Horse feeding help! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 07-16-2012, 10:37 PM Thread Starter
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Smile Horse feeding help!

I'm about to buy my first horse and I would have to board it for a while! I'm looking at a place where I would have it stay in a pasture and you have to feed it. I was wondering if you would need to feed it hay or grain everyday? If its in a pasture could she eat grass? I would be able to feed her hay a few times a week but not sure I'd I could go out everyday to feed her! Thanks for your help! :)
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post #2 of 7 Old 07-16-2012, 11:46 PM
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Well first off, congratulations on the prospect of buying your first horse.

I have a few questions for you:
How big is the paddock?
With other horses?
Have you looked at the place yet?
What climate do you live in?

Unless the paddock is huge, it will dry out. And you will have to feed her hay.

And you will have to feed her everyday, at relatively the same time. Probably twice a day.
I would look for a place to keep her that will at least feed hay.

You do not have to feed her grain, if she can maintain her weight on hay alone.

What breed is she? Most horses go through 15-20lbs of hay a day.

I would strongly recommend you find somewhere else that will feed atleast hay.

mselizabeth is offline  
post #3 of 7 Old 07-17-2012, 12:05 AM
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Welcome to the forum, and how exciting to be looking to get your first horse!

Horses need to eat 1-2% of their bodyweight in feed per day, and at least half of that should be hay or pasture to keep their gut in good order. However in some places, such as here in Australia, pasture hay and grass has very low nutritional value due to the nature of our soil, so I also feed (or fed, while I was setting my horse's feed plan) mineral supplements, alfalfa and oaten chaff, rice bran and oil. He couldn't get by on just grass, even if he was getting more than enough (such as in the wet autumn we just had) it wouldn't be ticking all the nutrition boxes. So it is quite dependent on the quality of the pasture, the number of acres per animal and weather.

Another thing to consider is the horse itself. Some horses are "good keepers", some horses are "hard keepers". Thoroughbreds are generally hard keepers, ponies good keepers, but this isn't a hard and fast rule and they all still need minerals such as calcium and magnesium to keep them in working order.

Thirdly, it matters how much work you plan to have him do and what type. Most of us don't really go past light-medium work, but if he's going to be competing cross-country, for example, he will need a higher-energy diet than if he's taken out for a hack a few times a week.

I strongly recommend that you check the place out before you consider sending your (soon-to-be) horse there. Look at the condition of the animals. Are they ribby or well-fed? Do their hooves look in good condition? Do they bear a lot of pasture scars (might be overcrowded contributing to more fighting, or fencing may not be safe)? Do their coats look healthy? Does the place generally seem professional?

Most decent agistment places offer feeding services (for extra charge) and will do 2 feeds a day (morning and evening). They may also do rugging, organise the farrier and dentist visits, and do worming and vaccinations. I would seriously consider getting third party/public liability insurance to protect you in case your horse breaks a fence or hurts someone - it doesn't usually cost very much (mine costs $140 a year) and is very handy to have.

And wherever you go, make sure you have a contract that clearly states the conditions of the agistment! We've had some horror stories on here from people who didn't have contracts (some ended happily but it's not always the case).

Best of luck in the hunt for your horse, and his/her new home!
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post #4 of 7 Old 07-17-2012, 07:43 AM Thread Starter
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I live in ky and would im getting a saddlebred! I'm just going to ride some trails most likely! I would absolutely prefer to find a boarding place that feeds they are just expensisve! And I was hoping to most days feed her and days I couldn't go out let her eat grass! But I think i might just find a full care place:) thanks eveyone!
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post #5 of 7 Old 07-17-2012, 07:57 AM
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Originally Posted by katiebeth1118 View Post
I live in ky and would im getting a saddlebred! I'm just going to ride some trails most likely! I would absolutely prefer to find a boarding place that feeds they are just expensisve! And I was hoping to most days feed her and days I couldn't go out let her eat grass! But I think i might just find a full care place:) thanks eveyone!
Full care is less bother, and sometimes less expensive than buying your own feed as the agistment place can buy in bulk. Also, horses need a regular daily diet or they risk colicking - a little extra here and there is fine but fresh grass one day, dry and hard feed another isn't very good for the gut.

I have sitting on my shelf at home, I found it an excellent guide to horse nutrition. And while we're at it, has been an invaluable reference for me as far as horse health goes (I got it when I was 12, have read it cover-to-cover a few times).

Surround yourself with good books and people with years of experience and wisdom, you can still go wrong but without them you could go a whole lot wronger
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post #6 of 7 Old 07-17-2012, 08:59 AM
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Full care boarding is probably the best way to go as a first time owner. Especially if you may not have time.
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post #7 of 7 Old 07-17-2012, 03:00 PM
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I agree full care is the best way to go for a first time horse owner (or any horse owner that can't be there to feed/check on the horse daily). It can be pricey, but is well worth it IME.

If the pasture is large enough, you may be able to get by without supplementing hay in the summer, but you will almost certainly need to feed hay in the winter. It's also a good idea to feed a multi-vitamin (SmartPak SmartVites are very good) or a ration balancer. Both of those are fed in small amounts that don't need to be broken up into two or more meals. Keep an eye on your horse and watch to see if she starts losing weight- if she does then you will need to feed her more calories (from beet pulp, rice bran, grain, or similar). Taking measurements with a measuring tape and/or taking photos at regular intervals can help you determine if she's losing weight, since it can be hard to see small changes over time.

You can also put hay out in a small mesh hay net to make it last between visits. A set up like this one would last a horse several days:

(That's a Freedom Feeder Bale Net)

Be sure to ask the seller what the horse is eating now, as that can clue you in as to whether she is a hard keeper, easy keeper, or somewhere in between.
verona1016 is offline  

boarding , feed , new horse owner , pasture

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