She actually does have her feedbucket (and pink water bucket!) from home, as she needs to eat off the ground and they don't have ground feeders.
No need to feel like a bad horse mom! You've gotta do what you've gotta do. I hope she settles in. :)
On the Nov board note, is the BO aware that you may be leaving at the end of the month? It would suck to go home after the month only to have to pay for Nov anyway as your one month's notice.
Hmm.... I'd probably just take her back home now. Six hours of turnout in a small dry lot? Hardly eating AND going through a growth spurt? Oy.
Honestly, she's only 4. IMO, another winter's worth of trail riding and turnout is only going to help solidify a good attitude, and I'd be concerned that she's losing condition going into winter.
If you do keep her there, have you tried a hay net? My OTTB is always happier if he has a stall guard (open door) and a hay net when he has to be stalled, and he eats quite a bit more that way.
Oh you are giving me a chuckle about the tb mares! I had one that loved her pink water bucket and only wanted to drink out of it, also! You just can't make this stuff up!
Hopefully now that they have surrounded by the other horses, she will make a friend, and keep on munching. I don't think we should discount their emotions, much as we wish they were stoic about everything we ask of them.
Also did not get that she was "locked up for weeks at a time". Just getting less turn out in a smaller area then she was used to. Much of that can be replaced with regular riding and I see OP is going to put her in training for a few weeks. That should help enormously.
If it does not then, yeah, she should come home and OP can switch with her older horse and work on her riding in the indoor until spring.
Oh, there is NO grass after the first hard freeze (about now usually) so not fair to compare to warmer climes in that regard either.
This is the first fall I can remember in decades in which we have actual grass. Usually it is dried up/brown/crunchy stuff.
While we have somewhat longer days than NE, it still is dark, cold and damp.
Having lived and ridden in both areas - it is actually feels colder here at 35-45 with "high" humidity than 10-20 with "low" humidity.
Not to mention I believe JP60 is in 'upstate' SC, in the foothills of the Appalachians. They receive more snow and ice than I do, a mere 2+ hours southeast in the "midlands".
Oh, I realize winter can be a challenge just about anywhere. But we had snow cover for months and had snowshows on them if they went out at all. Couldn't school much outside if at all because you can't see what is under that snow and you know there can be ice and chewed up, refrozen ground under that white blanket.
But the dark was the biggest obstacle because even on nice days you were blind between about 4pm and 8am.
Tell you what, I hated it even riding indoors, driving, parking and slip sliding across to the barn door in the dark were awful.
Plus it was always in the back of my mind. . . .this leather is really cold and stiff - I bet it will break about the time maresy goes yee-ha!!