Newbie Question about Feeding/Grazing

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Newbie Question about Feeding/Grazing

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  • What feed should i give my horse now she's out of grazing
  • Feeding horses who have no grazing

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  • 1 Post By rascalboy

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    07-14-2012, 01:13 PM
Newbie Question about Feeding/Grazing

Have a new horse and I know NOTHING about feeding horses so if my questions seem less than intelligent, that is why!

Got my mare in early May and into boarding stable. She was a healthy 10-year-old QH mare and vet checked weighed her at 945 pounds. Realized two months in that she was not being fed enough and losing weight. (I trusted these folks and she seemed fine from what I could see at first.) There wasn't much grass at this place so no grazing going on. Was in a stall part-time and small field part-time. Was fed local hay and a bit of alfalfa pellets but not sure how much...and "cheap" horse vitamins. (Didn't realize that part either till later.) her in a new more knowledgeable barn now and she has been there a week. They taped her and she appears to now weigh 850 pounds now. She is in quarantine for a few weeks in large paddock during the day to acclimate her and then she will be turned out to graze in huge pasture with other mares. Current barn manager is feeding her 20 pounds of hay and good vitamins and is focused on helping her gain weight. question is about grazing out at pasture. Once she gets to finally do this every day, will this help her gain weight more quickly and easily? I guess I'm confused about this because I always hear about the dangers of too much grazing, etc, and how it can cause problems. Or is it about gradual acclimation?

I live in pacific NW where we get rain several months a year but unlike many places here, she will get turn-out year-round thankfully.

Thank you all....
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    07-14-2012, 01:41 PM
Being out in the pasture constantly will definitely help her put on weight, especially if you are still feeding the same amount you were feeding before. I would be very careful about it, though. Is the pasture really lush? If that's the case, you need to keep a close eye on her and make sure she isn't getting too much lush grass in her system because this can cause numerous health problems if ignored, namely laminitis (founder). Even if the grass isn't lush, introduce her slowly. Anytime you change a feeding method, it should be done slowly as to get the horse's digestive system used to the change. Hope this was helpful.
    07-14-2012, 01:54 PM
Keep giving her all the hay/grass you can. Horses lose weight a lot faster than they gain, so be patient and she'll be fine.
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    07-14-2012, 05:29 PM
Green Broke
Horses with no grass suddenly thrown onto rich grass pastures can have problems, but if thye have it year round it wont be an issue. Sounds like your new barn manager has some sense. Do all the other horses look good ? That should be a sign right there. I think your new BM seems to be doing the right stuff.
    07-16-2012, 10:24 PM
Yeah, grazing isn't actually dangerous. Horses are actually meant to graze. They weren't meant to be eating hay or grain.
Some horses have issues with too much sugar in the grass, but that's the specific horse's issue, not an actual problem with the grass. In the wild that horse would die (founder or whatever), and its genetics would not pass on, leaving the hardier horses to bring in the new generation.
Anywho, as long as she's outside everyday, for most of the day (you want her out as much as possible), she should have no problems with the grass. The danger begins when the horses aren't turned out in the spring (cause the ground is wet and the barn managers don't want the horses putting footprints in their beautiful grass) and then they're turned out finally but they haven't been transitioning properly from scare winter grass to healthier spring/summer grass. It can shock them.
So... look to hay and grass to gain weight. Grain really doesn't do much. Check out to find a decent weight gain supplement if you want. Also, she doesn't need to be on vitamins. They probably won't hurt her, but I don't think she actually needs them. You could toss her on MSM or biotin, or a joint supplement or something.
Horse's stomachs constantly produce acid. (Unlike ours). So they need to keep something in there to buffer the acid. If they do not, they can develop ulcers (super painful burns in the stomach lining from the acid burning through). A lot of stalled horses get thrown a few flakes of hay once or twice a day, with some grain, and then you go outside for like 5 hours. Not really the ideal situation.
And get on your research. You have no business owning a horse if you don't even know its feed requirements. That's basic stuff. It leads people to wonder if you'd notice if your horse was lame, or if the tack didn't fit, or if your farrier is doing a good job, or if you'd notice if her teeth needed to be floated (don't trust other people to know for you; half the time they have no idea either). There are a ton of books out there (check out your local library), as well as the Internet (though there are a lot of idiots on the internet).
bluesunhorse likes this.
    07-18-2012, 01:06 AM
Thank you for all the responses, everyone. It has helped so much!
    07-18-2012, 03:09 AM
Originally Posted by PaintHorseMares    
Horses lose weight a lot faster than they gain, so be patient and she'll be fine.
Oh I wish!

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