Get Colic? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 02-10-2010, 02:21 AM Thread Starter
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Get Colic?

So I was wondering, my riding instructor yells at us if we let the horses graze while we are sitting on them and lining up to do something, etc. I went on a camp at the end of the year and they encouraged us to let the horses eat when we weren't moving and I have a friend who also lets her horse graze while sitting in the saddle and talking to people.
My riding instructor told us that horses get colic if they eat grass and then are ridden and I was wondering if it's true. Anyone have any idea?

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post #2 of 14 Old 02-10-2010, 02:26 AM
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I highly doubt a little bit of grass is going to hurt them...

That being said.
If I'm leading,riding,or lunging my horse, letting them put their heads down to eat is a big NO.
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post #3 of 14 Old 02-10-2010, 02:27 AM
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I think it is possible. That doesn't necessarily mean that it is always true. Some horses are more prone to colic and depending on what they are accustomed to eating, sometimes fresh green grass can trigger a bout of it. It all really depends on the little variables for each horse. Most horses won't colic from eating grass and then being ridden but it can happen. When we have are shipping and receiving cattle in the summer, we will work in the morning and then turn our horses loose to graze on the nearby grass, then work them in the afternoon. The last bout of colic that we went through was many years ago when we were still feeding grain. To me, letting a horse eat when you are in the saddle is more of a training issue. Horses can't distinguish when it is okay to eat and when it isn't unless you are very clear. Saddle+bridle=not okay to eat at my house. If I allow them to eat when I am riding, then they will be more interested in finding that next bite of grass than listening to me.

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post #4 of 14 Old 02-10-2010, 02:27 AM
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So, are they not meant to eat before you take them in for a ride? "NO, Poneh...You aren't aloud to eat, stop grazing I said Nuuuu" LOL

I myself have never heard of that. I know you shouldn't let them have big meals before a hard work out, but just grazing should be okay.

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post #5 of 14 Old 02-10-2010, 02:35 AM Thread Starter
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Yer, well I don't really put too much faith into my instructors words as technically she's not an instructor and because she cheated in the gymkhana so that her daughter would win which makes me very sad for my friend who has been the one to actually win the event and was about to get her first ever 1st ribbon, but lost it to the instructors daughter :(

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post #6 of 14 Old 02-10-2010, 02:51 AM
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I think if you let a horse graze a lot, it could upset their stomach a bit but no it will not make them colic (they don't "get colic", colic is the verb). There are lots of good reasons not to let your ponies graze, but that is either something she is misinformed about or is telling you because she hopes it will scare you into listening.
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post #7 of 14 Old 02-10-2010, 03:00 AM Thread Starter
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Ok, thankyou. It was confusing because I don't mind letting a horse graze once every now and then but she started yelling at me like I had fed the horse poison. :( I wish I could join another pony club.

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post #8 of 14 Old 02-10-2010, 10:24 AM
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Me an my friends go out on long trail rides. we start at one end an go to the other end of the trail. We take a break an let the horses graze while we eat a snack then we mount up an head back the way we came. we dont take an easy pace either. I ride with a group of walkers so my arab mare an TB/QH gelding have to maintain a fast trot to keep up. We have never had any of the horses walkers an non walkers alike ever get an upset stomach...and we also put hay bags in the trailer so they get to snack before we ride too.

Now i wouldnt give a horse pounds an pounds of hay an grain before a ride. That really has the potential to cause a horse to colic, but a bit of grazing an a small bit of hay or something wont hurt one so long as they are not prone to colic easy.

As for the whole weather on not to let one graze when under saddle...My gelding is alowed to graze if we are standing still and im talking or something. He has learned that a loosening on the reins and a simple "its ok" mean that he may graze but when i pull up on the reins an say "head up" that means its time to go back to work. He is very smart and learns voice cues very easy.

On the other hand i would never let my arab mare put her head down an graze with me on her. she is far to jumpy an spooky an if something was to get her goat an she already had her head down where she could buck i would be gone in a heart beat...

So my opinion is it depends on the horses personality an trainability for weather on not they can graze under saddle.

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post #9 of 14 Old 02-10-2010, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Tayz View Post
My riding instructor told us that horses get colic if they eat grass and then are ridden and I was wondering if it's true. Anyone have any idea?
No, that is incorrect.

Competitive trail and endurance horses eat grass, leaves, and hay 'during' competition. Food must remain in the gut, along with water, for health to be maintained.

Horses can choke though while trying to eat a mouth full of grass with a bit still in their mouth.

Allowing horses to graze while in tack is generally a training no-no, as many people allow the behavior to get out of hand such that they can't even go on a trail ride w/o the horse reaching for a tree or putting its head down. So, on that basis alone, don't do it.

If you've got enough time to stand around and let your horse munch on grass, then you've got enough time to dismount and take the bridle off and graze the horse properly, or take it back to the trailer and let it munch on some hay between classes or whatever.
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post #10 of 14 Old 02-10-2010, 02:29 PM
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I don't see how it would. At shows I let my horse get sips of water and bites of hay when the tack is off because it is healthier to keep food/water in their system when they are moving to lower the risk of ulcers. However it is better to graze a horse without a bit in its mouth because it is uncomfortable for some horses to chew with a bit on. Like others have said, it is a bad idea to allow a horse to graze whenever he feels like it under saddle as they will then try to reach for grass if they know they can get away with it. Save the grazing for a turn out pasture or in-hand with a halter.

"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are certain and the intelligent are full of doubt"
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