Well, the pre vent feeder has slowed his feedings, almost tripled the time it takes him to finish his dinner. BUT, it causes him extreme frustration as he can no longer bolt his grain. He kicked the feed tub last evening, and while eating he paws the ground now, which is a completely new behavior for this horse. He was never a ground pawer. He STILL throws his head while eating, he does not still kick out WHILE eating as he is too busy trying to get every last bit of grain.
So the good news : it does triple the time it takes him to eat
The bad News: it is causing him more stress, not less
Someone asked me why we think Beau is so stressed at feeding time, and it brought up some points I did not mention in my original thread.
Beau's aggression is not only with his grain. It is food in general. When they are outside, he is very posessive of the hay ..... if Epona comes anywhere NEAR his pile, or if she even looks in his direction while he is eating his hay, he will pin his ears at her and sometimes chases her off. How close does she need to get to cause this? NOT CLOSE AT ALL.....even if she is eating from her pile and it's 25 feet away, sometimes he'll just pin ears at her, chase her and try to bite her. During grain time, this aggression amplifies 100 percent as the video shows.... When hand grazing, we must be very careful to keep distance between the two of them, or he will pin his ears and throw his head at her...He even pins ears and throws his head at SHADOWS. Outside when eating hay and inside. My son tested this theory last week. When Beau was facing away from him, eating his hay, he cast a shadow on the wall beside Beau with his hand, but Beau couldnt see HIM as he was behind him and plus he is not aggressive towards humans..... Beau thew his head, pinned his ears when he saw the shadow. And he was only eating his hay at the time.
In summation: his aggression is with all food, even hay. He is not in the least aggressive towards humans and his food. He does not show aggression if we approach or even stick our hand into his grain bucket during feed time, nor does he pin or show aggression if we remove some of the hay from his pile while he is eating it.
It is NOT a human aggression issue....it is a horse issue.
So if I were to psychoanalyze this horse. There are a few conclusions I would come to.
When we bought him, he was starved down to a body score two. This must have been either a total witholding of food or very very little as we bought him when he was only 3 months off the track. To be brought down to a 2 in such short a time seems impossible unless he was not being fed AT ALL.
Here is the timeline: Late October was his last race. His owner sells him to a used horse dealer at some point. We buy him from the used horse dealer in February. The used horse dealer was feeding him some type of stock horse feed, and he was in 24/7 turnout with other geldings and a stallion. He was severely bitten by the stallion as he fought him and would not back down. Fighting for food I imagine. The stallion gave him a horrible beating. He was covered in deep, huge bites, hunks of flesh just gone....most on his neck and shoulders. He looked God awful! We thought that the hair would never regrow on some of the largest bites, but it did. He does not like anyone to rub or groom his neck even now. Perhaps some of the deep bites left nerve damage or something.... Our BO exclaimed "that's the worst beating I ever saw" when he got a look at him.
So the facts are: this horse declined from race fit to a body score 2 in 3 months. At the used horse dealer he was given a grain/corn mix and turned out in a herd with a stallion. He suffered severe injuries from fighting with the stallion and was taken from the herd and put in with the cows to save his life. He spent the rest of his time at the used horse dealer's farm isolated from the herd and was living with cows.
I do not know what the race owner fed him or how he was turned out....and I do not know if his rapid weight decline occured before the used horse dealer bought him or after....
But I do know this, while he is NOW a body score 6 or 6.5 and quite fat for a TB, he requires a precise diet and free choice hay to keep him there. We have worked for a year to find a diet that would put weight on him and keep it on. Our vet is quite pleased with his weight and his diet, so we have done well. However, his QH diet and 24/7 winter turnout at the used horse dealer wasn't going to satisfy his high metabolism....
Anyhow, Beau suffered a serious and rapid decline in weight in three short months....he also suffered serious injuries from fighting with the stallion...for food or dominance I cannot say....