Feeding times for my new horse
I'm so excited! My new horse arrives this week. He's a 16 hand Thoroughbred gelding. I have one slight issue though. I work 5 days a week, and I don't finish until 6:30pm. Cos it's winter, it's dark by the time I finish work. I could go and feed him in the dark, but I was wondering if I could give him his two feeds at say, 7 am and 1 pm? Would this be a really bad idea?
At the moment, he doesn't get fed at all, he's just on grass. So he doesn't have a routine feeding at the moment. But he is quite skinny, so I can't wait to fatten him up a bit!!
Personally I think that's a bad idea. That is a very long time between lunch and breakfast the next morning. Will he be boarded? Maybe you should look for a facility where they will feed so you horse will have meals spaced more to his benefit.
I'm a bit concerned about your serious commitment to horse ownership. They don't always go along on our schedule alone. Sometimes taking care of them is not convenient but they are dependent on us for their care and well-being. They need regular meals and exercise. Will the horse be in a stall or have access to pasture? Who will be there to clean the stall and get him out if it's stall care those five days a week that you are working?
I don't mean to pick here, but this does not sound like a good plan for the horse. A full care facility would solve your problem.
First, may I suggest you get an experienced horseman to look at your horse and help you decide what he needs to eat. The horse may be at ideal weight, even though he is a bit lean.
And he is "being fed." Grazing is eating is feeding.
I really must caution you against adding grains as they can make a horse become what is commonly called "hot." Especially if this is a pleasure horse, or one used for light work, a hay of decent quality will be enough. Even to put some fluffiness on the horse, if you insist on that.
The pro polo horses I care for only graze about 10 hours a day, and that is adequate for their work!
In all reality, a horse doesn't need "feed" per say. Not knowing anything about said horse, just good pasture being available may be a perfect solution. But, so many variables exist that any given information is fairly useless.
Feeding at 7 and 1? Seems totally reasonable if that's what needs to happen for you.
Now if thin means a bag of bones, or there's special needs, only hands on people can answer that with any actual honesty.
There's so many ifs or maybes....
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Well, to be honest I feel a bit confused about these responses. But I will try and explain. I am 22 years old, and yes, I have a job, which is a part of life. I have no idea how anyone would afford to keep a horse without a job.
Dustbunny: I do not work until 1 on these days. He will never be in a stall, he will be in a paddock. Getting to the farm at 7 will give me 6 hours to care for him, I am sure he will be fine. About my serious commitment to horse ownership: I have been involved in horses for 13 years, and have owned them for 6 years. I sold them to persue a university degree, I now have enough time to re-enter the horse world.
Boots: I had him vet checked. The vet told me he was underweight, the vet told me to feed him, the vet also told me what to feed him. I am not putting grain in his feed, and never wanted to.
To be honest, I thought this was a place to learn? For horse lovers to come together? Not to be judged and for issues to be assumed. I certainly do not feel welcome here.
Also don't take people's replies personally - I didn't feel any disrespect or judgement from these replies, but then I've been floating around forums, taking people the wrong way, having my own posts misunderstood...:-P for many years, so I have come to realise how people can understand & explain things way differently to how others may take them when we only have the written word to go on. If you feel 'attacked' or some such, it may be an occasional niggler, or someone who's... less respectful or diplomatic than most, but then again, may be just the way you perceived it.
....Now for my opinion... Sounds like dustbunny assumed you stabled your horse, as is unfortunately common in many parts. Also depending on what/how much you need to feed & what the horse has for the rest of the time, it may well be a bad move to leave the horse 'unfed' for the majority of each day. That you're not feeding grain is one thing that will give you more 'leeway' - certain foods, including grain, can be problematic, especially if not fed little & often.
If you're needing to put more weight on the horse, little & often is also best for this, so I'd be inclined to feed him over 3 meals if possible - feed him after work as well as the other 2 feeds. The more frequent, small feeds, even without adding quantity(eg. daily ration is divided into more meals), the more the horse will get out of it & the better they will do.
If the horse has adequate pasture &/or hay, has good teeth & no ulcers or such, he should do well enough without extra as a rule, although appropriate nutritional supplementation is usually a good move - the horse may also be lacking in nutrients to thrive, rather than extra calories. I wonder what did the vet say about all that - has he had his teeth attended? Did the vet suggest ulcer treatment or such? Anything else relevant the vet has said, or what he's suggested you feed?
Not only do I agree with you but I do have something to say. With my horses they have grain, and the have hay, they have a little grass and are light work horses. I do not believe in running a horse until he can not breathe. Therefore I feed my horses every once in a while at 7am and every day at 5 or 6pm. Horses that have grass are better off than horses who have grain and hay in my opinion. So whatever you do just make sure its good for your horse.
Thanks for your advice, Loosie. The vet has suggested putting him on hay, speedibeat and copra just to get his weight up. His teeth are quite sharp, the dentist is coming out right away. He has had vet checks, I am getting him specially fitted for a saddle and I am basically going out of my way to ensure he is comfortable, happy and healthy. Instead of keeping him on my own property, I am spending the extra money to put him on agistment so he has friends. He will be kept out in a lush 5 acre paddock 24/7. The reason I felt attacked by the previous posts was for these reasons.
As you say it is winter then what grass he is getting will not have the nutrients it would in the spring/summer.
You need to also be feeding a good quality hay, ad lib.
Feeding the times that suit you is fine but do not give enormous feeds rather divide them in three.
Once he has his teeth done he will gain more from all food he is getting.
If he needs to gain a lot I would wait before he has gained to get a saddle fitter out as his shape will radically change.
Have fun, sounds as if this horse has a good owner.
Personally, I wouldn't. I'd feed after work, regardless of the dark. There is 18 hours between 1pm and 7am. It's not good for the horse nor is it healthy. Every once in a while, ok, but not all the time. When you have horses in your care feeding in the dark in inevitable.
Also, you might not want to stay on such a set routine. I watched a woman's horses once and by 7am they are screaming their heads off and by 7:15 they are breaking things. You feed when its convenient for you, within reason. If they eat at 6:30, fine. If you want to sleep til 9:30 that should be fine with them too.
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