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Ok to let a horse eat after a workout?

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  • Ok to let a horse eat after a workout?

    Obviously I know that a horse should be cooled out thoroughly before being put up. But my question is, is it OK to let them eat and drink after a workout, after being cooled out? Meaning they are NOT blowing, but may have some sweat on them. Or do you have to wait longer? Please don't flame me for this, I'm trying to learn something here. Thanks.
    I saw the angel in the marble and I set him free. - Michaelangelo

  • #2
    Geez, if I didn't let my guys eat after they were worked they would never eat dinner! I routinely pull them away from their dinner, work them, and then put them back to finish.

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    • #3
      I was taught to give them more time than that. I usually cool out, bathe or groom or whatever I'm going to do, and give them another 10-15 minutes with some hay before I give grain. So a total of 20 - 30 minutes after cooling out.

      Also I do not feed grain within half an hour before working them. (A few bites to make them think they were fed is one thing, I mean a whole meal.)
      "You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed." - The Little Prince

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      • #4
        Both are ok if you are past that huffing and puffing stage. But the eating is best limited to forage and fiber type feeds. Meaning right after a workout is not too great a time to throw a scoop of grain at them.

        Tho I boarded a water inhaler years ago. He would be clowning around on pasture with his buddies and drink the tank dry. Then he would walk away acting like he was cramping. So for him after a workout a few sips, then afew more, then afew more and not unlimited access to water for 30 minutes or so. But most horses are not so stupid to drink themselves until they feel sick....well this guy was stupid....really, really stupid.

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        • #5
          I used to do that all the time when I share-boarded on a gelding. The owner would measure out his dinner and leave it in the locked feed room. I'd ride in the evening and once he was cool & calm (after untacking, groom, etc.) I'd feed him right before I left for the night.
          <>< 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.

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          • #6
            FYI, on 25-50-100 mile rides, endurance riders typically do trail loops of 10-20 miles, mostly at a steady trot, and then bring their horses into a vet-check stop. A fit horse typically pulses down to normal within minutes and then spends about 10 minutes being vet-checked before going to a crew area where they're fed. Usually hay and/or soaked beet pulp or similar, not a heavy load of dry grain. I like the soaked beet pulp because hydration is even more important than the feeding. Most vet holds are a total of 30-60 minutes and then it's back out onto the trail for the next loop. So yes, you can feed your horse pretty quickly after tough exercise - but, like the the distance riders, opt for something soaked to be safe. (Start it soaking before you leave for your ride.)
            It's just grass and water till it hits the ground.

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            • #7
              When I used to "hot walk" TBs on the track, the trainer asked us to let them have 3-5 sips every two to three turns. We didnt let them just drink the bucket dry like they wanted to. D Taylor's note reminds me of this. My OTTB tends to be a water inhaler too, so I am cautious to introduce it slowly into his system to avoid cramping up.
              "I am still under the impression there is nothing alive quite so beautiful
              as a thoroughbred horse."

              -JOHN GALSWORTHY

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              • #8
                I usually untack and wait a little until they are breathing normally, then let them eat hay. I don't feed grain for about 20-30 minutes after working them. I've never had a problem this way.
                http://www.youtube.com/user/NBChoice http://nbchoice.blogspot.com/
                The New Banner's Choice- 1994 ASB Mare
                Dennis The Menace Too- 1999 ASB Gelding
                Dreamacres Sublime- 2008 ASB Gelding

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                • #9
                  what NB choice said.

                  Mine gets a handful of grain to make her think she is eating & grass hay, so I don't wait a half hour for her if she is cooled down, but if I had a horse eating a huge bucket-o-grain I would.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by SaratogaTB View Post
                    When I used to "hot walk" TBs on the track, the trainer asked us to let them have 3-5 sips every two to three turns. We didnt let them just drink the bucket dry like they wanted to. D Taylor's note reminds me of this. My OTTB tends to be a water inhaler too, so I am cautious to introduce it slowly into his system to avoid cramping up.
                    This may be the way it was (and may still be) taught on the racetrack, but the research done in preparation for and during the Atlanta Olympics has told us pretty clearly that water need NEVER be stinted or withheld from horses. Horses generally do not "cramp up" from drinking water. Don't ever withhold it unless THAT individual has clearly had problems. Feed in reasonable amounts can be given after they've cooled down from a workout.
                    Click here before you buy.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                      This may be the way it was (and may still be) taught on the racetrack, but the research done in preparation for and during the Atlanta Olympics has told us pretty clearly that water need NEVER be stinted or withheld from horses. Horses generally do not "cramp up" from drinking water. Don't ever withhold it unless THAT individual has clearly had problems. Feed in reasonable amounts can be given after they've cooled down from a workout.
                      Well, in our shedrow we don't withhold water after the STB train or race. As soon as the bridle comes off, they get as much cold water as they want, regardless of the fact that our stall cleaner insists they must have at least tepid water or "their guts will cramp up". She's been told in no uncertain terms hot water is not to go in their buckets! Funny we haven't had a problem with cramping guts yet in the over 5 years I've been with this stable.
                      ~~Some days are a total waste of makeup.~~

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                      • #12
                        Well, I hot walked a long time ago so it's good to hear there is research to the contrary now. Agree that it makes sense to limit only if a certain horse has shown to have an issue.
                        "I am still under the impression there is nothing alive quite so beautiful
                        as a thoroughbred horse."

