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fadedoak 09-26-2013 03:53 PM

Out of boarding - bringing horse home
Okay, so I know this gets asked a million and one times, but heres my story.
I recently got my horse back from a terrible boarding situation [drama, lots and lots of drama] however, she has been boarded there for about 6 years.
She is a 13 year old Haflinger mare, that has a bit of a weight problem, as in, has alot of it. She needs to be worked 3 days a week to keep it off, and when the barn had iced me out, she went 6 weeks without exercise.. and she is a beefcake (to the point that it concerns me)

Right now, she is boarded at a friends as we make our pasture. Its about 5-7 acres in the middle of our hay field (its the ugly difficult part that we hate cutting anyhow) Its a mixture of field and woods. She has a shelter (half a barn) and we are currently working on obtaining all we need for fencing.

However, thats not my question.
My question is Hay, and Grain, and all that stuff that I missed out on when I boarded her.
We live in WI, there is snow on the ground from Nov to June... if your really unlucky.
As you may have guessed we have SOME hay. But now that we are feeding it to my horse, I have my doubts about its quality. So I was looking to supplement what I have.

So far, I have 50 GOOD grassy mix bales that are about 45-50lbs.
I have 1 900lb round bale of last years grassy mix hay.
There are about 100 ehhhhh close to marsh grass bales in the barn, that are from this year, but are only about 30lbs.

I need to know how many more I should get, I don't want to use the 100 bales of crummpy stuff.
Should I get round bales. or a more of small squares?
I am counting on about a half a bale a day...
Should it be more?
I need someone to hold my hand...
Should I grain and supplement her during winter?

Oh, I need help.

loosie 09-28-2013 07:24 PM

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A horse(even a dieting one) needs around 2% of their (ideal) bodyweight daily in roughage. So if she won't be getting much/any grass, you need to make that amount up in hay. So if she is(or should be) a 400kg horse, she should get at least 8kg grass/hay per day.

As for quality, generally the 'unimproved' & native grasses are better for horses than the high NSC pasture designed for cattle fattening. Don't know about 'marsh grass' specifically but guessing it may fall under the first banner. So long as it's not mouldy or overly dusty it should be fine.

As for grain & supplements, if she's already obese then no, absolutely no grain! There are generally healthier options anyway if there comes a day that you need to help her gain weight. But a good (low dose, grain free) 'ration balancer' or such that's appropriate to her diet would be a good move, to provide the nutrition she needs.

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