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I'm about to lose my mind!!!

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  • I'm about to lose my mind!!!

    Let me preface this saying that I've been doing my best to be an educational horseperson....to embrace the green humans and educate them on the equines I love...however, this is the final straw.

    DH and I own a coming 2y/o mini horse. I searched high and low for one with good breeding and a good mind....and so, then a weanling, Oliver came into the picture.
    I planned to let him grow up and then eventually teach him how to drive. (He's currently ground driving like a champ btw!)
    Anyways, as some of you already know, DH and I live next door to his family's farm....the 90 some acres all belongs to his grandpa....nothing much lives on it now aside from some chickens and turkeys and of course Oliver....He has a stall in the barn with a run off his stall. He can go in and out as he pleases and has happily lived there for almost a year and a half.

    DH's grandpa doesn't have much to do with the property and barn anymore aside from owning it and feeding the stray cats that accumulate in the barn which normally happens around 5:30am.

    Now, Oliver being a mini and very fine boned is on a pretty strict diet....He gets 2 small flakes of hay a day in the winter and no grain.....I had grained him in the summer and cut back his hay a bit to make him lose his hay belly but in the winter I don't care if he gets a little round. Aside from that, he gets NOTHING else. No extra hay, no grain right now, and almost never gets treats, although I have a container of them outside his stall that he gets on very special occassions.

    I typically go out to the barn around 7:30am....I work mostly afternoons and nights to am not awake at the crack of dawn.

    Recently, Grandpa has been going in Oliver's stall to check on him as it's been below freezing and his water sometimes freezes...okay cool. I didn't ask, but if that's something he wants to do, that's fine.

    So then, shortly after the water checking starts, I start notice my bales of hay are only last 2-3 days instead of a week...there's also some hay that is getting soiled in the stall and I'm having to throw it out. So I ask Grandpa if he's been feeding him. "Yes," he says, "whenever I go in his stall he never has a drop of food, you're STARVING him!"

    I try at length to explain to him that Oliver is not starving. He only gets a flake of hay at night and by morning he's probably finished it up....it's okay for him to be out of hay for a few hours...if he ate constantly, he'd be the size of a balloon. He still insists that he needs to eat at 5:30 and that 7:30 is much to late for an animal to eat breakfast.
    Okay, the man is 73y/o....I'm not arguing with him. I tell him, in the morning, when you come down, you can feed him ONE flake of hay...I'll set it out every night and that's all he gets.
    Okay, everyone seems to understand. Life is good.

    A week or so later I notice my barrel of feed (from the summer no less) is opened when I go down in the morning and the feed scoop is inside.

    I ask, "Have you been feeding Oliver grain?"

    He says, "Yes! You're STARVING him! He won't let me out of the stall in the morning until I've given him grain.
    I'm sure that the 30" mini pins you in the corner and won't let you leave until you grain him.

    My main concern at this point was whether the grain was moldy or not. He eats Purina Mini Horse and Pony grain and it's a sweet feed.

    Luckily, it was not...so again, in an effort to compromise I say, okay, you can give Oliver a SPRINKLE of grain in the morning....and I show him how much I mean by a sprinkle.

    He agrees.

    Okay, crisis avoided again.

    Yesteray morning I walk into the barn early..about 6am, and look in his grain bucket which is in all actuality a 2 quart tub....it's 3/4 of the way full and Oliver is happily munching....I kid you not.

    So I lost it...freaked out in the empty barn. I took the bag of grain and put it in my car....figured if the temptation wasn't there..he couldn't possibly feed him....DH also has conversation with him and says, we took the grain, he doesn't need it. Grandpa is cranky but says okay.

    This morning I go to the barn and the tub of treats that are setting outside his stall, previously only missing maybe a third of the treats from a 3lb tub, is empty......I wish I was joking, because I am not....no, nothing got into it....we don't have to much as a mouse in our barn and it was a tub with a sealing lid.....I also found remnents of treats in his stall...three in his water bucket, a few on the ground. etc.

    I'm literally at my wits end. What else can I do? I've explained about the dangers of laminitis and colic. About how he is very small and needs to be fed accordingly, etc. He blatently ignores me and I'm scared for this little guy's health.

    I've taken all treats and forms on food out of the barn but I'm just waiting for him to do something stupid like feed him chicken feed or something.

    Any and all advice would be MUCH appreciated.

  • #2
    At this point, the only option you really have is to move Oliver somewhere else if you don't want him dead from 'kindness'.
    Homeopathy claims water can cure you since it once held medicine. That's like saying you can get sustenance from an empty plate because it once held food.


    • #3
      Move your pony off his property. He is old and wants to do it his way. He is trying to help.


      • #4
        Put up a stall and run in your backyard? That's about all you can do when you've told someone a zillion times and they keep finding a way around it...he thinks the horse needs fed, he's gonna feed the horse.......


