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Dinner time v riding time..or they're all eating ma...

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  • Dinner time v riding time..or they're all eating ma...

    I work full time (and have a DH and 2 kids) and usually only get to ride on Friday afternoons, Saturday and Sundays...I've recently started trying to ride after work (especially b/c we have a show coming up and he needs to be worked just about every day leading up to it), and have found a new problem with my oh so lovey greenie....granted, it's a new schedule for him to be ridden in the evening during the week, and will take getting used to. If I am able to leave work early I can get to the barn in time to ride before feeding time at 6:00, but if I don't leave until 5:00 (or a little before) I can't get there until just around feeding time...I noticed the other night, when I was riding at almost 6:00, he became extremely cranky, and didn't want to work anymore, adamantly, knowing that the others were just about to be or were being fed...so I was just wondering if this is a common thing, if I should just work him through his crankiness and make him understand it's "work" time, or try to acclimate and adjust my time to his regular feeding time to not upset his schedule too much.
    Just wondering also if others have experienced this...

    ETA: It's also very frustrating to do the best I can to get through work, then fight an hour's worth of traffic to get to the barn too late to be able to actually accomplish anything b/c his mind is totally elsewhere....

  • #2
    Oh yes, very common. My gelding would actually colic if the other horses in the barn were fed and he was working at mealtime. One time we had just started, and the barn help started feeding, so I got off, removed his bridle, let him eat his grain, and then finished the ride, just working on walking and suppleing exercises instead of anything strenous.

    I was lucky, during the week the horses were fed early so that the lesson horses would be done an digested and ready for the evening lessons, so most of the time it was not an issue for me.

    Would it be possible to ask the BO to move the evening feed up so that you could ride after they eat? It might be presumptious to ask, but perhaps if you ask nicely? Worst that can happen is they say no.
    There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams

    Comment


    • #3
      I also work full time, and ride after work. And yes, I often interrupt feeding time. They do get cranky, but they do get over it. If you think about it, they might get cranky for other reasons- you are interrupting nap time or thinking time or whatever- before you know it you'd never have the opportunity to ride on their terms!

      The main issue is security that their feed will still be there when they get back to it. Work him through it. Gently but adamantly remind him, as you are redirecting his focus to you, that he's got it pretty darned good, and his accommodating your schedule is a small price to pay.

      Tonight, I worked my 4 yo, with 6 yo turned out, as the hay was being dispensed. Yes, they noticed it was feeding time, and really wished they were there, but patiently (maybe not altogether cheerfully) waited for me to accommodate them. The 6 yo got a bonus of 10 minutes of weed-eating the fresh dandelions en route to his stall, and he was only too happy to do that as long as I would let him.

      I have noticed, that if when I get there they've had as little as 5 minutes to munch on the evening hay, they are happy to go work, secure in the knowledge that no one will steal it while they're gone.

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      • #4
        Mine learn pretty quickly that it doesn't matter what is happening outside the arena - we're working and will continue working even thru everyone getting fed. Remy does get a little more keyed up for a second when he hears grain being dumped, but then goes right back to work. Took a few feedings for him to figure it out, but he did.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Beverley View Post


          I have noticed, that if when I get there they've had as little as 5 minutes to munch on the evening hay, they are happy to go work, secure in the knowledge that no one will steal it while they're gone.
          My observation as well. My mare does get a little fussy when she hears grain being dumped, but then goes right back to work and focuses until I'm done.

          Since I learned that grain on an empty stomach can contribute to colic, I pull out her grain bucket and let her work on the hay while I wipe down and put my stuff away. That gives her 15 minutes to get her juices going. Putting her grain bucket back in her stall is the last thing I do as I leave the barn.

          I've read here that some riders give a small flake of hay (or use a haynet) so horse can have a bit while grooming.

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          • #6
            Most horses get cranky when they are taken away from their dinners that they are waiting for the whole day. Some have their tummies growling for food and too hungry to work. It's quite understandable.

            You can give him a small portion of wet grain/beet pulp/rice bran mixed with carrots/apples, while you are cleaning and saddling him, just to take the edge off and give something for his stomach. Small and soft grain portions will not contribute to colic. Also take treats with you and give as much as a dozen treats during his ride, but make sure that they are soft, not carrots, since he might be so hungry that he can choke on the carrot with a bit.

            The best is not to ride him during his meal time. Give him at least 30 minutes to eat it before riding him. With time horses can develop anger towards riding during feeding time. Very little chance that they will like it, since eating will beat riding any time for them

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            • Original Poster

              #7
              Thanks for the comments..and as far as the feeding, no big deal, my mom is usually in charge of feeding, so if I let her know I'll be there she will hold his off. I think the biggest problem is he is so routine driven, and this is a big change in his routine, it's something we are going to have to work with.
              So maybe not a bad idea if I can't leave work til 5:00, to maybe have her throw him some hay to munch until I get there and then won't be sooo dramatic when we are riding and everyone else is eating?? (of course this is just another excuse for my verrryyy distracted guy to try to not pay attention to me )

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Originally posted by stryder View Post
                My observation as well. My mare does get a little fussy when she hears grain being dumped, but then goes right back to work and focuses until I'm done.

                Since I learned that grain on an empty stomach can contribute to colic, I pull out her grain bucket and let her work on the hay while I wipe down and put my stuff away. That gives her 15 minutes to get her juices going. Putting her grain bucket back in her stall is the last thing I do as I leave the barn.

