Wallaby, could you be kind to post a picture of this "manger thing" you are feeding your horse from? It sounds interesting to me since it makes your horse eat that slow.
I don't understand why you want the horse to eat even slower and cut down on the amount also? You obiously have a system that works very fine! Lucky you
Instead of cutting down on the amount of feed, perhaps you could increase the workout for her? Just a suggestion if possible.
Here's a picture of the manger thing (I'm sure there's a better name for it, I just for the life of me can't remember exactly what it is. Haha!) It's about 12 feet long and divided into three sections. About 3.5 flakes of the grass hay will fit into one section so I usually do that, just stuff one section full.
I just wanted to make sure my system was "right", I suppose... I've never been in charge of feeding a horse for longer than 3 months by myself, and I've never been feeding a horse I care about by myself, so I want to make sure I'm doing it perfect, yknow? I've read that slower is better and I wasn't sure if she was eating slowly enough or if it should be slower.
And on the working her front, her current living situation is such that every ride is at least an hour long trail ride (I could turn back sooner, but she's that kind of horse where if you turn back early once, you're gonna be fighting with her the next 5 rides because she wants to turn around where you turned around sooner every time) and I just don't have the time to do that daily. :( I try to get her out at least 2-3 times a week but I would really like to be riding everyday or 4 times a week, at least. Her pasture is so hilly (and currently so muddy) that just hopping on bareback is difficult as well.
Horses are designed to be constantly eating poor quality hay. I think your system sounds fine!
Lucerne/alfalfa, especially soaked, is actually a good hay for founder risks as it is low in sugar compared to most grass hays. It's energy comes from protein.
Poor quality grass hay is also recommended as a good filler for founder risks - less sugar.
So basically you are doing the exact right thing. Keeping her belly full with lower sugar hats, and the alfalfa is supplying energy in the form of protein, not sugar. If you need some more calories when she is working, I would add in a high fat feed like rice bran or soybean meal. Add a molasses free mineral block and that is basically the perfect management plan for an older, founder prone pony.
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Oh cool! Thanks for the info!
I do need to get her a mineral block. I've been kinda scared to look at how much they cost. I suppose they last basically forever with one horse, right?