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Would this bother you if you owned this horse?

(34 Posts)
FreshWest Wed 06-Jun-12 22:09:13

We have recently been going to visit a little horse whose field backs on to a public footpath. DD has suspected ASD and til now has been terrified of all animals, but she is quite keen on this horse. She is non verbal so it's difficult to explain why the horse is not there if he isn't by the gate. So we started taking carrots to feed him in order to entice him to the gate. It's worked wonderfully to the point where she wants to stroke him. This is huge progress in our world!!

I just wondered if you would be unhappy that someone was feeding your horse, there is no farm nearby to ask so I think the owners must drive to feed him. He seems well looked after though.

Alameda Wed 06-Jun-12 22:25:18

I'd be really really cross. Sorry.

FreshWest Wed 06-Jun-12 22:27:39

Could I ask why? Not being ignorant I'm just wondering what the objection would be?

sumsumsum Wed 06-Jun-12 22:28:35

I don't know what others will say, but if you can get a message to the owners with the full story - and your gratitude! - I'm sure you can come to an agreement, eg max number of carrots, etc.

Most people would want to help your dd love horses, surely? smile

AllPastYears Wed 06-Jun-12 22:29:03

I'd be unhappy yes. My horse is a porker and I don't want him to have extra carrots, plus hand-feeding treats can make horses bite. Imagine someone leaning over your garden wall and giving your dog biscuits, or giving your daughter sweets when you weren't looking.

You don't say if there are other horses in the field. One day someone was feeding the horses in my horse's field carrots over the fence, with his 2-year-old granddaughter. The horses were frantic, kicking and fighting each other to get at the carrots. One nearly got through the electric fence and could have flattened the 2-year-old. One of the owners asked him to stop, and the guy couldn't see what the problem was hmm.

AllPastYears Wed 06-Jun-12 22:29:50

sum, I'd be happy for the girl to pat him but no treats, sorry.

Alameda Wed 06-Jun-12 22:33:07

My friend's pony nearly died from a few carrots (severe laminitis and v controlled diet) when they caused colic. It sounds extreme but it's true.

With mine the biggest danger would be their total lack of manners and they would quickly assume everyone has treats and just be quite rude so I don't let them have treats as a rule. It's a pity you can't track down the owner and find out more, because obviously it is a lovely and good thing that your child is overcoming a fear. Horses are wonderful. Just think you need to go through some proper channels.

FreshWest Wed 06-Jun-12 22:35:48

There are 3 in the field and we take one carrot each. We are there about once a week at the moment, weather permitting. There are no electric fences as far as I can tell, just a standard five bar gate and trees around the rest. You can only see them through this one gate.
Thanks for feedback, not sure how we would contact the owners but thanks for suggestions.
I'm thrilled obv that my daughter is finally accepting of any animal but don't want to cause problems!

FreshWest Wed 06-Jun-12 22:38:36

Sorry x posted there. That's a good idea Alameda, we should look into contacting local stables. She is only 4 but worth looking into maybe.

sumsumsum Wed 06-Jun-12 22:46:09

Children with autism sometimes do relate well to horses. You could see if there's a Disabled Riding Association place near you?

Sorry, horse owners, for my glib assumption; I can see your points. smile

MoonlightandRoses Wed 06-Jun-12 22:48:30

I'd agree with maybe just patting unless you can contact the owner. Maybe leave a note in a freezer bag stuck to the gate asking them if they could leave a response in the same bag?

Mine would have been fine with a carrot, or polo or two, but I know of at least one who it would really not have been a good idea to treat more than a couple of times (he was a bully and a fence-breaker once he'd figured out what could be got away with).

Second the visiting local stables idea. Some of them might even have a suitable lesson or pony camp for your DD.

janji Wed 06-Jun-12 23:35:48

My own son has ADHD and is on the autism spectrum. He began riding at a local stables and did so well. Worth a try?!

