Cost Efficient Winter Feeding?... - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 30 Old 08-01-2013, 04:47 PM
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Can you also purchase a cheaper grass hay and feed some of each? You can also slow how fast the horse eats with a couple of $7 small mesh hay nets (chick's saddlery). If you absolutely have to stretch your hay you can also feed one flake daily, no more, of oat straw which provides necessary fiber. It isn't necessary to keep the horse in peak condition unless you are riding a lot. This will keep the horse in decent condition.
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post #22 of 30 Old 08-01-2013, 04:53 PM
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Does anybody who's criticizing so loudly realize that she asked for help TO KEEP HER HORSE HEALTHY DURING WINTER?
I think she's already a huge step ahead of those who just have mom and dad buy a horse for them and keep it in a full care boarding facility.
I think we, who have the experience, are here for helping and giving advice to those who want to know.
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post #23 of 30 Old 08-01-2013, 04:56 PM
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Originally Posted by barrelbeginner View Post
@ Speed Racer.. I think she is trying to say she doesn't appreciate when people go off saying they make that much money.. and how she shouldn't have a horse if they don't make a huge about of money..
Could be, but it's not like she's easy to understand or gives anyone a lot of information.

Besides, just who stated they made tons of money? Because I haven't seen anyone on this thread state their income amount per month, or say you MUST make a certain amount in order to have a horse. However, horses are expensive in time, labor and especially money, so you need to be able to pay for all of those things if you expect to keep one (or more) properly.

I'm not rich and I daresay the majority of people here are in the same boat as me; working a full time job and trying to do the best we can with what we earn. No, you don't need to make over $100,000 a year to have horses, but you'd better have a detailed plan, a good budget, and realize that the animals always come first when the month is too long and the money's too short.

Unfortunately, I don't see the OP doing much more than flying by the seat of her pants and hoping things will turn out okay, which concerns me for the horse in her care. If that makes me a mean, old, over critical poopie-head, then so be it. I've seen far too many starved, neglected horses owned by people who 'lurve' them, but can't afford to feed them or get them the proper vet and farrier care.
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Last edited by Speed Racer; 08-01-2013 at 05:00 PM.
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post #24 of 30 Old 08-01-2013, 04:58 PM
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I gave my good advice. I think the OP is in over her head financially. As you know we have to develop a LOCAL circle of friends/Vets/etc. and mine helped me enormously when I first bought my horses. A few months after I bought my first herd I took a CC class on "Horse Health Care" and learned SO MUCH. Previous to that I took several years of riding lessons at a local stable, and I asked a LOT of questions. I didn't go into horse ownership blind to the costs. THIS is how many good horses end up on the market severely underweight. Good intentions, bad practice.
OP, I earnestly suggest you tt to the owner of this mare and see about NOT completing the sale to you.

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Hope that you fall in love with "Trot", like I did!
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post #25 of 30 Old 08-01-2013, 05:04 PM
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oh stop..she asked for help. if you cannot give suggestions for help you need to stop.
poopie heads (how funny ) and all... I got my first horse at age 14 , I worked my butt off, I learned from neighbors, i made $$ cleaning horse poo, babysitting etc.
I am sure that at the time there was a number of people whom said I should not have a horse due to finances.. well, I kept my horse and many others. I learned as went.
so be helpful , I dont think you will melt if you try being kind.
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post #26 of 30 Old 08-01-2013, 05:13 PM
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basically to actually help you out. Horses pretty much need fiber all the time to stay healthy, It also helps them stay warm. A commercial feed can make up the vitamins, minerals and nutrients they need, usually along with a HORSE salt/ mineral block. But they still need fiber. In my area I use about 25 lbs a week of feed for a full size 16 hand TN walker in heavy work. give or take, seems I bought 2 bags every two weeks for 2 horses.
In addition to the feed in your shoes I would buy a few 50 lb bags of "beet pulp shreds NO molasses" thats what they will call it at the feed store. when the pasture grass is gone put about 2 quarts dry in a feed bucket, cover it with water like you were making a bowl of cereal. and soak it about an hour. It will expand greatly. add that to a scoop of feed each evening for dinner. Beet pulp is great fiber, is cheap and can bale you out in an emergency.
During the day they need hay if there is no grass, can be alfalfa, or other types of grass. Id go with a cheaper variety if you can get it. You mainly need it for fiber. As long as they eat most of it. Sometimes cheap hay isnt cheap if they waste half of it. But on top of the feed I mentioned I would plan on about 1/2 a 50 ish pound bale of grass hay a day. You can get a slow feeder net bag for about $15 or less to keep it in, add hay in the morning, and check it in the after noon to see if she needs more for the night. If every bit is gone, add more. if a bunch is left over dont put out so much. Now I have never fed straight alfalfa and know it is pretty rich. You'll have to get advice from people that know it. I suspect a horse would eat to much if given the choice.

