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post #1 of 26 Old 05-24-2017, 02:41 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: So Cal
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New horse owners

Hi all,

We are new here... please forgive me, this post will kind of be all over the place, as I don't know where to start. My wife and I are the proud new owners of two rescue horses, Daisy May and Atticus. Daisy May is a 15.1 hand 24 year old QH chestnut mare, and Atticus is a 16 hand 17 year old QH flea-bit gelding. These are our first horses - we've always wanted to have horses and now we have the property to do so. Neither of us has much experience with horses, but we are learning a lot, and things are going pretty well with them. We have them at home, where they are kept in a 45' diameter corral with a run-in shed we built that is 12x24 on 1.4 acres adjacent to our house. We are in our late forties and early fifties and live in Southern California.

We will be starting riding classes soon (we both have ridden before but no formal classes). Aside from that, we've learned quite a bit by reading a lot, talking to other local owners, watching tons of videos, and working with our two new friends every day.

We've had them five weeks now, and through a lot of patient work with them, we have been been progressing and they are now comfortable with us catching, brushing, haltering, fly-masking, blanketing, saddling (loose), and leading within and outside of the corral. We have measured for front cinches and will pick those up soon to continue our process.

When we picked them up from the local shelter, they were a little thin, their hooves were very long, and the mare was very skittish. They are now gaining weight - they look much better, hooves look good, and Daisy May is no longer skittish around us. We have another vet visit next week, and another farrier visit the week after. The shelter, just before we picked them up (they were both taken from the same home where the older gentleman could no longer care for them), thought that the mare might be pregnant (not from our gelding obviously - they also had stallions at their previous home), and had an ultrasound done but was inconclusive, and everyone thought that the vet who checked them at the shelter had done a blood test and so we were all waiting for the test results... well, it turns out after waiting four weeks for the results, the vet had never got around to doing that blood test before we picked them up. So our vet when he comes out next week will be doing a palpation pregnancy check.

I know that 10 different people in one room will have 10 different opinions on feed... so I'll just touch on that; we are feeding them an orchard/alfalfa mix with a little bit of 4-way filler, and they've been gaining weight. They are on slow feeders and have access to hay pretty much all day and night, averaging 6 six flakes per day per horse (3 in the morning and 3 in the evening - some days there will be a little leftover, some days not). We will be switching to all alfalfa hay soon, with with a similar 3 or 4-way filler. They are also being given a supplemental rice bran oil mixed with Nutrena Triumph Complete once a day which they absolutely love.

The mare seems to be the clear alpha horse between the two, and get along very well, except when she's hungry lol,

Aside from the fly masks (and fly traps), we just picked up some Pyranha fly spray that seems to work much better than the black bottle stuff we had been using prior, and they don't seem to mind getting sprayed with this as much as the other stuff (I don't recall the name).

Anyway, it's been a mind-boggling (but fun) learning and tremendously rewarding experience so far, (mucking stalls and all!) but we are having a lot of fun, we love our new buddies and look forward to the years ahead of what will be I'm sure a very interesting and rewarding new path in our lives.

We've been lurking here for some time, reading and absorbing as much as we can, so we thank you all for the help you've been without even knowing it.
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post #2 of 26 Old 05-24-2017, 03:22 PM
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Congratulations on the new acquisitions to your family! They will enrich your lives beyond compare. I would suggest that you put them on a full alfalfa diet. Alfalfa is a legume hay (might suggest some research on legume vs. grass hays) and tends to make horses hot, or more energetic than they might normally be. If you are just getting into riding, you probably don't need anymore go in your mounts than necessary.


Also, have someone knowledgeable check that your saddles fit. Not every saddle fits every horse and a horse in pain due to poor saddle fit is never good.


Have fun!
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post #3 of 26 Old 05-24-2017, 03:41 PM
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I'm pretty sure evilgreen1 meant that you NOT put them on a full alfalfa diet. I personally would put them on full orchard grass if you have that option available. Unless of course, the mare is pregnant. Then you can do some research on how to feed a pregnant mare. But as stated, the alfalfa could give you more horse than you are equipped to handle. They don't need that much energy if they are just pleasure horses.

Have fun with your horses. You will get lot of help here with whatever issues you need to address.
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post #4 of 26 Old 05-24-2017, 05:01 PM
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Yes, congratulations! It's a great adventure, at least it has been for me with my two. Lovely looking horses, let us know if a baby is on the way!
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post #5 of 26 Old 05-24-2017, 05:10 PM
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Hi & welcome(to posting here - I saw you said you've been lurking here a while!), and enjoy those horses! It sounds like you've already done a lot of learning - and realise you have to take in what you learn critically, because yep, you'll see/hear all sorts that may not be correct! So... my opinions on what you've told...

I too would suggest you definitely don't put them on full alfalfa hay, but that most of their diet is mixed grass. Alfalfa can indeed be a good *part* of the diet, but is quite imbalanced in nutrients & too high in protein to be healthy straight. Unless you're going to do some careful nutritional balancing acts with supplements & other feeds. **Your vet, if he's experienced doing teeth will tell you this, but the mare may have problem teeth, so might not do well on hay & need processed feed. Old horses often also have reduced digestive function.

