Boredom or bad habit?
My friend has a four year old oldenburg mare who is the sweetest thing- but she has a really nasty habit of EATING her shelter. Literally.
It is made out of wood and she ate through the whole side of it and the fencing. We had to board up and put 2x4's along her entire shelter so she wouldn't eat more. However, she just ate that wood and the fencing along the bottom of her pasture to her boyfriend. We tried the no chew stuff and she just ate more.
She is getting plenty to eat and has a balanced diet, gets out a LOT- gets ridden, goes to lessons, on trail rides and other fun stuff- and does different things everyday, she is in a VERY large paddock (1/4 acre) and has tons of toys. We are very worried what it's doing to her internally and cannot lock her in a stall. Last time we locked her in a stall she dug up the mats, kicked a dent in the wall, broke the feeder and got kicked out...
No ideas on what to do. Any ideas/help would be good :)
Could be a bunch of things. I'm sure other members of this forum would give better replies than I can. Until you figure out what the problem is, have you thought about putting a grazing muzzle on her to keep her from chewing until you can resolve the problem?
I would't really call 1/4 acre "VERY large." But I'm guessing that pasture turnout and other-horse interaction isn't an option?
I would be interested in hearing any input or advice, also.
I have been blessed with a wood chewer also.:-(
Our guy is a young OTTB, and he gets free choice hay, a very specific and comprehensive diet.... and daily pasture turnout... but the minute he is anywhere near wood....he chews it.
generaly if a horse is chewing wood and not cribbing or wind sucking then i find they are mineral deficient.
If you watch a horse in a pasture that has trees, horses that are mineral defficient will strip bark from trees even if there is plenty of grass around. I've had it with one of my show horses, he had fee choice haylege, good grazing and a good feed regime so when he started stripping trees we got worried. One blood test later we found he was defficient in some obscure mineral. then we found that the cattle farmers in this area all knew that the soil round her was defficient in that mineral and fed thier stock suppliments.
One suppliment later, happy horse who stopped chewing and went back to grazing
1/4acre is not enough for a horse I would class 1 acre as an absolute minimum for the first horse and half an acre there after
My horse is in what I call a small paddock, he shares approx 2 acres with 2 other horses and TBH it isnt realy enough because the grass can't support it.
A large paddock is when a horse has more then 2 acres per horse!#
Given the Op's situation i would say it will be a combination of stress, frustration and not being in company causing her to crib
And no, a pasture is when a horse has more than 2 acres per horse...
My horse goes in a 12ft by 12 ft stable every night and is perfectly fine with it, however he does have adequate space to play when he is out in the field.
It does sound as though your horse is going stir crazy. 1/4 of an acre is no where near enough, she is also on her own and thus lacking horsey contact.
I would say you have a case of one very very bored and frustrated horse on your hands. a few hours a day being ridden is not enough for a horse, it needs company and space. 1/4 of an acre, even if the paddock is very thin is not enough for a horse to let off steam adequately. they cant even get up a decent gallop.
In some places a 1/4 acre is really all that is available per horse for turnout and the ones in those paddocks are the lucky ones.
My horse is in probably a little over an acre with 2 other horses and that is a good size turnout for the place I'm at. He's been on about 6-7 acres with one other horse and that was ideal, but I have to live with where I'm at for now. Some horses barely even get a 12x12 run in some places in the world. They adapt although it is not ideal.
Anyways. I agree with faye in that the horse should get blood work done to test for a mineral deficiency. All horses should have free choice minerals and/or a ration balancer with added minerals regardless. If that doesn't quell the chewing then I would get a muzzle that still allows her to eat and offer her hay free choice when she has it on outside.
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