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Discuss Help with feeding horses! at the Horse Health forum - Horse Forums.

I got my new mare 2 months ago, she's fab. She's in a very large ...
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    Help with feeding horses!

    I got my new mare 2 months ago, she's fab. She's in a very large paddock with one of my landlord's horses as a companion. I've arranged with my landlord to feed his horse as well as mine (he offered to have one of his worker's feed them both once a day, but my mare gets garlic and another supplement, so I thought it was easier to do it myself...plus I don't mind!). I feed them in the AM before work, and then in the PM. Everything was fine until this week. They would previously eat out of their respective buckets quite contently, but now the gelding has shown a bit more agression, and more interest in my mare's feed. He usually takes one bite of his feed, then moves on to hers. She backs away without much fight.

    Other things you should know:
    My mare eats Triple Crown, which I store in my house. The gelding eats a generic sweet feed kept outside by their paddock in a metal trash can which leaks.

    I presume there is a combination of issues, one being a dominance thing, the second being that his food is not nearly as pallatable.

    My landlord is super nice, and super rich, but also super lazy

    I bought a new trash can today, and went to his house to explain the leaky bin. I informed him that his food is spoiling, and I'm happy to keep his feed at my house.

    I think this will help eliminate part of the issue, but I don't expect it to solve the agression/dominance.

    I am a little hesitant to suggest he switch his horse to my feed! He's got 5 others kept in another paddock. I don't want to be super fussy, but I could possibly ask that he give me another horse to keep my mare company.

    Before I make other suggestions to my landlord, do you have any ideas?? In the evenings I could seperate them for meal time, but i'm always running late for work(!) in the mornings, and would rather not deal with the hassle...I want to ensure she's getting her feed, the right amount, and also not tempted by his nasty sweet feed bucket which is left unattended as he devoures hers!

    Thanks, and thanks for reading!!

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    Bumping up!

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    Senior Member+ Dunbar's Avatar
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    If you could separate them as much as possible, I would do that. Is there any way you can just put their food very far apart from one another and stand guard?

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    Senior Member+ Luna9's Avatar
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    Its not something that you can really fix when you pasture feed unless you either get lucky and your horses behave (lol) or unless you stand guard or separate them. When you arent present their instincts and hierarchy take over and the boss horse will always get what he/she wants. And most of the time what they want is the other horses food and sometimes everything for themselves. When I feed my 3 everyone is separated. Luna is pastured alone (with a shared fence line with the boys) and I pull Roscoe and stick him in the round pen while Kota eats in the pasture. This way everyone gets what they need and there is no arguing or horse chasing and Im free to do what ever else I need to do if my kids are up The only suggestion that I have is that maybe you get up earlier and stand guard or separate them to eat. I think it would be a little out of line on your part to ask your landlord to switch feeds, but thats my opinion.
    Annie (Smokin Skip Roanetta) ~ 7yr old AQHA mare
    **RIP Roscoe I miss ya big man!**

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    Ewwww leaky bin on grain? No wonder he doesn't want to eat his own food!

    You could try a couple things....like throwing a few goodies into his bucket to make it more 'appealing'.

    But now that he's had a taste of your mare's food, and has discovered he can move her off it, you may have to spend a few days standing between them and 'ahh ahhing' at him every time he starts to make a move towards her, try and catch him before he even gets the first foot moved. I have to seperate the herd at meals. My mare and my boarder's older mare go in stalls (leave it to the TB's to eat the most and the slowest!) my land lady's two get fed out in the big pasture about 20ft apart (they get same amount, and will leave eachother alone until feeders are empty, then they swap and lick eachother's bowls clean quite peacefully) my two boys and the other boarder mare get the same amount, and get fed in the dry lot, also about 20ft apart from eachother.

    Sometimes I have to lock everyone out of the drylot/barn area and feed the land lady's two first, then open the gate to let the tb's in so they can go in their stalls. Lock the others out, close the stalls (it's a shedrow barn), then set out the ground feeders for the other three and let them in. Since my land lady's two get so little grain, I'll throw some alfalfa cubes in their dishes when I do this to keep them happy and occupied. The first couple days were...interesting, but now everyone knows the routine and leaves eachother alone.
    ~I feel the need. The need for steed!~
    Proud Mama of a BLM Mustang, an OTTB and a Kiger Sporthorse

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    Thanks everyone for the suggestions. I'm new to pasture feeding, so I wasn't sure if there was some sort of "trick". I think getting up earlier *sigh* is my best option for now and either seperating them with by body, or physically feeding her in the arena, and him in the paddock (or vice versa).

    I have added carrots to his dinner, but he doesn't seem to make much difference. He's a little underweight, so I always give him more grain, in the hopes that 1. he'll fatten up and 2. he'll be too busy eating to mess with hers. However, because I feel that the food he gets isn't very nutricious, I haven't seen much of a weight gain. But, I agree, i'm not in a position to ask my landlord to switch feeds.

    The other option would be to remove the gelding altogether. She wouldn't share a fence border with the other horses, but she would be able to see everyone (seperated by a 10 ft driveway). The only reason the gelding is there is to keep her company, and technically the entire paddock is "mine". I haven't seen any other agression from the gelding other than mealtimes, though, they seem indifferent to each other the rest of the day. My last gelding HAD to be privately turned out as he was so low on the pecking order he was always beat up and lame, so i don't know about intentional isolation?

    Other thoughts?

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    Senior Member+ RyaneC's Avatar
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    We used to tie at feeding time. (I don't anymore because they do fine right now.) We were always outside while they were eating in case anything happened (and they've been on picket lines and stuff before too) but then if one finished before the other one they couldn't go help finish slowpoke's dinner. And it helped to reinforce tying. Never had any trainwrecks. I'm not saying I would recommend this for everyone and every horse, but it worked for us at that time.
    Sinbar Susie, 23yo APHA mare; SinbarsImpresiveHeart, 16yo APHA gelding; Kings Lil Cutter, 14yo AQHA/NFQHA mare; Pavarotti, 9yo Camelot rescue spotted donkey gelding; and Docs Dual Zan Jewels (pending) 2013 APHA filly

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    Unfortunately the gelding is...well...feral. He's nearly impossible to catch (even with food). The only time i've seen him caught the landlord use a make shift lasso (i'm not that coordinated!)

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    hehehehe I've fixed that before ask the formerly had to be cornered in a stall and chased there by someone on another horse mare in my backyard. She's a pocket pony now.

    Have you tried apple slices instead of carrots?

    Or the alfalfa cubes...I spent $14 two? months ago on the same back of forage cubes I'm still working on, and that's even with using them for treats now and then. So worth it. Keeps the boys busy for quite some time while I get the others situated and eating.
    ~I feel the need. The need for steed!~
    Proud Mama of a BLM Mustang, an OTTB and a Kiger Sporthorse

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    I have to go to Southern States tonight, So I will *reluctantly* buy a bag of the cubes! Did I mention my landlord is a millionaire? How cheeky if I knock off $14 off my rent check for the food? LOL

    I will give it a couple more weeks, if it doesn't work I will banish the gelding back to his herd of misfits and my spoiled pony will be the princess of her paddock.

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