I have no clue what a '4 way filler' is & google didn't help me there. The Nutrena is a 'complete' feed, including hay(designed to be fed as sole diet), so for one, you're paying for this feed which includes what they're already getting. You don't mention how much you're feeding of it or why. If you're feeding significantly under the amount advised on the lable, then they won't be getting enough of the 'balanced nutrition' it advertises(tho I'd do a diet analysis anyway, regardless of advertising claims of prods, and it depends what they're getting out of the rest of their diet as to what they may neeed extra in that way). It is 22% NSC, which is not low, and I generally would stick to low NSC feeds. They don't have an ingredients list on their site so can't comment there(except to say if they don't have fixed ingreds, that's problematic too IMO) So... while I'd be looking for a more appropriate, better option if they need extra hard feeding, and for nutrition, if you are going to keep feeding this, or anything rich or grainy, they need it over at least 3 meals daily.

Of course, can't tell much from that part photo, but the mare looks like she might be a reasonable weight, and has a slight 'cresty' look to her neck(fat deposit common to insulin resistance, from (prior) obesity). She has no real muscle on her back, and with her age too, I'd probably want to get her tested for Cushings(PPID). I'd want to get her back in much better condition before riding too.

And I'm well aware many horses are confined eternally to stables & the likes, but I wouldn't keep them like that, or in a small pen. I think it's vital not only to mental wellbeing but to their health, that they are able to be turned out in a paddock with lots of room to move. Especially if you're wanting to get them fit for riding. And while you're not up for riding, taking them for good walks & trots, especially on hills, will help them get fit too.
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post #6 of 26 Old 05-24-2017, 07:22 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the welcome and comments everyone.

And thanks for the alfalfa warning about the horses potentially getting hot - I had heard that as well. What I meant about the all alfalfa hay was that instead of the orchard/alfalfa bales we get now (mostly orchard with a little alfalfa), we will be getting straight alfalfa bales, and keep them on the 3-way or 4-way grass (fillers) bales we are also feeding them now so that they get full (I apparently initially explained/worded the above poorly). So, perhaps 2 alfalfa to 1 grass flake each feeding, or 2 grass to 1 alfalfa, depending on how they do. This give us more control over what they get rather than the premixed mostly orchard with just a little alfalfa mix they currently get. I hope that makes sense. The rice bran oil with the Nutrena is being given to them once a day to help them gain weight (recommended by several locals for just this purpose - until they are at weight), but not in place of the 6 flakes of hay they're getting daily, but in addition to - again, for weight gain only. Thank you all for the hay advice, but I don't want to to turn this introduction into a detailed feed discussion . We get plenty of hay talk from the locals already lol. Not that it's not appreciated, it is!

So far, we are seeing good physical and behavioral results. We'll know more next week after our vet visits and checks them out.

We have been walking them around our property, and will eventually turn them loose on their own outside the pen once we feel good about them not getting into trouble outside of the pen/corral. We will soon also be taking them out of our property and see how they do with cars, other people, dogs, etc. We're taking our time, and it's been paying off.

Thanks everyone for the great advice! Lots to take in

Last edited by caberto; 05-24-2017 at 07:29 PM.
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post #7 of 26 Old 05-24-2017, 08:55 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by evilgreen1 View Post
Congratulations on the new acquisitions to your family! They will enrich your lives beyond compare. I would suggest that you put them on a full alfalfa diet. Alfalfa is a legume hay (might suggest some research on legume vs. grass hays) and tends to make horses hot, or more energetic than they might normally be. If you are just getting into riding, you probably don't need anymore go in your mounts than necessary.


Also, have someone knowledgeable check that your saddles fit. Not every saddle fits every horse and a horse in pain due to poor saddle fit is never good.


Have fun!
Thanks evilgreen! We did initial measuring and fitting with the saddles, and we think they're good, but we will have someone else look at them as well.
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post #8 of 26 Old 05-24-2017, 08:57 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanisMom View Post
I'm pretty sure evilgreen1 meant that you NOT put them on a full alfalfa diet. I personally would put them on full orchard grass if you have that option available. Unless of course, the mare is pregnant. Then you can do some research on how to feed a pregnant mare. But as stated, the alfalfa could give you more horse than you are equipped to handle. They don't need that much energy if they are just pleasure horses.

Have fun with your horses. You will get lot of help here with whatever issues you need to address.
LOL, I figured that's what evilgreen meant . Thanks!
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post #9 of 26 Old 05-25-2017, 12:13 AM
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Welcome and thank you for providing a home to a couple of horses that needed a new one. Enjoy your horse journey!

R.I.P. JC 5/19/85 - 12/9/14. You made my life better.
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post #10 of 26 Old 05-25-2017, 03:08 AM
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Very glad you got these horses.
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