Our horses are now in during the day, out at night. Is it a concern that they eat their grain and hay in their hay bags, and then stand around the rest of the day with no food? Many are done with their hay by mid-day and then inside until later in the evening. I have been turning mine back out mid-day when I ride or visit. Is this customary? This is my first summer stall boarding. I started stall boarding in fall/winter for my hard keeper. He was out 24/7 all his life. He is arthritic (but in good condition thanks to maintenance, supps, and frequent riding). He also had ulcers in January (brought on by meds). So I worry about him being inside all day. I will keep him in on super hot/humid days but on days in the low 80's I feel the benefits of him being out vs. in are much more important. I just slather him with fly spray, swat etc. and put him out when I can. We have some other field boarders so he goes out and joins them.
He seems hungry and anxious to be in the grass when I do take him out to graze a bit or as a treat after riding. I guess he would be if he's done with his hay mid-day....or is this a normal, customary thing? I love my barn and the care is great so not complaining.....but just curious. Thx!
Obviously continuous access to forage is optimal. I'd rather a horse be without hay (if he had to be) when outside since at least they can wander around and pretend they're browsing even if there's no grass.
Any way the barn could throw a flake or two midday?
Well if they did, they'd have to for all horses, not just mine. I guess I am concerned because he seems hungry. The other day I visited around 3 and he was in, and when I took him out he seemed ravenous....so I put him out for the rest of the day. We do have grass, lots of clover and other "stuff" in the field, but plenty to graze on. It just didn't seem ideal to have him standing in his stall another 5 hours with literally no food, KWIM? I guess in winter I feel better because we also give him soaked cubes at night, and I also think he sleeps a good part of the night in winter in his stall. He lays down, etc. But right now, every time I go he is standing with his head out looking hungry ...I can give him cubes etc. when I visit but that only lasts so long. It just makes more sense to me to put him out and to keep him moving, also bec. of his arthritis. In winter he is a tough keeper so the benefits of having him in with hay in his stall outweigh the negatives. (he has a hard time chewing the round bale hay, but eats the stall hay fine - it's a different kind, greener and softer for him to chew). He maintained his weight MUCH better this past winter being stalled.
Depending on scheduling, we throw enough for ours to keep until they are turned back out, or else we throw again mid-day. That's what we find to be "customary."
This time of year it can be a little hard to judge "how much" because the good spring grass is just beginning to trail off, and we have quite a few who only pick at the hay and hold out for the grass they'll get when they return to turnout in the cool of the evening. Others wolf down every scrap and seem like they'd eat more. (Oh, they're Morgans; some of them would eat until they exploded...)
Soon, however, when things have really dried up, they'll all be eating the hay more vigorously-- perhaps your barn is still juggling this sort of changeover, and haven't adjusted to increased hay intake? Can you ask the BO if they can throw him enough in the morning to last all day?
Just out of curiousity, what does a not hungry horse look like?
I think it is nice when they can get a lunch flake of hay, or get slowed down with a hay net. On the other hand, most of the barns in our area do only feed hay twice a day, so I think it's pretty common.
My horses have hay in front of them all the time in the stalls, and when they go out at night they graze, so they're either eating or napping. But this is my own barn, so I can do whatever I want.
It would concern me if my horse was standing around not eating, especially if he had a history of ulcers. I believe in free choice hay, and I realize that a lot of boarding barns do not, for various reasons.
I would definitely ask if they can feed your horse more hay, even if you have to pay extra for it. I'd also see about throwing some hay outside at night, if there is no grass.
Arthritic horses are usually better off if they can move around, so I'd also see about giving him more turnout if possible. If they can't do that, and they won't give more hay, then look for another place. If the barn is as good as you say, they should be able to make adjustments.
And yeah, they are always hungry. But they're supposed to be! They're designed to eat all day, and when they don't, they have problems.
Oh good God, they will not die if they don't have hay in front of them 24 hours a day... All my horses doze most of the afternoon... as far as being hungry... I'm pretty sure horses are always hungry... a sure sign that a horse is sick is that he will not eat.
A ten-dollar Small Mesh Hay Net is the answer. Miller Harness has 'em for that price. They're easy to fill (put flakes on a bucket bottom, slide down the hay net over and flip). They are very tough and can be hung easily and safely by taking up the draw string into the clip end of a a Swivel Snap Bolt and then hanging the swivel O-ring on a hook.
Three big flakes lasts my Clyde-X alllll night and keeps her busy
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