Anyone taught a release cue to signal eating grass is ok?

daydreamer

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hi,

has anyone taught their horse a release cue so that if you are leading them and it is ok for them to eat grass you indicate this? (So that you can have them eat/not eat depending on the situation)
If so what cue did you teach them and how?

Thanks
 

BSL2

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Excuse the oldy asking a question. Is this a new thing? Mine have always been taught "stand" or know they are being led/working because they have been taught "no" to dropping head snatching at grass in these circumstances. They know they can eat if they go to drop their head and there is no restriction from lead rein or vocal command of "stand up" . I suppose we have a reading of body language on both sides. Quite interesting to actually think about what you do everyday. 🙂
 

sharni

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yes , I realised that i say "have some grass" and horse picked up on it and realised it was ok to put head down and eat when i say that. so now i always say that praze when its ok for him to eat
 

mini_b

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Is this for in hand grazing?

I never allow sneaky snacking in a bridle as thats “work”
a PITA when you are doing gates etc and all they can think about is what that tasty hedge is, not about turn on the forehand and rein back!

as above, when being lead they are absolutely not allowed to pull and grab grass. A firm no and if that doesn’t work a tug on the headcollar to say come away.
my thug will graze a little in hand and then come away when I say “come on then” and give him a little pull.
 

milliepops

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Excuse the oldy asking a question. Is this a new thing? Mine have always been taught "stand" or know they are being led/working because they have been taught "no" to dropping head snatching at grass in these circumstances. They know they can eat if they go to drop their head and there is no restriction from lead rein or vocal command of "stand up" . I suppose we have a reading of body language on both sides. Quite interesting to actually think about what you do everyday. 🙂
Glad you asked because I wasn't sure why a specific cue was needed.
Mine all know not to pull away and eat, but they will sometimes ask politely if I'm standing chatting or whatever, and then I either choose to let them or not. or I might push them towards the grass and then they know it's OK.
likewise snack hacking, sometimes it's OK, sometimes it's not, they assume not and then have a snack if I say it's OK. isn't this just like everyday training? same way you can walk in a stable with a feed bowl and either put it down without inviting the horse, or letting it eat while you hold it? so many examples ;)
 

mini_b

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Glad you asked because I wasn't sure why a specific cue was needed.
Mine all know not to pull away and eat, but they will sometimes ask politely if I'm standing chatting or whatever, and then I either choose to let them or not. or I might push them towards the grass and then they know it's OK.
likewise snack hacking, sometimes it's OK, sometimes it's not, they assume not and then have a snack if I say it's OK. isn't this just like everyday training? same way you can walk in a stable with a feed bowl and either put it down without inviting the horse, or letting it eat while you hold it? so many examples ;)
if mine snack hacked I’d not get anywhere I’m a right meany 😜
says me with my bum bag full of sweets. Double standards!!!
 

daydreamer

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The reason I ask is that I have a super greedy youngster. I have been taking him for short walks (like 5 min before all the “oh you should leave youngsters in a field” people scream at me) to get him used to leaving the field as is needed when the farrier comes etc. Sometimes I lead him a little way then let him have a quick snack as a reward but I realise this may well cause problems for the future so would like a specific cue.

(I should probably brace myself for all the “you don’t know enough to have a youngster” posts too)🙈
 

mini_b

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The reason I ask is that I have a super greedy youngster. I have been taking him for short walks (like 5 min before all the “oh you should leave youngsters in a field” people scream at me) to get him used to leaving the field as is needed when the farrier comes etc. Sometimes I lead him a little way then let him have a quick snack as a reward but I realise this may well cause problems for the future so would like a specific cue.
im not massively experienced with youngsters but I’d just avoid this to avoid temper tantrums when they are bigger. Think when they are a bit more emotionally mature then maybe start with the cues but at the moment for me, I’d keep what you expect from them simple and straightforward.

As long as they lead nicely without pulling and stand for farrier - that would be enough for me at the moment. (I mean this in your particular scenario!)
 

milliepops

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How old is your youngster? This is the ideal time to install manners. Concentrate on the leaving of grass on command rather than "you may eat". Im no expert, just a thought 😊
this would be my take on it too especially as he's a bit food-oriented anyway. if you get the boundaries in early then you can permit a bit of rule bending when the horse is older without too much pain.
 

FestiveFuzz

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The reason I ask is that I have a super greedy youngster. I have been taking him for short walks (like 5 min before all the “oh you should leave youngsters in a field” people scream at me) to get him used to leaving the field as is needed when the farrier comes etc. Sometimes I lead him a little way then let him have a quick snack as a reward but I realise this may well cause problems for the future so would like a specific cue.
So I’m super black and white with my 2yo, because he’s well 2 and when I’m handling him there’s generally a specific reason so snacking isn’t an option. If he’s already a greedy type, I would be even less inclined to reward with food as I think you’ll be setting yourself up for strops later down the line when he’s not allowed to snack when he wants.
 

