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Anyone feed their horses only once a day?

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  • Anyone feed their horses only once a day?

    After a long lameness battle, it looks like I'm getting to the point where my mare is just going to go live in a field indefinitely.

    I'm looking around at pasture boarding options. Either way, she'll have a nice big paddock with lots of grass and a run-in shed.
    Mare is a very easy keeper, no history of colic in the past 2 years. She currently eats 1lb of a ration balancer 2x a day, 2 flakes coastal with breakfast and dinner, and a flake of peanut hay for lunch. She nibbles on some grass during the day but likes to hang out in the dirt area, so she doesn't eat enough to really count.

    The most economical option for pasture boarding would be to feed once a day. I'm not worried about the grain aspect, I don't think there would be a problem feeding the RB 1x a day. How bad is it to give hay just once a day? She could get as much hay as she needs, and would hopefully space it out a little bit through the night, but it's likely she'd just eat it all then.

    It is winter here, but it's also Florida, so there is some grass to nibble on throughout the day, and hopefully that will keep her digestive tract moving.

    I think in summer when there is grass, feeding once a day will be no problem, but is it too risky in winter?

    And a round bale wouldn't work, I think for one horse it would go bad too quickly, and I don't want her to completely gorge herself.

  • #2
    I ride horses for a lady who feeds her horses once a day and it is only in the winter. During the summer she gives them enough grain to mask the little bit of supplements they get.


    • #3
      Yes, my two horses live out 24/7, I self care board and they are fed only once per day. Originally I was having the BO feed in the evenings for me, but it got so silly because they eat so little hard feed. I put my hay out in haybags so they have to eat it more slowly, and I space it out in their paddocks so they have to walk all day to eat it. When I show up in the morning they are cleaning up the last scraps of the hay. They're easy keepers so one meal in the mornings to get the vit/mineral suppy in is all they need.

      the biggest problem I face with them is boredom lol! when they see me in the morning they are eager to play or go to work and they pester me while I try to do the chores. Winter makes it so much worse full of naughtiness to top it all off! They've been exasperating the past week.
      Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.


      • #4
        I feed once a day only and have for the last 15 years. My horses are on pasture 24/7 though. I have 4 with access to roundbales early on in the winter and 2 that just get 2-3 flakes of grass hay each (about 10-15 lbs) once a day and still stay fat all winter. Once the roundbales are gone, everyone gets between 2-4 flakes of mixed grassy hay once a day. If it's bitter cold or wet they get extra. Above 40 degrees and they can go out and forage. I don't live where my horses are (nobody lives where my horses are actually). If the weather is insanely cold (which is rare for Tennessee) I will go up twice a day to hay. But they still only get one 'meal' a day. Just between 2-3 soaked cups of beet pulp and their vitamins.


        • #5
          I care for two ponies and only go out once a day. They only get a handful of grain so that isn't an issue. There isn't much grass in their paddock so I adjust the amount of hay they get accordingly. They were obese when I started in the summer so I cut them back, now that it has gotten cold I give them more and put it in different spots in their paddock as well as some in their stalls. They are doing fine and are happy little campers.


          • #6
            I think once is enough as long as she gets plenty of hay to eat. In the winter i only feed grain once a day,this winter iam feeding grain twice but only because i have a sick horse that needs medicine twice a day.My horses have free choice hay 24/7 and they are all fat come spring.sassy45


            • #7
              I would worry about the lack of hay more than I would worry about the lack of hard feed. If I were you I would scatter several piles of hay around the paddock when you DO feed her and see how that goes. My horses are out on pasture all day with free choice hay in the winter and I still feed them twice a day but that is more so I can do a visual lameness and health inspection than anything else. Most often the first clue you get that your horse is sick is refusal to eat their grain.
              "My biggest fear is that when I die my husband is going to try to sell all my horses and tack for what I told him they cost."


              • #8
                Mine are fed once a day because it's too hard for me to feed them before work. As long as you aren't feeding huge quantities of grain, you'll be fine. Two pounds of an RB a day isn't much all.
                Against My Better Judgement: A blog about my new FLF OTTB
                Do not buy a Volkswagen. I did and I regret it.
                VW sucks.