And welcome to the forum. You'll have to weed through some chaff to get to the wheat but lots of knowledgeable people here. There will be a few that you'll end up blocking as they seldom have anything positive to add.
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post #27 of 30 Old 08-01-2013, 05:22 PM
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Originally Posted by stevenson View Post
oh stop..she asked for help. if you cannot give suggestions for help you need to stop.
poopie heads (how funny ) and all... I got my first horse at age 14 , I worked my butt off, I learned from neighbors, i made $$ cleaning horse poo, babysitting etc.
I am sure that at the time there was a number of people whom said I should not have a horse due to finances.. well, I kept my horse and many others. I learned as went.
so be helpful , I dont think you will melt if you try being kind.
Help was given. And unfortunately all of the help is going to cost money. OP stated she had $50 to $150 to spend on winter hay and wanted alternatives. There aren't cheaper alternatives. Horses need hay, hay is bought with money. I can say oh yes, add beet pulp, grain, oils, but all that stuff is going to make a sick, skinny horse if there is no hay. plus its going to be way more expensive.
Am I trying to be rude? No, of course not. But the sad fact is, this horse is going to be the one to pay the price in the end.
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post #28 of 30 Old 08-01-2013, 05:34 PM
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atleasy hay prices are going down;) all I wanted to add.. haha:) << read about Sunny and I. Our journey
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post #29 of 30 Old 08-01-2013, 06:13 PM
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I guess I might have a different view on this....?

For the last 3 years I've kept my horse at home, on pasture [no need to feed in the summer, minimal grazing in the winter - enough to "munch" but not enough to really do much as far as weight goes] and my singular income was giving riding lessons, 2 per week, with my horse. Charging one $15 and receiving $20, instead of my normal $15, from the other. So that's $35 a week for hay, gas, and other various life miscellany [I still live at home, luckily], as well as being a full time college student.

I've never in my life so far been able to stockpile hay [I don't have any storage space for more than 12 bales anyway] or have a "hay fund." I do put $5/week away for a vet fund and my vet is perfectly comfortable with having me on a payment plan, should the need arise [bonus of being friends+knowing your vet!!].

Anyway, I've been able to get by by buying five or six 60+lb bales of local grass hay at $5.50/bale every two weeks. And I buy a 150lb bale of alfalfa about once a month, at $19.50. I feed about 20 pounds of grass hay each night in a slow feeder hay net [I McGyvered 2 "normal" haynets together into one slow feed net] and I stick about a 5lb flake of alfalfa hay in the middle of the grass hay [our grass hay is very low protein so Lacey'd need at least 40lb of grass hay each day to keep her weight on...and 5lbs of alfalfa does it so much more cheaply! haha].
I also feed a ration balancer to make sure she's getting the vitamins and minerals she needs. She has some other issues that require special supplements as well.
My mare is for sure a very easy keeper, but even so, she keeps her weight with this diet. It wouldn't work for many horses but it's not purely impossible.

It works out to be about $74 per month for hay, while only making $35 a week!
I do have to be very frugal with my money output and I rarely get to buy things for me or anything else, but having a happy horse makes it worth it.

Anyway, all I'm trying to say is that, to feed a horse properly, you don't need a huge "fund". It's probably really wise to have one or at least be trying to create one The way I do it IS fraught with stress about "having enough money for this week's hay", but Lacey has never once gone without and she never will. I'll skip multiple meals before she'll miss one. And she will never want for veterinary care because I don't have enough.

So, in closing, don't do this -it's not easy and it's not fun- but it can be done.
Just don't expect $150 to cover an entire winter, OP. Maaaaaybe 2 months if you're careful, but not 4+.

[and, for the record, I just got a second job. I'm looking forward to this winter being more stress-free!! haha]

Fabio - 13 year old Arabian/Lipizzan gelding

Rest peacefully, Lacey.

Last edited by Wallaby; 08-01-2013 at 06:16 PM.
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post #30 of 30 Old 08-01-2013, 07:12 PM
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The OP perhaps needs to know that on avg a horse eats 20-22lb of hay daily, which means a 60lb bale will last barely 3 days. Timothy is a good horse hay and somewhat cheaper than alfalfa. In winter, if there's no grass, there's no point in throwing a half ration out in the morning and again at suppertime as the horse will be without roughage for too many hours. This is why the nets are so good. They can either be hung or tossed in the snow (if you get any) like pillows. If hung, they should be as far apart as feasible for you as walking aids the horse's digestive tract. A horse will move back and forth. If you feel you can't afford to feed the horse, now is the time to put it up for sale because potential buyers will make sure hay is available and affordable for their wallet. Don't wait until winter as most hay stocks are sold.
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