New horse turns nasty ? any advice please?

Theocat

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Backing away while you enter a box with the feed is good manners, but some horses are simply very protective of their feed once they have it, and I can understand that!

I think you’ve got yourself a bit worked up, to be honest - just leave her to eat in peace, and as long as her manners are good elsewhere, you can teach her to accept having her dinner taken away when you know each other better. If this is her only transgression, I certainly don’t think you need to be breaking her early to combat it.
 

WandaMare

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I wouldn't worry, you have only owned her for 2 weeks. Its quite natural for animals to be possessive about food, especially in a new home. I would give her some space when feeding and prepare yourself to allow her a few mistakes, she's a young horse and it will take a good few months for her to get to know you and to feel secure in her new home.
 

splashgirl45

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I prefer to leave them to eat in peace and wouldnt worry about her reaction, she will not yet trust you and probably still feels a bit insecure. there is no need to take the food away to show who is in control, i would just let her be a youngster for at least another year and just get to know her...
 

Pearlsasinger

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Set her and you up to succeed! So don't try to take food away from her at this stage, although I do expect to be able to move a horse's bucket while there is food in it, when they have settled in - but that usually takes longer than 3 weeks.

However, I do think it is a mistake to back off when you have allowed the situation to develop, you really don't want a horse that thinks it can tell you what to do. Should something similar happen again, make yourself big. loud and scary and insist that the horse steps away from you.
 
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Don’t worry about it. This doesn’t mean that she’s nasty or potentially vicious, it just means she’s very protective of her food. That type of thing is often seen in horses who didn’t get fed enough as a foal and youngster.

I had a horse who was the best in every way, a total gentleman to ride but he could be a little psycho when it came to food. I made sure to leave him alone to eat and took no notice of the aggressive behavior. But I certainly didn’t challenge him about it when he was eating. I just put it down to being a bit starved as a baby.
 
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In her mind you tried to take food off her which a lot of horses do not take kindly to. I would simply let her eat in peace and take the bucket away once she has finished and moved away and I doubt you will have a problem
 
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I think that the food is the issue TBH and she's merely doing what she would do with other horses if they were in the vicinity and she felt threatened.

I'd turn her away for a bit, yes keep handling her on the ground etc, but give her some time to settle.

If you can, turn her out with a biggish mixed herd; if she is being a bit cheeky and finding her feet IME other horses can and will do a far better job of "sorting out" a cheeky youngster - and will teach them their manners like nothing else can! My old mare is fantastic for this: the rudest youngster will soon learn its lesson and mind its manners after just a few hours of being turned out with her! If you have this sort of mare, they're invaluable.
 
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Don’t worry about it. This doesn’t mean that she’s nasty or potentially vicious, it just means she’s very protective of her food. That type of thing is often seen in horses who didn’t get fed enough as a foal and youngster.

I had a horse who was the best in every way, a total gentleman to ride but he could be a little psycho when it came to food. I made sure to leave him alone to eat and took no notice of the aggressive behavior. But I certainly didn’t challenge him about it when he was eating. I just put it down to being a bit starved as a baby.
That's a really interesting point as apparently she was born into drought (I'm in Australia), and was in really poor shape before being shipped off to greener pastures. Thanks for your insight!
 

Goldenstar

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I bought a horse years ago now who had been in a tough spot he was very very possessive of food for quite a long time .
We understood it and managed round it in time when want was well in his past he simply forgot all about it .
Don?t worry about it, stay safe and ignore it .
 

Ambers Echo

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Amber used to be VERY possessive around food. As soon as I appeared with the bucket, her ears would go back, she'd lunge at me to 'chase' me away from it. (I'm bringing it to YOU, you dozy mare!)

It did not worry me. At first I'd just leave feed in the stable till we got to know each other a bit better. Then I taught her to back away from me without involving food, then with food. She would back away but still pin her ears. A few months later she was totally fine and I can move her feed now even if she is still eating or can just stay near her and she stays relaxed and friendly.
 
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Thank you all so much for your replies. You've put my mind at ease and I will take your advice on board. I guess I am expecting too much too soon. Handling a youngster is very new to me as I've always had older horses, so I have a bit to learn...Unfortunately I don't have the option of turning her out in a herd, but she is with my 16yo TB gelding who is very much the boss, so hopefully he will help teach her some basic manners.
 
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Amber used to be VERY possessive around food. As soon as I appeared with the bucket, her ears would go back, she'd lunge at me to 'chase' me away from it. (I'm bringing it to YOU, you dozy mare!)

It did not worry me. At first I'd just leave feed in the stable till we got to know each other a bit better. Then I taught her to back away from me without involving food, then with food. She would back away but still pin her ears. A few months later she was totally fine and I can move her feed now even if she is still eating or can just stay near her and she stays relaxed and friendly.
Whow. Thank you. Reading this has made me feel a lot better. It appears it's a more common issue than I thought...
 
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My pony can be aggressive when it comes to her feed, especially with other horses, but otherwise she is a sweetheart. Just leave her while she's eating and just take it away when she's finished, keep in mind you've only known her for two weeks. She will probably calm down once she realises you are not a threat, taking it away will most likely just make the situation worse.
 
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