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Feed before ride? or after?

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  • Feed before ride? or after?

    I like to ride first thing in the morning, but have been feeling guilty about riding before my horse gets his breakfast. For those of you that are also early riders, what's your routine? Is it bad for a horse to "work" before feeding?...he has hay overnight, but usually finished and looking for food when he sees me in the morning. Maybe I could compromise and give him 1 cup of feed before i tack up?

    I know I'm probably baby-ing horse too much, but just want to do what's best. I know I couldn't function well on an empty stomach.

  • #2
    mine are out at night. I catch them, bring them in and feed them all execpt the one I'm riding first. I give that horse just a few large handfuls and let them eat while I pull out the tack and get my self ready.

    I do this mostly because I want them easier to catch in the field. I think if you are always catching them to ride right away...some may decide they would rather not be caught (or at least make me walk out into the field to get them)!

    My guys get a lot to eat so I wouldn't feed them their entire breakfast before riding.

    If you just feel guilty....just throw him a couple of treats into his feed box when you arrive.
    ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **


    • #3
      A couple handfuls of hay is probably a good idea - that way he won't have an empty stomach for the stomach acids to work on, especially if he is used to being fed at a certain time.

      I wouldn't worry about this causing a "full" stomach so that you can't ride him - endurance horses eat throughout being ridden without a problem, and horses at grass often eat right up until they're caught to be ridden.

      You never know what kind of obsessive compulsive crazy person you are until another person imitates your behaviour at a three-day. --Gry2Yng


      • #4
        race horses

        always get their grain before their morning work


        • #5
          Remember, if he's been eating hay all night, he doesn't have an empty stomach.

          I work in the mornings and ride in the afternoons. Depending on when I get there and when they get fed, sometimes she gets fed shortly before riding, sometimes shortly after. If she is eating when I get there, I wait for her to be finished and by the time I groom, tack up and get to the ring, at least 20 min have passed. If the horses are fed while I am riding, I just make sure she is cooled out before feeding.

          My horse goes all day without grain if I ride her before she's fed. This is not different than going all night without grain and not a big deal.


          • #6
            We have used the one hour rule, left over from my days of running a large racing stable...no work one hour before or one hour after feeding. I just get up earlier! They can eat in the dark!
            Proud & Permanent Student Of The Long Road
            Read me: EN (http://eventingnation.com/author/annemarch/) and HJU (http://horsejunkiesunited.com/author/holly-covey/)


            • #7
              I may be a bit of the 'babying type,' but without fail I always feed my horses breakfast before riding them (and they have hay and/or grass throughout the night.) Mainly I feel that: A) I want my horse to have energy for his/her ride and B) my horse can't use the ''I'm not going to cooperate because everyone's eating but me" excuse

              I don't have a firm 1 hour rule, but I have meticulous grooming habits that take me a minimum of 30 minutes (and usually 45-60 minutes) to fully groom and tack up my horse and also to untack, bathe and medicate after a ride, so my horses usually wait at least 40+ minutes before and after eating to be worked.

              With dinner feed I'm less picky, but as long as I'm not short on time I usually prefer to feed my horse before my ride if it's nearing feeding time. My horses are spoiled.


              • #8
                Give him a few handfuls of feed so he doesn't feel left out. I wouldn't worry about it too much.
                I wouldnt give them a whole bucket of grain before work, but a little snack is ok.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Blugal View Post
                  I wouldn't worry about this causing a "full" stomach so that you can't ride him - endurance horses eat throughout being ridden without a problem, and horses at grass often eat right up until they're caught to be ridden.
                  This is what I was thinking. I friend of mine just crewed for the FEI endurance event at the KY Horse Park (practice for the WEG) and she was amazed at how much food they stuffed down their horses on the breaks then immediately went out an worked them very hard.

                  None of mine get more than 2#s so I really don't worry about it. Generally I let them eat, buts it's 20-30 minutes by the time the first one is groomed and tacked up.


                  • #10
                    I feed so little "grain" that feeding once a day works for me. If you want to do the horse some good, give it some hay before you ride--it's supposed to help keep the acid from sloshing all over the stomach when the horse is working. I'd feed little or no grain before, mostly hay--you can let him eat it while you're grooming. Main meal after the ride. Feeding is not how we love them. Feed choices are made for health and well-being, not to make them "happy".
                    Click here before you buy.


                    • #11
                      My horse doesn't get much "grain"; he gets a ration balancer and some alfalfa pellets. I usually feed him before I ride. By the time I've groomed him and warmed up at a walk, he's fine.

                      My guy is prone to ulcers so I don't work him on an empty stomach. At the very least he gets hay.
                      Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                      EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.


                      • #12
                        I have 2 horses to ride. I usually feed the young one and let my older guy have a few bites of food. But the older man gets 8lbs of food in a feeding (hard keeper). I would rather have him have a lighter stomach before I work him for 45+ minutes, rather than get worked on a heavy stomach.

                        The younger one gets maybe 2-3lbs of grain and I don't feel bad riding her after she eats.

                        So typical day, take both buckets of grain out and feed the younger one, and let the older one take a few bites to satisfy his nickering to me in the am. He knows the program and has no problem waiting for his grain. I ride him, cool off, etc then take him back and feed him his bfast and take the younger one to ride. If I ride in the evening, I do the same thing.

                        But a good rule of thumb is don't ride 1 hour before or after you feed. So it depends on the horse and how sensitve it is. My older guy has been in this routine for years.


                        • #13
                          After I ride. But she gets haycubes while I'm tacking up (and always has hay in front of her).