Under feeding at a boarding facility - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 10-25-2013, 09:37 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Ontario, Canada
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Under feeding at a boarding facility

At the place where i board my 20yr old Arab/qh i believe all of the boarders are being underfed. There are 13 horses in the pasture and only 2 bales of hay that are in slow feed nets. My horse is one of the bottom horses and always has bites and has been losing weight. I had the vet out to check for other issues but she got a clean bill of health except for being skinny. When i told the barn owner what he said she kind of just brushed it off like it was no big deal. I don't want to move my horse because i live right behind the barn and at the moment another boarder and myself have a feeding plan so they get fed twice a day. She is beginning to put on weight but i think extra hay would help.

How do i bring it up to the barn owner that she isn't feeding the boarder horses enough? She isn't always very understanding and she is very 'money hungry' so she complains that the boarder horses waste to much hay. Any ideas would be appreciated.
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post #2 of 16 Old 10-25-2013, 09:42 PM
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This might sound kind of harsh but It's not directed at you. :)

I would tell her that your horse WILL get more hay, he WILL be fed what he/she needs to keep weight and if the herd dynamics do not die down he or she will be removed from that situation if possible. In all honesty you're paying her the money, and as a business owner it's her responsibility to provide these services and care. If she doesn't I would be looking to move. Just be upfront and blunt. She might charge you more for extra hay (which I personally find ridiculous, but hey, it's getting expensive again). And this is assuming that you have a contract.

Good luck! I've been in this position before, it's far from fun.
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post #3 of 16 Old 10-25-2013, 09:42 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Minnesota
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I used to board somewhere like that. I tried talking and it got nowhere so I left. My horse is now in amazing condition because I left. Tell her they need to either split the herd so the lower horses are separated or she needs to put out more hay. If she has no interest in the health of the horses then you really are left with only moving.
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post #4 of 16 Old 10-25-2013, 09:51 PM
Join Date: May 2009
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I would definitely ask for more hay and also for it to be spread out more- with 13 horses, at least half the herd is going to be chased off when there are only two places to eat. If that is a no-go, and it may well be, your choices are to feed your horse extra on his own twice a day as you can or move. Good luck- that's not an easy situation.

When I put hay in pasture, if it is a small amount, rather than something like a round bale, I always make sure there are more piles of hay than there are horses- it really cuts down on the bites and kicks to lower ranking horses like my guy. Smaller herds help too.
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post #5 of 16 Old 10-25-2013, 10:04 PM
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More hay, more piles, and separate them if possible. Is your horse out 24/7? If not, you could make sure she has hay in her stall also. I also hope you have good blankets for her and she has outdoor shelter.....it gets really cold and windy in the winters and she will need the hay to keep her warm and keep weight on. She is older, and you may want to move somewhere where she can be in at least at night for the winter if this place does not have the facility to do that.

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post #6 of 16 Old 10-26-2013, 06:42 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Nov 2011
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I have a round bale out with several piles pulled off it for just 3 horses. Come January and February I will have 2 rounds out there.

Can you make a few different piles yourself?
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post #7 of 16 Old 10-26-2013, 07:19 AM
Green Broke
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Ideally every barn owner puts the needs of the horses first but it is a business. If you have horses with a little bit different needs it's often something you need to cater for yourself. Some places will go out of the way, but often you pay for it.

The best thing to do is just talk to the barn owner. Before going in there think it through though. For the owner to do what you want what will they have to change? Are they going to have to buy more hay, put up more fencing, buy more feeders, more feed storage, will they need to spend more time or hire more staff? Try and work out an ideal scenario that will suit you both before you go in. The system now isn't working for you, but it's not likely the owner is going to change their whole system to suit you either. You need to identify a medium point that you can both live with.

Whether the other horses are underfed or not isn't really your problem, the condition of your horse is your responsibility, just as the condition of the others are the responsibility of their owners.

If the location is really close and good, why don't you see if you can just switch to self care, pay less and provide all your own feed and care?
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post #8 of 16 Old 10-26-2013, 07:52 AM
Green Broke
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I would go and speak {nicely} with the barn owner.
Explain your concerns and what you are seeing happen.
Ask for a change to take place with more hay put out in more places so all the horses have a better opportunity to eat.
If serious about 13 horses and 2 bales of hay out in 2 nets, don't care if it is in slow-feed nets or not.... simply put... it isn't enough food for that many animals.

You already mentioned the barn owners attitude... I think convenience or not... I would be looking for a new barn.
Why you must when paying {I am thinking board to include your hay} have to make arrangements with a fellow boarder to feed extra {at whose expense?} hay so your horses are fed an adequate amount I do not understand.
I would look for a new barn, speak to the barn owner and know that I have a back-up plan in place. If I got any static or nonsense from the BO... notice given that I am then leaving on such & such date... go home notify the other barn and GO!!

You have an older horse, bottom of the pecking order. Already you are having to do this "special deal" with another boarder.... it should not be this way.
Yes, your horse is gaining now, but should of never been put in this situation of food deprivation, regardless of the reason, that you are needing doing what is now taking place. Older horses, any horse for that matter needs a owner who advocates for them, no different than a child... it is up to the adult to make choices in the best interest of the horse in this case... to me... that means a look-see of other barns, speaking with your current BO and then based upon that conversation acting upon leaving or staying... regardless you need to remain vigilant in all aspects of the animals care. If hay is being shorted, what else is not quite what it should be that will have an impact on your horse...
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post #9 of 16 Old 10-26-2013, 08:41 AM
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Ontario
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Nature is cruel and the younger stronger horses are chasing your mare off the hay. Two bales are not enough for a dozen horses. I used to set out two for four horses and they were set as far apart as possible. At first the more dominant horses would move back and forth but then tire of that and settle down, so the two lesser horses would go to the other bale. PS check your mare mouth near her front teeth to see if her gums are inflamed. This can be an issue with the small mesh hay nets.
Saddlebag is offline  
post #10 of 16 Old 10-26-2013, 09:45 AM
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Colorado
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Sometimes you have to sacrifice your convenience (living so close to the boarding facility) for the better health of your horse. I drive 35 minutes to where we board and it's worth it. They are healthy and well cared for. I do have access to a facility about 2 miles from my house but the pens are small and all the riding trails are over-run with high speed mountain bikers with no regard for safety around horses. Sucks, but you've got to do what's best for your horse- he depends on you!
Boo Walker is offline  

boarding , feeding , weight loss

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