Nikki Livermore

Feeding The Easy Keeper

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Yes, tried and true advice. I would add that you should feed hay in a small mesh hay net. That allows the horse to get very small amounts at a time. And he can eat all day, and get as much or less than he would eat otherwise.

It also provides "chew time" for horses. Some research indicates that horses don't really realize they are full unless they have enough chew time.

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It also provides "chew time" for horses. Some research indicates that horses don't really realize they are full unless they have enough chew time.

That's funny! Fuego was fat as a tick 2 winters ago and he was not working very much so I gave him a couple jolly balls and he would "chew" them for hours! He finally got back to a reasonable weight. I think he was just bored so he kept eating the round bale because there was nothing else do to. Once he had toys he ate less. [ROTFL]

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Some research indicates that horses don't really realize they are full unless they have enough chew time.

I think that's true for humans, too.

Edited by iluvspots

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Don't forget nutrition when cutting out hard feeds and remember "most" are designed to be fed at around 5lbs

so be sure to provide a good vitamin/mineral supplement or ration balancer in thier place

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Once my grass pastured (6+acres) gelding turned 5 years old he started being an easy keeper. I , along with my vet, noticed that he had started gaining too much weight, so I started cutting his feed. Eventually, I ended up cutting his feed to about a 1/4 dry measuring cup per day, just enough to mix with his vitamin supplements. I was still giving him hay in the winter (2 flakes at night) because I had always been hesitant to go with just grass during the winter. His weight gain slowed down a lot, but he was still slightly gaining, and after he turned 7yrs old looking really chunky, my vet suggested for me to dry lot him for half the day. I really didn't want to do that because knowing my horse, standing around for half a day in a grass barren paddock with a few toys would not be a good thing for him. Of course if it was the only way for him to lose weight and prevent health problems, I'd do it, but as a last resort. I decided I would just go cold turkey and take away the night time winter hay supplementation. I don't know why, but it was hard for me to do that, and that first winter I had a sick feeling in my stomach every time I walked away without giving him some hay. He seemed ok, and the only difference I noticed was that his grazing increased. He grazed more during the day, and at night, instead of standing in his stall chewing hay, he was out walking around and , you guessed it- grazing! LOL! That spring when he shed out, he looked like he lost weight. Not much, but enough to make me think I might be on the right track. The next winter I did the same thing and he lost a little more. Third winter, no hay supplement, and he was really looking better. He probably shouldn't wear a string bikini, but he wouldn't embarrass himself in a skimpy one-piece. So as of now it's been 5 winters since I quit with hay supplementation, and though I don't think he's still loosing weight, he looks pretty healthy. I'm thinking his weight has stabilized, nonetheless, I'll keep an eye on him for weight gain or loss. The only thing I give him currently is a seaweed micro-mineral supplement and a vitamin supplement that is supposed to be formulated for easy keepers on grass. I've also noticed that he seems better toned in his muscles, so maybe the increase in roaming while grazing has made the difference. I think I made the right decision for my horse's health, but I live in the south, and our winters aren't so harsh that night time winter grazing would be dangerous, so for someone else, dry lotting a horse may have worked out better.

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