Different nutrition needs
Hi fellow horse men/women.
I have a delicate issue. On the farm there are 3 horses, aged 5, 4 and 2. Now, two of the horses get regular exercise but the third one (age 5) doesn't. The third one also isn't very fond of moving, running or playing with the others and prefers to stand still and eat.
All the horses used to have free access to food (round bale) 24/7 but the third one became unhealthy fat and I finally gave in and agreed that we could try to feed them only three times a day and only a given amount according to their weight. We have had this system for a couple of months now but the result is that the two exercised horses are loosing weight but the fat one only very very slowly seems to loose a little bit but it's hardly visible. I strongly disagree with this system. Horses are build to eat somewhat between 16-18 hours a day, little at a time but quite continuously with some breaks in between.
I feel that it is wrong to “punish” the two horses who get regular exercise and can handle free access to the round bale for the sake of the one that can't handle it. In my opinion it would have been more fair and a better solution to remove the third horse from the other two to his own part of the field, (just split the field in two parts so they still can see and touch each other over the fence) feed him there 3 times a day and let him in with the other two at least once a day in order to cover his natural need for company and “fur-care” of each other.
I would like to hear if other people here have dealt with similar problems, what do you think of this situation and what kind of solution have you chosen to benefit the horses and the owners?
I would probably give him maybe 2 or 3 hours a day with the other horses, and then separate him into his own section where he can still touch noses with, and interact with the other horses, but can't get to the food, and then feed him a rationed amount to help him lose weight. I would also talk to the owner and see about getting him some exercise. Maybe suggest that they lease him out so someone can enjoy him, and he can start to get exercise, if they can't, or help them realize the health issues of their horse getting no exercise, being an easy keeper, and being so young. Maybe they just don't know how big an issue it can be, and having it explained to them maybe even with the vet there to show them, will help encourage them to either get him out themselves, or find someone who will. Best of luck.
Thank you for your answer. We seem to think quite alike about this. I have talked to the owner about exercise quite many times but he claims that one hour exercise a day won't cut it and that he doesn't have the time to do it either. But if I would like so I can ride his horse anytime. Sigh, I have my own two young horses to exercise and train, fulltime jobb and farmwork besides that. Two horses are enough for me. There are many horseinterested people in the area but those who can ride, also have their own horses to ride.
It isn't always easy to find smooth agreements that satisfies both sides but I "bursted" now 'cause I hate to see me horses loosing weight when they shouldn't and beeing bored and hungry most of the time everyday.
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