It seems like every barn has at least one of them, unless it’s a private barn. You know, that person who walks into the barn and all of the horses go crazy. If you are there and had your horse’s focus, it’s gone. Even if they aren’t going to give your horse anything, he becomes excited because all of those other horses are. They revel in the fact that all of the horses love them and are excited to see them. Wait a minute are they?
In reality, the horses are happy and excited to see the treats. I’m not sure they see a person at all, more they see a Pez dispenser. I’m not sure that’s a great thing to be. I wouldn’t want the horses I have to ride and train to become excited at the site of me. I prefer to have a calming effect on them. Sure, I want them to be happy to see me, but because they like me, not simply because I bring them treats. When I was an exercise rider at the track, as I walked into the barn, all of my mounts would come to the front of their stalls. I knew other exercise riders who upon entry into the barn, their horses went to the backs of their stalls. I was proud because my horses were clearly happy to see me, but they didn’t become excited and start neighing and banging the screens of their stalls because I was there.
With regard to the people who do this, I don’t think it’s about the horses at all. I think it’s about them and the feeling they get when all of the horses carry on when they walk into the barn. They need to think about the person who may be under a horse when they arrive or the horse that may injure himself as he paws the door of his stall.
I do give my horses treats and I’m not against the practice. My horses get peppermints and apple cookies and on occasion those Stud Muffins, but I also work with them and they know I expect them to be mannerly. I usually give them treats after we have trained for the day and it isn’t contingent on whether the session was good on bad. The success of the session is on me, not the horse.