Alameda Thu 07-Jun-12 11:54:51

didn't mean to sound so grumpy and unhelpful, in real life if someone approached me with this I would be thrilled to help - am a mad evangelist for equine assisted therapy in its loosest possible sense

just think I would go a bit nuts if I saw someone feeding them something without asking, but am neurotic and have nightmares about their safety in the field blush

SaggyCeratops Thu 07-Jun-12 19:41:38

I'd be very unhappy sorry! BUT, if you asked me, I'd be more than happy to let your daughter spend some time with my quieter ponies. As other have said, there are many reasons why hand feeding is a bad idea. I'm not 100% convinced that locals aren't feeding my lot at the moment. But I'm in the process of making signs asking them not to. I've got a baby pony, who took a while to tame, and I'd hate her progress to be set back by negative contact with a random passer by!
If you are in my area, north essex I'd be happy to let you come and see my beasties.

FreshWest Fri 08-Jun-12 12:02:34

Thanks for the offer saggyceratops but sadly no.
Thanks also everybody for feedback and advice. I had heard that horses do provide good "therapy" for kids with ASD so will definitely be looking into local groups etc.
thanks to you all!

Alameda Fri 08-Jun-12 14:24:39

let us know how you get on, you'd be welcome here in mid-Suffolk anytime smile

diedandgonetodevon Fri 08-Jun-12 15:07:38

I'd have no problem with a small child patting any of my horses but feeding them is an absolute no-no and I fear I would go ape if I caught someone doing it.
I have signs up very cleary stating not to feed them as a lot of people seem to think it fair game to feed horses carrots/apples/polos but if you do not know the owners you have no idea what the diet of the animal is and whether this extra feeding could cause problems.

Maybe contact a local stables and see if they would mind you going down and letting your daughter fuss some of the quieter residents and if that goes well maybe get in touch with Riding for the Disabled here is their website. They are fabulous!

sandycloud Fri 08-Jun-12 15:13:15

We have ponies in a field by us and we sometimes give them a handful of grass. They seem to really like this even though there is plenty of grass in their field. Is this more acceptable to horse owners?

SaggyCeratops Fri 08-Jun-12 15:19:39

The trouble is, there's nothing to stop the others in the field seein their mate eating something, and feeling jealous and then wading in in a strop, feet flying. Feeding by hand in a group is really not a good idea, whatever you are feeding.

Booboostoo Fri 08-Jun-12 21:40:40

I used to help at my local RDA groups for about 10 years and it was an enormous amount of fun for everyone involved, so I would strongly recommend you give your local group a try. Your DD doesn't have to ride to begin with, she can spend some time getting to know the animals and only hop on when she feels comfortable.

As for feeding the horses, it's another no from me I am afraid. Some horses are on special diets to avoid serious medical problems like laminitis, others may become quite difficult to handle if you feed them titbits and may even break the fence to come get more! If there are more than one horses in the field introducing food is more than likely to lead to an argument and it's very easy to catch the odd hoof even from the other side of the fence - very dangerous for both you and the horses.

emlu67 Fri 08-Jun-12 22:00:37

I used to help at the RDA as well, it is really worth looking into and I know children who have really come on for their experiences. I personally would never feed anyone elses horses so if there is an RDA centre near you that would definitely be the best thing.

careergirl Sat 09-Jun-12 00:29:06

I would not be happy with this it encourages nippy behaviour from the horse in my book

Mirage Sat 09-Jun-12 08:36:18

I wouldn't be happy about any hand feeding of anything.Dpony has been known to go for her fieldmate over food,she can be nippy so not fed by hand and newboy has equine diabetes and cannot have anything other than his strict diet.Even handfuls of grass could cause problems if it is lush or sugary.

Whereabouts are you OP? We can perhaps find a horsey mumsnetter near you.

TheQueenOfDiamonds Sat 09-Jun-12 13:27:08

I'd invite you onto the yard to feed them at tea times if the horse were quiet enough.

Equimum Sun 10-Jun-12 11:36:27

Firstly, I wanted to say thank-you for even thinking of asking this'd question. Sso many people feed horses for yeas without ever thinking about it.

Might be worth chatting to his owner, but making contact with a riding school might be the way to go. There's a little girl with a non-verbal ASC/D who rides at the school where my horse is on livery. She was absolutely terrified when she first came along, but after about three years she grooms the pony sheriffs and has started joining group lessons, both for riding and horse care. You can really see that her confidence has grown and her mum is amazed by how happy she is to join in with other children on the yard, even though she's usually reluctant usually. It's not an RDA yard, just has an owner who could see the potential value in her spending time round horses and was happy to give Her additionl help in the first instance. Riding/ horse care can be amazing for children with all sorts of difficulties.

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