                I've read here that some riders give a small flake of hay (or use a haynet) so horse can have a bit while grooming.
                An absolute rule since I started riding (like just after I was born) that my mother still reassures (yeah, I'm 36 but she still has to check after me ) that my horse is cooled down before any grain...I usually hose him down and let him dry while I put all tack away before even putting him in his stall...not taking any chances here.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by heatherny2 View Post
                  have her throw him some hay to munch until I get there and then won't be sooo dramatic when we are riding and everyone else is eating??
                  Great idea! I would second the hay bag idea, since you want him to nibble on it only. http://www.rockinmtack.com/ProductDe...HB07BK&click=9 do not put rope bag, since there is too much of a chance that a horse can get their leg stuck in it. Hang hey back high.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by heatherny2 View Post
                    An absolute rule since I started riding (like just after I was born) that my mother still reassures (yeah, I'm 36 but she still has to check after me ) that my horse is cooled down before any grain...I usually hose him down and let him dry while I put all tack away before even putting him in his stall...not taking any chances here.
                    Cool, and with juices flowing. Feed rep told me a few weeks ago that eating hay really gets the saliva flowing, and saliva helps protect the upper intestine. Also, eating hay for 20 minutes or so helps slow down the grain, so the horse can more easily digest it, and gets more nutrients from it.

                    But to your original question, I'd guess it would depend on how long since horse had anything to eat, and how long you ride. At my trainer's barn, horses have so many small meals during the day that leaving food is no big deal. Being ridden is more interesting to them.

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Stryder...yeah, if horses are fed when I am riding, hay will be put in his stall but not grain, so I can put him in cooled down, he can have some hay, but not his grain until the very end before I leave..
                      FYI...Andy gets his breakfast (around 5:30 am), then put out with his morning hay until around 12:00, then brought into his stall for the day, to have his lunch hay...then usually fed around 6:00 pm with his grain and dinner hay..as I said before he is not used to being worked in the evening, as I usually can only get there on Saturday and Sunday mornings, and my mother has been working a lot lately and unable to work him (or give lessons on him like she used to). As I said, this is a new routine as far as me working him in the evenings, and figure it is something he needs to get used to. I hate living/working so far away from where he is, but my mother lives 5 minutes away from there and is able to take care of him daily at no cost to me

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I used to keep my horses at a barn which only fed twice a day. My horses would be pretty grumpy when I showed up to ride them at dinner time, and I really couldn't blame them. I got around the problem by grooming them outside while letting them graze on a patch of grass. Ten minutes of grazing while I brushed them took the edge off the hungry horrors without filling them up so much they got a tummy ache from being worked.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I second what Dressage Art says. I give my gelding a bite or two while I groom, and then I ride. I've also ridden after they've eaten an entire meal - granted, he doesn't get that much and I don't do a hard ride. My gelding gets ridden when I get a chance to ride him, and if that happens to interrupt dinner, so be it. He eats hay and grass all day long - he can wait a half hour for dinner. However, it's usually easier to let him have a few bites, and the remainder after I'm done with my ride.
                          "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison

                          So, the Zen Buddhist says to the hotdog vendor, "Make me one with everything."

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by heatherny2 View Post
                            Thanks for the comments..and as far as the feeding, no big deal, my mom is usually in charge of feeding, so if I let her know I'll be there she will hold his off. I think the biggest problem is he is so routine driven, and this is a big change in his routine, it's something we are going to have to work with.
                            So maybe not a bad idea if I can't leave work til 5:00, to maybe have her throw him some hay to munch until I get there and then won't be sooo dramatic when we are riding and everyone else is eating?? (of course this is just another excuse for my verrryyy distracted guy to try to not pay attention to me )
                            Have her feed him AT 5, maybe, so by the time you ride at 6 he has already eaten and had time to digest? He may still get distracted at first, noticing everyone else getting fed. But you'll know he's not actually hungry, and he'll adapt to the schedule.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              If I get there while she is eating, I give her 15-20 minutes to eat her grain and munch on a little hay before I get her out and start grooming. But if we are riding when the others get fed, sorry Charlie! She's got 168 hours in a week to do as she pleases, and I ask for her attention for about 5 of these. I have no problem making her give it to me. If she chooses to get distracted and snotty about it, her work will be harder. She's no dummy, she knows that the fastest way to be back off the clock is to be as fabulous as possible. I do keep it a little shorter if I know she is hearing the others being fed while we ride, as long as she's behaving. But she doesn't get off easy for being grumpy about missing a meal!

                              Strangely, she won't eat much if I get there when she is being fed. She will eat her handful of grain and grab a few mouthfuls of hay, but she mostly stands around waiting for me to come and get her. She doesn't really chow down until after our ride. I think she just enjoys saving some for an after-work snack

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Token dinner of a small portion of their dinner. They think they've had dinner and behave. Then all the other horses are jealous when they are fed the rest of their dinner when we're done for the night.

                                It's always worked for me.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Our barn feeds twice a day, very early. The morning meal is fed at 6am and the "evening" meal at about 3pm. My mare gets grouchy in the afternoon if I try to ride her around "dinner" time. If I get there to ride before feeding time I give her a handful of hay or cubes to munch on while I tack up so she has something in her stomach. If she has been fed while we are out when we return I tie her up at the other end of her stall for a few minutes then let her eat. The goal is to teach her that she can eat when I say she can, not because she throws a hissy fit.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    What works for me with my 2 at home is I give them both hay, then mix their grain but don't feed - except for perhaps a token handful each.

                                    Then I tack up & ride one while the other munches hay in a stall.
                                    The one ridden is allowed to make a mess of the stacked hay in the aisle while I'm grooming until the bridle goes on.
                                    ( I know...I know...but it seems to make them happy...)

                                    If I'm working both, the first one ridden gets untacked and put back in a stall with hay while the other works. When I'm done with both, they get their grain.
                                    *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                                    Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                                    Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                                    Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

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