Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Calgary, AB, Canada
I'm glad you found a place! I looked into your thread in the horse boarding section, sounds like a really good solution.
1) & 2) For feed, every horse is different. It sounds like your horse is in a field with the barn owner's horses, so it would probably be most practicable if you shared the cost of hay, rather than you providing your own, since there is really no way to control who eats what in a herd situation with free choice hay. Also, round bales are a pain to transport and you really won't need all that many for one horse, so it would be much easier to share.
There are better choices than sweet feed. Since your horse is sensitive, a hard keeper and it doesn't sound like he is in very hard work, I would probably look into a "cool calories" feed, along with a ration balancer. Maybe you have a local feed store that will be able to give you some guidance there.
How much you feed depends on the feed (there are usually recommendations on the bag) and the individual horse, start with less and gradually increase to the amount that works. As for how often, with horses more often is always better. Grazing and free choice hay is already a good start, it stimulates the digestive tract continually. I guess for feeding you would have to take him out from the other horses, so it would be limited by your schedule, but feed twice a day should be ok.
Most horse owners do not like to see back shoes in a herd situation. With hoof care, there are a lot of different opinions. When it comes to farriers, recommendations go a long way. Having a good farrier is so important, so if you have one treat him well :). Unfortunately there are many less stellar ones around too.
Again, many people have many different opinions on blanketing. With a healthy horse in moderate climate, blanketing is usually not absolutely necessary. If you clip your horse in winter, you need to blanket though. If it's just for added warmth, I would make sure to allow the winter coat to grow in properly before blanketing. If you start blanketing early in the fall, the winter coat grows in thinner. For horses that are quite thin, sick, or live in extreme climates, sometimes blanketing can just give them an extra bit of help. So if you notice that e.g. he loses weight in winter, blanketing might be a good idea. Depending on how bad the bugs are in summer, you could also look into a fly sheet and/or fly mask.
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