                • #9
                  I don't think feeding once a day would be a problem. I would get some sort of slow feed hay net, like a Freedom Feeder. The large size is supposed to last 24 hours if you fill it completely.
                  come what may

                  Rest in peace great mare, 1987-2013


                  • #10
                    I feed my appy gelding once per day. He gets 1 lbs of McCauley's M30 and I also put his hay in a slow feed hay net. I made the haynet from a hockey goal net, and I can shove 6-8 flakes of hay in it. My Tb on the other hand, gets fed 2 meals per day because he gets 6 lbs of WB100 plus 1 lbs of Omega Bran + 2 oz of Biotime. Not to mention a few lbs of soaked alfalfa cubes at night. My appy just gives me the evil eye each evening when I put dinner in the stall for the TB. It sucks to be an easy keeper!


                    • #11
                      My guys are out 24/7 self care too far from my house to make twice a day feasible. They get fed once a day (and not at all the same time every day--- varies a lot based in my schedule). They do have grass in warm weather and free choice hay in winter.
                      The big man -- my lost prince

                      The little brother, now my main man


                      • #12
                        I had my 2 on self-care pasture board for several years, and they only got fed once a day. Actually, summer they didn't get fed at all. Winter they got a small meal of grain plus a lot of hay. I just started out by throwing as much hay as I felt they should eat in 24 hrs, and then I'd add several more flakes if it were cold or snowing. My goal was for there to always be a last few wisps of hay left when I showed up the next day. I was able to do this until my old horse had to go on a soaked senior feed.


                        • #13
                          Mine are at home- but they have round bales 24/7 and are all pretty much easy keepers. The most grain any one of them gets is currently 2 lbs- so I only feed grain once a day
                          "As soon as you're born you start dyin'
                          So you might as well have a good time"


                          • #14
                            Another self-care, feed-'em-once-a-day COTHer here.

                            Hay is NOT an issue if you use good nets, like Freedom Feeders or Cinch Chix nets.... I've actually switched to a West Coast bale net and will soon have a Round Bale net, both from Cinch Chix because they hold more, are very tough and I know the hay will last.

                            The West Coast net holds 2, 45-50 pound bales and with three mares (two are mine) munching on it, lasts 24+ hours, even in bitter cold.

                            My mares only get "fed" once a day too... soaked beet pulp, EquiPride, BOSS, etc. They don't need more.
                            <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.


                            • #15
                              If they have hay available and aren't on a lot of grain...sure, why not. If there is no grass or hay available or if they are hard keepers requiring a good amount of grain, then yes, it's a problem.


                              • #16
                                Mine are out 24/7 (with run in sheds), and I feed enough grain in the am for them to get supplements, alfalfa in the pm, and round bales/pasture the rest of the time. They (ages 2-15) are all fat and happy!
                                --Becky in TX
                                Clinic Blogs and Rolex Blogs
                                She who throws dirt is losing ground.


                                • #17
                                  You can also leave several hay piles in the paddock, so she has to walk around a bit and is less likely to gorge herself all at once. I have a friend with easy-keeping retired ponies, she does this and the hay lasts much longer, not to mention the little fatties have to walk around a little bit


                                  • #18
                                    Mine are such easy keepers, and the climate is mild, and they have something in the pasture to pick at even deep in the winter. So for 8-9 months of the year they get their pitiful little half pound apiece of pellets or sweet feed or whatever--which I only give them so they'll have something to look forward to, and so I get a chance to look at them up close at least once a day.

                                    Wintertime--they get a flake of hay apiece at night, and a flake apiece in the AM, more if it gets really cold or cold and wet. Lots of years I can delay giving them any hay at all until christmas, but not this year. 13 degrees this AM and I am way the hell south of Atlanta.

                                    I've thought about just giving them hay at night, and I'm sure they'd survive just fine. It gets me and the dogs out of the house so I dont mind--its only a 3/10 of a mile stroll from the house to the barn.


                                    • #19
                                      Since horses are grazing animals by nature if your horse has plenty of good grass to nibble on she'll be fine. If she's isn't being worked she should get the nutrition she needs if she gets good hay and a good balanced feed. Obviously, you don't want to over do the grain, especially sweet feed. If you happen to notice her weight dropping a bit give her a good fat supplement that will add calories without adding carbohydrates.


                                      • Original Poster

                                        Thanks everyone, glad to hear it is feasible! I figured if there is some remnants of grass she will at least pick at it and keep her gut moving. I probably can't keep free choice hay in front of her without her looking like a bloated marshmallow, but I will try to figure out a way to stretch the hay out longer.

                                        She has a 1.5" nibble net right now and has completely figured it out. She can eat a full 3 flakes of hay in about an hour, so it really doesn't help much, but maybe I can try a different kind of slow feeder. Are the freedom feeders easy to load?