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Keeping my horse entertained at night

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  • Keeping my horse entertained at night

    So, my mare has been diagnosed with severe ulcers and colitis.

    This means she has restricted access to food, which is given to her every two hours by either a mash or a small amount of hay.

    So here's the thing, at 7 p.m. the stables close and until 7 a.m the next day she can't be given her 2 hour feeding schedule. I've tried every single way I could remember to slow down her hay intake and try to have it last all night.

    It doesn't, and I've finally concluded she its it all in about 2 hours, and then for the rest of the night she eats her shavings! We can't put her on straw bedding as she isn't supposed to eat too much, and if we just leave her with her rubber bedding she won't pee.

    So, any suggestions to slow down her hay intake, or to keep her entertained for those 12 hours?

    P.S.: We put her hay inside a bucket with lots of water and two hay nets around it. She's a real Houdini.

  • #2
    Two small hole hay-nets? Or move to a new barn?


    • #3
      Have you tried giving her himalayan salt licks? It wouldn't last all night, but my horse loves them and he spends a good chunk of time each day licking them with his eyes closed
      The best is yet to come


      • Original Poster

        Two small hole hay-nets?
        The hay nets we have around the bucket are small holed. She can't eat any more hay than she's already eating, so its a matter of slowing her down.

        Or move to a new barn?
        There really isn't any barn I know that will feed one specific horse every two hours during the night. They have been great just by doing it during the day...


        • #5
          Just a thought, might not be suitable at all, I believe programmable up to 6 times :


          Or http://www.mkfreetimefeeder.com/feeder.html


          This would be too big for a stall I think, but neat idea :


          • Original Poster

            simc24, unfortunately she can't have any salt right now, so that isn't an option.

            Lieslot, I've been looking into automatic feeders too, but she had to be in the clinic for about a week, plus the gastrogard treatment... so right now I can't give 1200$ for one.

            Bah, this is killing me!


            • #7
              I can sure understand that.
              Hope she's well again soon, so there's no more need for this.


              • #8
                Could you get special dispensation to go to the barn at 9 and stay till 11?

                That way she can get her meal at 7 then you can feed her at 9 and 11 and set her up with her meal that lasts 2 hrs which would get her to about 1am. Then she only is waiting 6 hrs unstead of 12.


                • #9
                  I've never used one so I'm not sure if it would slow her down or just eliminate her ability to eat hay all together, but maybe try a grazing muzzle in the stall? If she goes through two small hole hay nets in 2 hours she is quite the fast eater!

                  I read in another shavings-eating thread that someone recommended the pelleted bedding instead of shavings... maybe she won't eat that?

                  My gelding ate his manure when he was fasted for a scoping, with no shavings or hay in his stall overnight, he found something else to munch on!
                  "And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse..." ~Revelation 19:11


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by SCMSL View Post
                    The hay nets we have around the bucket are small holed. She can't eat any more hay than she's already eating, so its a matter of slowing her down.

                    There really isn't any barn I know that will feed one specific horse every two hours during the night. They have been great just by doing it during the day...
                    Put one small holed net inside another to make it ultra small.
                    McDowell Racing Stables

                    Home Away From Home


                    • #11
                      The grazing muzzle suggestion is a good one. We had one hoover in the field that would NEVER leave the round bale. He would have been a champion in the who can eat the most the fastest competitions. We turned him out with the grazing muzzle and it did the trick. He could still eat hay, but not huge mouthfuls.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Laurierace View Post
                        Put one small holed net inside another to make it ultra small.
                        This. I don't see how she could go through this in just a few hours.
                        You know why cowboys don't like Appaloosas?" - Answer: Because to train a horse, you have to be smarter than it is.


                        • #13
                          Hhuumm I wonder how long it would take a 5 gal frozen block of mash or hay pellets to thaw out? Hanging it in a net should keep her from chewing at it before it has melted.

                          There is always the expensive automated feeder that delivers a pound of hay pellets.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by joiedevie99 View Post
                            Two small hole hay-nets? Or move to a new barn?
                            I think changing barns because someone won't go out to feed your horse every two hours through the night is crazy. I don't know what her medical problem is and why she is so restricted in her hay consumption? I would never ask anyone to get up every two hours to feed my horse. Set up a cot in the barn and take care of it yourself if it must be that way. How long will you have to do it like this?


                            • Original Poster

                              I did order two very small holed hay nets that should arrive somewhere next week. I ordered two because if I one's not enough, I can still add the other.

                              She has both ulcers and colitis, which means she should always have something in her stomach, but her daily intake can't be more than a few pounds as it leads to very serious colics.

                              I obviously won't change barns because of it! This situation has to go on for at least 6 more weeks, and I have stayed there in those nights I think she's not doing so good just to monitor her, but I don't have it in me to do it every single day for 1 1/2 months, I have a full time job I have to be at in the morning.

                              The muzzle idea probably wouldn't work because it would probably make it more stressful for her?

                              I have asked for night time turnout but I was denied, the paddocks can't hold a horse for more than a couple of hours daily. There is no grass because of the drought and there are other users that want to use it too.

                              The ice idea sounds really nice, but do you think it would hurt her stomach?


                              • #16
                                If you put one inside the other, provided it truly is a small holed net like a nibble net, even a small amount of hay will last all night.
                                McDowell Racing Stables

                                Home Away From Home


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by SCMSL View Post
                                  The ice idea sounds really nice, but do you think it would hurt her stomach?
                                  I think the key would be setting it up so that the horse could only eat the melted mash. Not really stand and chew on a frozen block. Not that I think that nibbling on a mash icle would hurt them, but the idea is a fairly continuous slow feeding system and not chowing down on a mash sno cone so to speak. I know my hogs would dive into a frozen block of mash like crazy on a hot summer day.

                                  Long ago I had a colic surgery (client horse) that I had to get up every 2 hrs and feed for 2 wks. NOT FUN! After chatting with fivehorses and just barely getting an idea of what her horse is going thru...well it is obvious there is a need for wet feed system that can provide hourly meals. But cost/design of such a system would be problematic. In warm weather anything not consumed fairly fast could ferment. In cold weather freeze/thaw of wet mashes and water is an issue. Timing a wet flow system and even more things to think about! All issues are easy to resolve via design.....at great cost! Who has much $$$$ after expensive vet bills whether it is ulcers, colic surgery, and gastric impactions.

                                  But a feeder that allows the flow of melted mash and the only mechanics needed being gravity. That one I think I could design affordably. Been thinking about this one for some time. I am going to chat with the person that fab'ed my oat crimper and get his practical input.