Sussexbythesea

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if mine snack hacked I’d not get anywhere I’m a right meany 😜
says me with my bum bag full of sweets. Double standards!!!
I let them have cow parsley picnics out riding in the spring AND also have a bumbag of treats :D but only when I say they can. Generally speaking though they don’t snack randomly unless a leaf happens to be at just the right height and in front of their nose :oops: They seem to know the difference so I must give some sort of cue but not sure what.
 

mini_b

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So I’m super black and white with my 2yo, because he’s well 2 and when I’m handling him there’s generally a specific reason so snacking isn’t an option. If he’s already a greedy type, I would be even less inclined to reward with food as I think you’ll be setting yourself up for strops later down the line when he’s not allowed to snack when he wants.
Articulated far better than I :)
 

Mrs Jingle

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I never allow random snacking when riding or in hand until we reach a certain point on our hack when I decide with my permission they can have some grass. -
This cleverly taught and carefully worded training aid , oddly worked right from day one for both my horses. We arrive at desired point of my choosing, drop the reins...while muttering quietly in case any purist horse trainers are over the hedge listening - "Ok fatso fill your fat face" works like a dream :D
 

daydreamer

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He is 2 and a bit. He does lead nicely and stands for the farrier nicely but leaving him in the field for 6 weeks then suddenly expecting him to be happy leaving it, walking 5 min to the yard, waiting for the farrier, having his feet trimmed then another 5 min walk back doesn't seem ideal. Hence the short walks in hand. He is very intelligent and picks things up quickly. This is probably the one area I have only been 95% strict on!

I want to avoid the strops by building in a specific cue. Heyho, general concensus just seems to be it's a hard no.
 

Winters100

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Yes, but I don't really know how I taught it. They generally have to stand when I am doing things, whether or not I am next to them. I think it is just body language coupled with tone of voice as I sort of raise my palms and say 'ok' and they understand that they are released and can go to eat Not sure how we came to this understanding though, so sorry it probably doesn't help enormously. I think that first step has to be to teach them to stand and wait, and the release can be added later.
 

FestiveFuzz

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He is 2 and a bit. He does lead nicely and stands for the farrier nicely but leaving him in the field for 6 weeks then suddenly expecting him to be happy leaving it, walking 5 min to the yard, waiting for the farrier, having his feet trimmed then another 5 min walk back doesn't seem ideal. Hence the short walks in hand. He is very intelligent and picks things up quickly. This is probably the one area I have only been 95% strict on!

I want to avoid the strops by building in a specific cue. Heyho, general concensus just seems to be it's a hard no.
Do you have an arena to hand? My boy is almost 2.5 now and we’ve been doing in-hand work with him since his 2nd birthday when he started trying to make his own entertainment as he was bored. Generally we do no more than 20mins, and more often than not it’s a lot less than that, but he seems to be thoroughly enjoying having something to do. I’d say something constructive like that would be a much better use of time than randomly pottering a few minutes from the field and letting him graze.

Richard Maxwell has a great book that details exercises you can do with your youngster at every age from foal to backing which I’ve found to be a great resource.
 

daydreamer

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Do you have an arena to hand?

Richard Maxwell has a great book that details exercises you can do with your youngster at every age from foal to backing which I’ve found to be a great resource.
There is an arena but he is currently in the field furthest away so it is probably about a 10min walk away!

I usually do bits of groundwork with him either stuff from Richard Maxwell or Jason Webb for 5-10 min and then go for the short walk.

Nice to hear someone else is doing a bit with their youngster and isn’t screaming that they should just be left feral in a field!
 

FestiveFuzz

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Nice to hear someone else is doing a bit with their youngster and isn’t screaming that they should just be left feral in a field!
I think there’s a fine line with youngsters. Generally the only time I’ve seen folks saying let them be babies is when someone is stressing over exercising or entertaining a foal. At that age I’m a big believer of leaving them in the field with their buddies (and a good uncle or two!) once the basics have been instilled.

In our case, at around 2 he became a bit of a handful as he realised he was stronger than those that were handling him and got a bit too big for his boots at which point we started doing more in-hand stuff to occupy his mind and help him realise he needs to pay attention to his handler and not do his best horse kite impressions 😂 It’s worked wonders with him and he’s now back to his usual lovely self, but had we not nipped it in the bud I have no doubt his behaviour would have escalated.
 

canteron

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Yes - an instructor of mine would sort of dip down and point at the grass to let it know it could eat.

She was also very keen on walking horses somewhere (ridden or led) and let them have a munch before going home.

Her rational was that it allowed the horse to make sense of the ‘hack’
where going in a circle may seem pointless to a horse.
 

Cowpony

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I leave my feedbowl outside the gate while I get mine out of the field. She knows she doesn't get to the feedbowl until I've locked the gate. Doesn't stop her trying it on occasionally but she gets a firm yank on the headcollar and soon remembers her manners!
 

P.forpony

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I always offer mine the chance to have a snack when I can out hunting.
I’ve never understood why people don’t like it.
She’s working her bum off for me for hours the least I can do is let her have a few good mouthfuls!
That said it must be mannerly. She’s not allowed to pull me down or start wandering around.
I’ll find a tasty looking bit and drop reins to the buckle, she knows the drill, keeps her feet still and munches away 😊
 
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