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post #1 of 13 Old 03-13-2016, 12:31 AM Thread Starter
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I am getting a Morgan mare on Monday (pending vet check). She is 10 years old and has been stalled most of her life, with turn outs. The barn I will have her in does outside pasture with access to hay 24/7. Can anyone give me an idea how to transition her into this? Also, is just hay enough to feed her, or should she get suppliment? I'm planning on using her for trail riding.
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post #2 of 13 Old 03-13-2016, 12:47 AM
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In my experience, if you take a horse whose stalled, and turn them out on 24/7 hay, for the first day or two (or three for the big piglets like my mare) they will stand by that hay abd eat and eat and eat. During this time, I wouldn't give any grain. They are full enough. After that period of time, they realize that they hay isn't going anywhere, and they calm down about it and go about their horsey business.

Whether ornot your horse will need a supplemental feed is completely up to the horse. If the hay is good quality, abd she's eating enough of it to stay healthy, then I wouldn't worry about it.

Personally, while my horses were out on 24/7 hay, I noticed my older gelding not holding weight well, and all of my horses lost the shine in their coats. So I began giving the gelding a good quality grain and flax seed, abd the others got two handfuls of grain and their flax seed. The older gelding still had problems holding weight, but it's much better. And they all have their shine back.

So if you notice your horse losing weight on just the hay, add a hard feed (or beet pulp, or rice bran) for calories. If you notice hoof/coat problems, add a supplement for that.
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post #3 of 13 Old 03-13-2016, 12:50 PM
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She may not have any problems at all if she was turned out on grass (very regularly) previously but in the Spring when all the fresh grass starts growing, we always hand graze every day for at least a week before just turning them loose.

Going from too much stall time straight to grazing in a lush field for hours can lead to serious problems, colic and founder being the biggest worry.

If the pasture is quite large with good grass, she may get by without hay. Keep an eye on her though and watch her weight.
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post #4 of 13 Old 03-13-2016, 02:02 PM
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All depends on the quality of hay and grass in the pasture in combination with how hard you ride her if she'll need supplemental feed or not. Just keep an eye on her weight.

Now here's the trick part of the equation. Most stabled horses are on the fat side from being over fed (owners don't complain about a fat horse but do a skinny one) and can't self exercise while standing in a stall so have flabby muscles unless regularly exercised. Put a horse in a pasture where they can actually move and you'll start seeing them tone up a bit. Start muscling up your horse with regularly riding and you'll see even more changes to their body. All to many people see these changes and say their horse is getting thin so start slapping the food to them when in fact all they are seeing is their horse get in shape. There is also different body types so please educate yourself on what the proper weight looks like on a horse with her build before deciding if she needs more feed or not.

As an example of build, I know someone who has owned a lot of QH's in their life. They bought their first TWH who first of all has a thin build and secondly no walker has a butt to match a QH's. They over feeds the TWH (read extremely fat!) because they keeps looking at her butt and thinking she's skinny because that butt doesn't look like their QH's butts. The butts will never match no matter how much feed you stuff into her but they keep trying...
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post #5 of 13 Old 03-13-2016, 07:11 PM
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Was she turned out on grass with previous owner/barn? What supplement (if any) are they currently giving her?
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post #6 of 13 Old 03-15-2016, 06:51 AM
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Being stalled all her life to being able to be out in a paddock 24/7 & free choice hay is great! Hopefully she's finally allowed *& able* to be a horse. As Darrin says, & in my experience too, stalled horses are also more likely to be overfed on too rich feed & under exercised. They're also more likely to be fed in 'square' meals - more than 2 a day, if they're lucky, rather than eating little & often as nature intended. Hopefully the paddock environ is also one which motivates exercise. So she's likely to be healthier for many reasons when out too, not just for emotional/mental reasons.

Along with the hay, I do believe that for nutritional balance, not calories, horses generally need supplementing. Often a handful of a good quality 'ration balancer' or mineral supp for your horse's conditions is all that's needed. It's best to do a diet analysis or consult a nutritionist who knows the local area if poss, to work out what she may need more or less of though, rather than feeding supps willy nilly. On top of that, IF she were fed unhealthily, either in what she ate or how it was fed, she may have ulcers or gut trouble & need treating for that too. But I'd generally start with the basics & consider that once she's settled in myself.

Re my comment '*if she's able to be a horse', if she's been kept in solitary confinement(over the fence/wall isn't the same as being part of a social group) nearly all her life, that could be a problem, as she may not know how to relate to other horses when she's finally able to go out with others. Even then, most horses are fine(after some initial anxiety) and hopefully she was turned out with others anyway.

All in all, it's a good thing & shouldn't be any great hassle for her IME.
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post #7 of 13 Old 03-15-2016, 10:10 PM
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OP, just to clarify - has she literally been in a stall all her life? Or in a boarding situation where she was in a stall, but had daily turnout in paddock or field? That definitely makes a difference IMHO.
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post #8 of 13 Old 03-15-2016, 10:39 PM
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morgans tend to be easy keepers, as a general thing. she may not need any supplement at all, indeed, your greater concern may become to keep her from getting TOO fat.
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post #9 of 13 Old 03-15-2016, 10:43 PM
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Originally Posted by beverleyy View Post
Was she turned out on grass with previous owner/barn? What supplement (if any) are they currently giving her?
Yes, find out her current feed program with supplements, that will give you some idea however your circumstances will be different.
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post #10 of 13 Old 03-16-2016, 05:22 PM
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Be careful with a Morgan, they are
usually very easy keepers and have a tendency for metabolic problems and laminitis. Most of them actually do not do well on 24/7 feed.
I had to find out with mine the hard way, have spent over a year to recover him from laminitis/founder and will have to maintain him carefully for the rest if his life.
Thisdoesn't mean your mare is the same, but it's very common in Morgans.
So I would approach this carefully, monitor her weight dilligently, and have a plan B in place in case the 24/7 hay does not work out.
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