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Why won't my horse graze??

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  • Why won't my horse graze??

    The mare I lease has developed a strange behavior.

    For the past month or so, when she is turned out in her pasture, she won't graze. She is currently on about four acres with one pony and one other horse, all mares. Obviously at this time of year most of the grass is dead, but there is some green stuff coming up and it's far from a dry lot. The pony will have to be muzzled in the summer. There is a run in with a round bale, which I haven't seen her eat from in awhile, and flakes of hay are also tossed in in the morning.

    Each day when I come to bring her in, she is standing in the same spot near the gate just hanging out. There is PLENTY or room for her to mosey around. In fact, yesterday when I went to bring her in, her herdmates had already been come up for dinner and she was alone in the pasture. Standing in the same spot not grazing WITH THE GATE WIDE OPEN. WTFruitbat? (We have one gate that leads to a runway with another gate at the end, which was closed. Barn worker thought she would save him a trip down the hill and bring herself up to the second gate).

    When I bring her in, she will stop and eat grass or hay that has fallen right on the other side of the fence. Could this literally be a case of "the grass is always greener"?

    I don't know if this is relevant, but she has always been alpha, until recently the little pony mare has taken to running her off the round bale and flakes of hay. Obviously with four acres they should have enough room for her to at least graze and pick at what grass there is.

    She eats hay in her stall like a madwoman, but since she is ulcer prone I started her back on pop rocks with her grain a few weeks ago, and so far so good. The not grazing thing really complicates matters with an ulcer-prone horse!

    The horse is an almost 20 year old TB, hard keeping mare who is coming back into full work after a bout with aspiration pneumonia back in October. Anyone have any suggestions?

  • #2
    Have you checked her teeth?


    • Original Poster

      Originally posted by islgrl View Post
      Have you checked her teeth?
      Yes. She had a dental in January. She will also seemingly eat anywhere else...


      • #4
        Maybe with flakes thrown AND a roundbale, she's just not hungry???
        Charlie Brown (1994 bay TB X gelding)
        White Star (2004 grey TB gelding)

        Mystical Moment, 1977-2010.


        • #5
          Maybe she's been bullied and run off the round bale and hay piles so he/she's afraid to eat any in mixed company. I'd guess this is the problem.
          "There is no fundamental difference between man and animals in their ability to feel pleasure and pain, happiness, and misery." - Charles Darwin


          • #6
            Originally posted by Marla 100 View Post
            Maybe she's been bullied and run off the round bale and hay piles so he/she's afraid to eat any in mixed company. I'd guess this is the problem.
            This is my guess, since she appears hungry when you bring her in.
            Born under a rock and owned by beasts!


            • Original Poster

              Originally posted by Marla 100 View Post
              Maybe she's been bullied and run off the round bale and hay piles so he/she's afraid to eat any in mixed company. I'd guess this is the problem.
              That's what I think, too, but I felt like no one would believe me if I said it out loud. Sigh.

              Turnout options are so limited at our farm, and it took almost a year to get it right, now this. Grumble Grumble Grumble.


              • #8
                Originally posted by Marla 100 View Post
                Maybe she's been bullied and run off the round bale and hay piles so he/she's afraid to eat any in mixed company. I'd guess this is the problem.

                That would be my guess.
                Click here before you buy.


                • #9
                  I have one that waits in the barn all day to come in and eat his grain. He won't go and eat hay or graze. So he ends up losing weight. I find that if I never bring him in to grain him, and only offer him hay and grass he gets fatter, because he is actually outside eating all day.
                  Derby Lyn Farms Website

                  Derby Lyn Farms on Facebook!


                  • Original Poster

                    Okay... so it seems I might have an answer.

                    I was chatting with the owner of the gray pony who runs my horse off the hay, and I told her my theory of Summer not grazing because she's worried to eat anywhere around the pony. She agrees and here's why: Yesterday my horse and the other horse got turned out in the pasture early in the morning. Owner of gray pony had asked our barn help to leave her in, as the vet was coming for vaccines. She turned gray pony out about two hours later than the other two.

                    When she let her go, Summer and the other mare were GRAZING contentedly. Gray pony walks towards my horse, pins her ears, and Summer takes off with her tail flagging straight in the air. Gray pony proceeds to roll in the exact spot Summer was grazing.

                    This whole dynamic shifted when the horse who was out with them before left to live at the trainers, and the herd went from four to three. Luckily she is coming back next week...hopefully the herd shifts back to what it was before so my poor girl can eat in peace.

                    Anyway, I'm glad to know her teeth aren't rotting out of her head or she has some sort of terrible pain that isn't allowing her to drop her head to eat... Though I am embarrassed for her that the 13.1 gray pony mare has been bossing her 17.1 redheaded self around.


                    • #11
                      Haha. Little mares!