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Discussion Starter #1
I live, and will probably die in an English saddle. My tack room, though bare bones tacked onto the side of a barn, is OCD level organized. Supplements and SmartPaks are all clearly marked with directions per horse in big black marker. If that's not clear enough, there are three sheets with per-horse feeding instructions (in bright colors!) laminated and hanging from a beam right in front of where food is mixed.

My favourite mare is a 8 y/o rescue who finally trusts people, but CANNOT so much look at carbs without becoming 17.2h of hyper maniac. The Old Man has to have soupy food with super complicated directions, because he's finally improving. Only three horses out of the nine horses are on anything other than grass, hay and salt block. This is the most simple thing on the face of the planet.

Please, everyone tell my mother this!

I've had horses since I was 12, and I've always been this way. Give horses exactly what they need, and they'll perform well. And I've never been wrong. My mother tries to feed the other six, who I fight to keep weight OFF OF, because she doesn't feel it's "fair" that some eat while the others don't.

I go to college and run the horse farm, I'm up at 5am for morning feeding, and finish the evening around 7pm. But quite often, I drive to the farm in the evening to find everyone "already fed!" and my tack room an absolute wreck. I have no idea what anyone's gotten, though all the buckets are gone, and there's way more than a day's worth of food missing. Because of the old man's choking problems, this is a massive deal. The supplements also get added, or not given altogether, because she doesn't think what I give them is right.

My rescue/show mare has huge trust and food aggression issues, but only with my mother. She doesn't like my mother at all, because my she assumes that because she feeds the horse, the mare will let her do anything. 17.2 hands of hyper 8 year old often has other ideas.

The main reason all of this feeding is such a disaster is that she just puts the buckets in the field and lets the fastest eaters fight over the slower eaters food. This creates high strung, moody horses that I then have to deal with. Not to mention a choking 30 year old.

A main point of contention is her favourite mare, who we will call Satan for the purposes of this post. Satan is not a bad horse, I will give her that. When she wants to be. For my mother, she is an angel, and almost bombproof. She's run me over twice, once nearly breaking my foot, the other nearly breaking my wrist. The horse is a terribly insecure alpha mare, and her bad habits have a tendency to spread to the other horses. It takes longer to separate Satan from the other horses so they can eat in peace than it does for me to finish bringing in all the others. She has hoof problems due to her weight, which I have been working to get off all winter. Arthritis meds and a joint concoction are given in liquid form shot into her mouth. The other day, without my knowledge, it was given over 8 quarts of Purina Strategy with 2qts of rolled oats.

I have absolutely no idea how to deal with my mom on this. I'm 20, work on the farm, and go to school. I cannot be there every minute to make sure she doesn't feed someone wrong, or give supplements or medications right. Every little thing I do wrong is a breaking point, where she will then be guaranteed to try to feed them while I'm gone. An honest conversation isn't working, god knows I've tried. She lives on-site. I wish I could lock the tack room.

Seriously considering putting the feed in the back of my Nova so it never stays at home.

Anyone ever dealt with someone like this, especially in their own family? Any advice?

Thank you so much!


3,254 Posts
Bring your mom into a room and sit her down, Intervention style. Stand before her looking very, very serious.

Now repeat after me:

"Mom, with all due respect, please don't feed my horses. Don't give my horses snacks or treats. Do NOT feed them. I've formulated a special diet plan for all of them, in the interest of their health. My gelding has choking problems, my mare is food aggressive and hyper and critically NEEDS to be fed properly. All my other horses DON'T NEED food. Don't feed them. Ever. EVER."

There. Now your mom knows clearly what is going on. Continue by telling her if she feeds your horses one more time, you are putting the food in the back of your truck. Be sure to explain the special dietary needs of your horses -- exactly why she cannot, under any circumstances, feed them-- and that the grain-less horses feel no envy towards those getting grain. They are horses, not people.

Finish the conversation with a to the point, "Mom. Do. Not. Feed. Them. EVER. EVER EVER."

If she point blank disobeys your orders, that just gives you more ammunition. She disobeys one time, I recommends throwing a fit. Not a hissy fit, but having a talk with considerable emotion regarding the feeding of these horses. Rant. Allow one more strike before moving the food to your car and putting a lock on your tack room. Continue to act cagey unto your mother seeks repentance. Not that it'll matter, because that tack room should stay locked far into the future. ;)
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