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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan. 3, 2009
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    On the buckle
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    957

    Default Hay For the Easy Keeper TB

    My TB is a VERY easy keeper. At this time he is already at at body condition score of 6--ribs hard to feel, crease beginning along the spine, girth let out a hole from the usual, etc. He receives only a handful of grain daily to carry his vitamins and hoof supplement, and works 3-4 days/week.

    My question is about feeding hay. For the months over the fall and winter, he and his three buddies have had access to a round bale 24/7. While this is clearly too much hay for my horse, it suits the others in the field just fine, so I'm considering options--grazing muzzle (ugh, hate it, but maybe necessary) or a separate dry lot with a one horse where he would only be thrown alfalfa hay twice a day.

    In the dry lot horse would spend most of his time standing around with one other horse, with no hay to nibble on--long periods of time on an empty stomach. (My work schedule precludes a noon feeding.) In his present field with the muzzle, he would have the heat, discomfort and inability to bite to defend himself in his rowdy group. Plus, he is a houdini at removing things he doesn't like, and he strongly dislikes the muzzle.

    So which would you choose? Any other ideas? I have some constraints because this is self-care boarding. For many good reasons, soundness included, I really don't want him gaining more weight.

    Thanks!
    Mon Ogon (Mojo), black/bay 16 H TB Gelding



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr. 9, 2007
    Location
    Zone IV/Area III
    Posts
    1,210

    Default

    What about dry lot with a small hole hay net?


    1 members found this post helpful.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct. 20, 2009
    Posts
    950

    Default

    Congrats on having an Air-fern TB....They're a rare and valuable breed!

    I second the small hole hay net. they keep them busy for hours, keep them from over-doing it, while still getting them the forage they need.

    Alfalfa is pretty rich for an easy keeper...



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul. 24, 2004
    Posts
    2,631

    Default

    Small hole haynet like others suggested ("the diet haynet"). We use those a lot with air-ferns who are on stall rest. My OTTB is a VERY easy keeper too and I'm lucky because she'll only eat a minimal amount of hay - she gets free-choice hay 24/7 but eats a few small flakes a day if that - shes not a vacuum at all! And she could stand to lose a few pounds :-).
    "When a horse greets you with a nicker & regards you with a large & liquid eye, the question of where you want to be & what you want to do has been answered." CANTER New England



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep. 9, 2008
    Location
    north of the Arctic Circle
    Posts
    624

    Default

    An easy-keeper TB? What is this mythical beast you speak of?!?!?

    Another vote for the small-hole haynet. The horses have to actually work to get the hay, which keeps them occupied, in addition to slowing down consumption.
    "Winter's a good time to stay in and cuddle,
    but put me in summer and I'll be a... happy snowman!!!"

    Trolls be trollin'! -DH



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan. 3, 2009
    Location
    On the buckle
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    957

    Default

    Thanks everyone! The small hole hay net seems to be the only way to go. The reason it didn't occur to me--I didn't realize they made them big enough to fit over a full round bale, which is necessary because I can't be out there twice a day filling nets for all the horses in the field. First step, clear it with barn owner and pony up for something like the "Slow Bale Buddy." Then see if she will arrange the fields by easy/hard keepers. There is a solution! Thanks again.
    Mon Ogon (Mojo), black/bay 16 H TB Gelding



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr. 28, 2009
    Location
    Alberta's bread basket
    Posts
    1,575

    Default

    I also query the alfalfa.

    Any chance you can switch to bermuda or timothy? The timothy has decent protein at 9-12% (perfect for an adult horse) and is calcium / phosphorous balanced.

    The big problem with easy keepers is feeding them enough volume to satisfy the chewability craving and the roughage their hindgut needs for optimum health. Alfalfa would not allow either, whereas grass hay does both.
    http://www.mariposasporthorses.com/

    Practice! Patience! Persistence!



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan. 3, 2009
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    On the buckle
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    957

    Default

    I know, I have those very concerns about the alfalfa. It is all the barn has to offer in small bales. Last year during the drought, in the mixed fields, everything died except the hardy alfalfa, so that is all they were able to bale. Luckily though, we have some grass round bales and will be using those now.
    Mon Ogon (Mojo), black/bay 16 H TB Gelding



  9. #9
    Join Date
    May. 30, 2006
    Location
    Little Rhody
    Posts
    3,489

    Default

    If I were the BO, I don't think I'd allow a small hole hay net over a round bale unless all of the other horses sharing it are easy keepers too.

    If all the barn has is alflafa in small bales, why not purchase some grass hay yourself? That's what many of us with "special needs" horses do.



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