Before I read Beau's lifestyle before you rescued him, my first thought was I wondered if he was in a small turnout with other horses and wasn't allowed to eat?
Seein' as how I was right - lollol IMHO, Beau was literally being starved to death by the stallion.
Beau kept fighting back because he isn't a horse to give up (I have one that would have just given up and died before you got there) but in the Wilds, it's survival of the fittest and strongest - it's ugly in the real live world of animals when there's "20 of them" and only enough food for 10.
Given all that, I'm not sure Beau ever will get over his aggressive tendencies. He might mellow out with a lot of patience on your part and a lot of new trust on his part BUT, his ancient gene pool of "survival of the fittest" will probably always prevail and never let him get completely over the horrors he experienced before you came into in his life.
I would honest-to-gosh not
feed him in that slow feeder. It is way too stressful for him. And you bet the vet should be worried about more choke issues.
Did he explain if a horse goes into serious choke and aspirates the fluid into their lungs that infection can set in and kill the horse? That happened to a lady's horse on my local forum a few years back. It was a nightmare for everyone on our little forum.
The more times Beau chokes, the more chances he has of building up scar tissue, making the next episode worse.
So again, I would let Jared try to hand feed him and see what happens but you feed Epona while Beau is getting his first round of feed from Jared.
Just an FYI, when I had to board my horses for a short time, years ago, the Barn Owner psychoanalyzed each and every horse that came into her barn.
That was back in the early 90's and she did that so she'd know who was compatible and who wasn't. By golly isn't it something that very wise woman NEVER had any incidents where one horse hurt another?
Beau is trying to say he is terrified someone will either steal his food or will make him go hungry and he will then die; he's not ready to die or you wouldn't have found him in the tear-jerking condition he was in. As I already said, I have a horse that would've just given up and allowed himself to be stomped to death by that stallion.
Beau can't speak in our voice, this acting out is the only way he knows to communicate his fears. Boy there's a lot more I could say on this subject, but there's already Naysayers commenting, so I won't. If you're interested PM me - lollol
At any rate, please humor me just once and let Jared hand feed Beau to see how that goes. If you don't have a deep-well feed pan, do you have a huge plastic
mixing bowl at the house that you could put part of the feed into and let Jared hold it while Beau eats?
I at least think breaking all that feed into two or three sessions might help. Somehow I'm now suspicious that Beau might find all that feed so overwhelming that he wants to gorge himself with all of it at once so another horse can take it from him.
It doesn't matter that there aren't any other horses making eye contact with him, it wouldn't matter if there wasn't another horse on the property; it's what's going on in his head.
To make a human analogy, I am 64, my husband is 63 and he STILL has some food and "food collecting" issues that stem from his very very poor childhood. I was raised dirt poor on a dairy farm but always had plenty of food. He was raised dirt poor in a filthy apartment above a bakery and never had enough to eat. The difference in how we both look at a nearly empty refrigerator is just astonishing.
Another FYI, I once rescued a Rottweiler puppy that had been starved so bad by the Loser Breeder that his growth was stunted. Odin was of superior intelligence, sweet and loving and would stick his tongue out at anyone when I asked him to. However, do NOT put my hand near his food bowl after I set it down because he would growl. He never once tried to bite me but something in his head never let him get over the fact that he had been starved so bad that at 12 weeks old he looked like a 6 week old pup
I've rescued more than one starving dog but Odin was the one I could never get over the hunger fear - maybe because he was still a puppy when it happened.
By-the-by where in PA? While I raised on a dairy farm in NE Ohio, I moved to farmlands of the Shenango Valley in my mid-20's. I retired to Middle Tennessee because my arthritis really likes the idea of these milder winters