Saturday, May 14, 2011

Cindi's Appaloosa - Pushy and Feed Aggressive

Cindy wrote: “Hello, I would like to know your opinion about my 3 year old Appaloosa. He has been ridden for a year now, doing very well, but we are just now starting to ride him more aggressively, starting to take him to small shows this summer, so I wanted to increase his feed so he don’t lose weight, he is on the smaller side. I have noticed that since I have been feeding twice a day now, he is more aggressive then before? I know its because of the grain, he is food aggressive anyway, gets real pushy.. I heard about the weight builder? Would you recommend something like this? Thanks Cindy”

Hey Cindy,

Thanks for writing. Here’s some food for thought: Your Appaloosa (a gelding I assume) is a three year old. That’s relatively young. He may be just figuring out he’s a horse and that he’s bigger than most everything else. Plus he’s an Appaloosa. Most of the Appaloosa’s I’ve seen have been more aggressive than say a Tennessee Walker or Quarter Horse. Having said that it is true that most horse problems are people caused problems.

Sometimes there is a nothing better than a bunch of wet saddle blankets for a horse,… meaning a lot of work and keep him busy…..but not too busy as he is still a three year old. Feeding twice a day as opposed to once should not increase his feed aggressiveness. Maybe you are just seeing the aggressiveness twice a day rather than once. He needs to learn not to pushy when being fed....more on that.

Assuming your Appaloosa does not teeth problems or is wormy,...depending upon the type of feed and grain he gets, the grain could be increasing his energy. In the past I have seen alot of Thoroughbreds and Arabians whose bad behavior was, in part, influenced by heavy doses of grain, sweet feed, etc. If your horse gets sufficient forage (pasture or hay) he would not necessarily need grain. High protein and high carb content feeds can help him to be a little hyper.

On underweight horses, usually rescue horses, I have used Calf Manna and/or Pelleted feeds with Corn Oil to build weight on underweight horses,...adding this to their diet very gradually. However, it is generally safer just to increase the hay gradually. Can't emphasize this enough - anytime I change or add feeds I do so ever so gradual to accustomed their system to the new or higher levels of feed.

I would get your horse Vet or another opinion on his weight. I have never used weight builder, and I can’t remember if anyone I know has ever used it.

What is more concerning to me is him being pushy and feed aggressive. If he is stalled six days a week, then on day seven he'll have a lot of pent up energy - back to wet saddle blankets. In fact, I still lunge most of my horses before I take them out of the range,...not just to get their kinks out and release some of that energy, but to see if they have any problems,..lameness, whatever. But if does help to release some energy, but know that no amount of lunging will take the buck of a horse.

Correcting his manners under halter is where I'd start. I like to use voice commands with physical cues, so if I'm with a loose horse in a pen I can get them to back or move over with my voice. Again, this starts under halter. Some people may neglect ground training cause it's not as fun as riding and going fast. But I think this is where you and the horse learn the most and again it's where everything starts.

Don't let him crowd your space - he has to respect your space. Don't let him crowd you when you feed. You should be able to back up him to give you room to feed.

Start with short times to make him wait, then increase. He'll learn that shortly after your throw feed, he'll be fed. I explain a little more in the video below. Good luck Cindi, and safe journey.

No comments:

Post a Comment