        • #5
          The only solution that I can see other than moving him somewhere else is to lock up the food or only leave enough for the next feeding......
          RIP Sucha Smooth Whiskey
          May 17,2004 - March 29, 2010
          RIP San Lena Peppy
          May 3, 1991 - March 11, 2010


          • #6
            I suspect Grandpa is losing it a bit, and really likes Oliver. Can you leave him a baggy with some grain and a treat every night?


            • #7
              What would I do?

              Remove all grain and treats from the barn.

              Then I would feed Oliver in a nibble net, or some other kind of slow feeder. I know it is really important to not over feed a mini, but they ARE grazing animals just like full sized horses, and their systems are designed to eat little and often, not to scarf down meals quickly, then sit around with an acid stomach for hours.

              So my suggestion would be a slow feeder! Maybe two nibble nets over the hay as I am sure little Oliver has an (cute!) and tiny nose. That way when grandpa comes out, Oliver won’t be quite so “starving” and might even have a little hay left in front of him.
              APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman


              • #8
                May I predict the next installment?

                Grandpa will buy his own bag of grain and hide it from YOU.

                Just a heads up.


                • #9
                  Can you give Grandpa a different "job"? Like "Hey, little O really loves walks and I don't always have time. He really likes them though." or "The vet said that O has to be on a special diet so he doesn't get sick, can you help me stay on top of that?"

                  I had neighbors like this. It became very expensive because some of the things they fed my dog made him sick. Thousands of dollars sick. Until I presented them with a 3k vet bill and told them that if it happened again, it was on them? Nothing changed. After that, they agreed to only feed my dog carrots which I provided. Not going to help in YOUR situation though. Mini needs nothing, not something. Not sure what you could offer....
                  A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                  Might be a reason, never an excuse...


                  • #10
                    Get Grampa his own mini! I am in PA and have an already fat mini that needs a new home. He's free. There's no way Gramps would ever think Charlie was starving.

                    Oh, and he drives too.


                    • #11
                      Can you have the vet talk to grandpa? Preferably one that he knows and respects?


                      • #12
                        Explain founder to him. Complete with graphic pictures. Pictures should do the trick. Tell him he is going to kill your mini.

                        And buy some diet feed/chopped forage for your mini.

                        And you need the other mini that another poster has offered you!


                        • #13
                          Move the mini before Grandpa founders him out of loooove.

                          Grandpa has made his position clear: You're STARVING the poor critter, so he must step in and save him.

                          You can either bow down to his "superior" wisdom or remove all opportunity for him to feed the mini - by removing the mini. Removing the food won't help, he'll go buy something to feed him.


                          • #14
                            Let Grandpa feed Oliver. You measure out the hay and (nominal) grain and let Gramps be the one to feed it to him. Oliver gets fed, Gramps is the good guy in Oliver's eyes, and you don't have to worry as much.



                            • #15
                              COTH's official mini-donk enabler

                              "I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl


                              • #16
                                I agree with StGermain. Let Grandpa feed the mini. Older folks need to feel useful and what grown man can refuse a mini who is convinced that he really is starving, lol! Just measure out the hay and a baggie of treats. I don't think there's a need to play hard ball here.
                                One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well. - Virginia Woolf


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by StGermain View Post
                                  Let Grandpa feed Oliver. You measure out the hay and (nominal) grain and let Gramps be the one to feed it to him. Oliver gets fed, Gramps is the good guy in Oliver's eyes, and you don't have to worry as much.

                                  Been tried and failed.


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by StGermain View Post
                                    Let Grandpa feed Oliver. You measure out the hay and (nominal) grain and let Gramps be the one to feed it to him. Oliver gets fed, Gramps is the good guy in Oliver's eyes, and you don't have to worry as much.

                                    I disagree. OP gave in on letting gramps give him breakfast hay, he moved on to feeding grain. She let him feed a bit of grain, he feeds a tub. She took the grain, he feeds ALL THE TREATS.

                                    He's going to start getting his own feed/treats for the mini and overfeed again if he's allowed to feed but the amount is controlled.
                                    Proud Member Of The Lady Mafia


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Appsolute View Post
                                      What would I do?

                                      Remove all grain and treats from the barn.

                                      Then I would feed Oliver in a nibble net, or some other kind of slow feeder. I know it is really important to not over feed a mini, but they ARE grazing animals just like full sized horses, and their systems are designed to eat little and often, not to scarf down meals quickly, then sit around with an acid stomach for hours.

                                      So my suggestion would be a slow feeder! Maybe two nibble nets over the hay as I am sure little Oliver has an (cute!) and tiny nose. That way when grandpa comes out, Oliver won’t be quite so “starving” and might even have a little hay left in front of him.
                                      I agree with Appsolute. It actually IS better for them to have forage in front of them constantly than go without a few hours if it's at all avoidable (helps prevent colic and ulcers, for a start.) Hide the treats and grain and make sure he's got hay that he can't scarf all at once. Let Grandpa think he convinced you to stop "starving" him when you're still feeding the same amount.
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                                      • #20
                                        Get Grandpa a hard keeping OTTB that needs to be a pasture puff. He can shovel food at him constantly, just to maintain his weight.