                        -JOHN GALSWORTHY

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                        • #13
                          On the harness track, hot-walking is almost unheard of.Horse goes out, does what it is supposed to. is brought back in, unharnessed, bathed, back to the stall, allowed to roll, a cooler thrown on, and hay given. If the horse isn't terribly thirsty, half a pail of water is left and for one that acts really thirsty, 10 swallows of water every 10-15 minutes. Some really embraced the research from Atlanta and now use much cooler water for bathing and no longer water the horses out the same way, just let the horse drink as it wants. Only thing that didn't change is no grain until at least an hour after a race.
                          Founder of the Dyslexic Clique. Dyslexics of the world - UNTIE!!

                          Member: Incredible Invisbles

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                          • #14
                            Racetrack dogma is the best and most colorful kind. And the hardest to de-dogmatize. I used to get scolded if the water was too hot, too cold, or on too full from the hose since any of the above would make the horse colic and die on the spot, according to the one assistant assistant assistant trainer who used to cover on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. She was the same person who insisted I let one of the rank colts feel free to bite me (or anyone else unlucky enough to have to mess with him) on race days since it "got him fired up". Owww, right in the tummy once or twice, and GOD HELP ME when I slapped his face!
                            Click here before you buy.

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                            • #15
                              oh, jeez, deltawave!!! It's bad when they spew crap like that. I worked briefly (both breeds spring training at the same track) for the running horse man next barn over from me; would start after I finished my own stalls and feeding and had to wat to after dinner (lunch to you guys) to jog/train mine. This man told me in no uncertain terms that I was picking the feet wrong by working around the horse, was supposed to yard the offside legs under the horses' bellies. He was really pissed off when he found that his favourite filly learned a 'trick' - that being picking up her own feet as I worked around her with the hoofpick. Apparently, teaching them manners, even inadvertently, would ruin them as racehorses - they HAD to remain ill-mannered, basically unbroke (and extremely dangerous) to make a racehorse. What little contact I had with running horses was pretty much limited to a couple of local good old boys who had the attitude 'if they ain't broke, they aint no good'. One took it a step farther and broke every single horse to harness - his reasoning was two-fold: they HAD to be able to pull their own shit out of the barn and it just made them pay attention in general. Interestingly, in light of the general views around here which are all in the court of the guy I worked for, these other two guys had to fight riders off with a stick and turned out a suprising percentage of money earners compared to other stables of comparable size and stock quality.
                              Founder of the Dyslexic Clique. Dyslexics of the world - UNTIE!!

                              Member: Incredible Invisbles

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                              • #16
                                After cross country, my horse is offered water as soon as we get to it. I don't limit him if he's interested (he usually is). I never limit my water intake, so why should I limit his?

                                As for hay or grass, he can pick at it if he wants while he is untacked and washed off (if I'm walking him, we do walk, not graze!). At home, after a ride, I'll let him eat grain as long as he is not hot and blowing.

                                So far, so good.
                                Amanda

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                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                                  This may be the way it was (and may still be) taught on the racetrack, but the research done in preparation for and during the Atlanta Olympics has told us pretty clearly that water need NEVER be stinted or withheld from horses. Horses generally do not "cramp up" from drinking water. Don't ever withhold it unless THAT individual has clearly had problems. Feed in reasonable amounts can be given after they've cooled down from a workout.
                                  Worth repeating since so many seem to think it's ok to withhold water from a thirsty horse. I also wanted to add that it is NOT a case of "better safe than sorry" -- since horses will drink more water right away when they need to -- and will drink less overall if you give "a few sips" here or there.
                                  Jigga:
                                  Why must you chastise my brilliant idea with facts and logic? **picks up toys (and wine) and goes home**

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                                  • #18
                                    I've always read that your suppose to wait an hour before and after exercise to feed. When I first get to my barn it usually takes me an hour to get all my chores done before riding so I feed first. (Thats when I get there in ther evening)

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                                    • #19
                                      A lot of that is the same conventional wisdom that made our moms say "you'll get a CRAMP if you go swimming after you eat!". Perhaps a very large meal + a very, very unfit individual doing very hard physical work might be a recipe for problems, but the average animal doing moderate work after a moderate-sized meal is probably A-OK.
                                      Click here before you buy.

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                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                                        This may be the way it was (and may still be) taught on the racetrack, but the research done in preparation for and during the Atlanta Olympics has told us pretty clearly that water need NEVER be stinted or withheld from horses. Horses generally do not "cramp up" from drinking water. Don't ever withhold it unless THAT individual has clearly had problems. Feed in reasonable amounts can be given after they've cooled down from a workout.
                                        Thank you for posting this.

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