat when she is caught in the field and then one when the halter is on. I actually also feed hay while tacking which I know some dont agree with but works for me. After a hard ride I will throw her a thin flake of hay as a "treat". For the daily bribes I actually use her grain (it is the size of dog food). Only rarely do I feed carrot or apple (and I never feed any human food (besides veggies or fruit).

  10. I give treats, but usually stick to carrots, apples, or a handful of grain. Watermelon, most of my horses turned up their nose at that, lol. I've had peppermint eaters and other who hate them. Certain horses like treats and some don't. Some are very focused on treats. Wade's heel horse, after a ride will go roll, then straight to the tack room and look at me like "Hey dummy, open the door and give me a handful of grain" and generally I do. But I try not to over do it.

    Rescue is becoming overused. I cringe now too when I see that. I prefer the term "slaughter bound" or "starved to near death".

  11. True. My Four would turn his nose up at anything except oats...

  12. here oats are a treat, when horses get caught or ridden they ussualy get oats, i do sometimes feed treats, the peppermint horse cookies are a favorite, and someitmes by hand mostly in a bowl but I do it so rarely that they dont bother me for them.


Wordless Wednesday ~ new trailer!