What to feed? To condition a starved mare
Indy is out in a field full of grass and has a run in shelter that has a pile of hay in it but she won't touch the hay. She eats grass and she drinks but she ignores the hay completely. Should I try a different kind of hay? Is she okay with just grass? Should I give her grain?. She is a rescue and goes crazy when I try to shut her in a stall. So I can't keep her off the grass to try and make her eat hay instead or to try and get her eating less grass. The grain is the same mix as sweat feed but they don't put any molasses in it. instead they put in corn oil.
IMO grass isgreat for them, she will probably start gaining weight soon. I would slowly start giving her complete feed (a little at a time, slowly increasing it day by day) :)
I just have one concern regarding the grass: was she conditioned to go out on grass?
Some horses, especially starvation cases, simply cannot handle going on to grass 24/7 from nothing. You risk colic or founder if the horse's system isn't built up to it.
Okay, now that I've written my disclaimer... horses on good grass will usually ignore hay. Don't worry about it. When the pasture starts getting grazed down, then offer a flake or two at a time to see if she wants it, and feed more if it gets eaten.
I agree with JDI totally. Our horses could care less about that old dried up hay when they could have nice thick juicy grass all day. Not to mention, at this time of year you would be hard pressed to find 'fresh' hay and ours get picky about the older stuff. I would let her be. If she is gaining weight slowly and steadily, why fix what isn't broken. If she is losing weight, try to add a 'hay stretcher' to her grain...that way she is forced to eat it. On our harder cases who would rather eat grass but arent putting on enough weight...we mix it in with the grain so they have to get inventive if they want to avoid eating it. Blue seal sells a pelleted form and most every feed store carries alfalfa cubes that you can soak in water. Good luck! Keep us posted!
She was conditioned to be out on grass. I made sure of that before I let myself get to obsessed with the idea of getting her. She is gaining weight and I de-wormed her when I got her. I just want to make sure I'm doing everything right. She had a hard time for a while before I got her and I want her life to be as close to perfect as possible now that I have her. Is it okay for me to ride her? Just walk and a few strides of trot? Or is it better to just let her be until she gets more weight on. She seems to like me riding her. Isn't impressed when other people get on her but she seems to genuinely enjoy me riding her around at the walk.
For the riding issue, it's hard to judge without seeing a pic. If she's coming back from starvation, chances are her feet have not been looked after, so that's something to consider.
As far as feeding, you have gotten great advice. There's not much better for a horse than good, green grass. Mine rarely even look at oats when the grass is good. There are many people on here who would be able to help you if you decide to use concentrates. Someone recommended subscribing to FeedXL.com.
If you can feed your own grain, aside from the sweet feed they are feeding, I would suggest it. You'll have to work up from half a can once a day to twice a day, eventually over the next 2-3 weeks a can 2-3 times a day. By can, I mean coffee can.
I would buy a 50lb bag of senior feed pellets, a 50lb bag of mare/foal feed, and a 50lb bag of steamed crimped oats. I would also add beetpulp, and a supplement I believe is called Omega, or a sprinkle supplement called FoalGrow. Yes, it'll be a big chunk of money all at once, but it will seem to last forever.
This mixture is what I use for each and every one of my rescues. Now that I've been through about 20 of them, I'm pretty confident in the mix.
And being on grass, 9/10 times she won't touch the hay until she runs out of grass. The dry stuff is no where near as tasty as the green, juicy stuff!
As long as she is not completely emaciated, i see no harm in riding her. Rescues are notorious for changing their riding personality once they have the weight back on. We find it easier on them if they are eased back into riding rather than thrown in. If she is a lil ribby and a little hollow in the hips, a light ride, id say no more than 20 minutes and no faster than a slow trot, would be fine. Anything thinner than that and I would say maybe sit on her...possibly walk her around...but nothing more. Ive always been taught with underweight horses to stop before they sweat.
The problem is she can only get grain when I go to check on her because she is boarded at a friends house and it is their kids who look after her and i don't trust them not to have one feed her then 20 minutes later a different one goes and feeds her. maybe after she has been there for a while and they learn to co-operate more and to follow instructions but the first day when I went to put her in her stall I found two bales of straight alfalfa in the feed rack. I almost put her right back onto the trailer! I explained to them that she could only have a tiny bit of hay and not the straight alfalfa stuff and wrote out directions just in case she needs to be shut in her stall but for the most part she is outside 24/7
Was this the mare on your critique post?
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