FEEDING

Feed time can be the highlight of a horse's day, but can also be a time of great stress. Many places feed large numbers of horses by putting the feed in pans on the ground throughout the field or in buckets along the fences. Conventional wisdom says to use at least one more feeding spot than are horses in the group. That's well and good.... if all the horses are in similar condition and temperament, get the same ration, and eat at the same pace. We all know that in any group of horses that's just not so. I find that it creates havoc and stress for the horses, as the more dominant ones race around snatching all the feed they can and the more timid and slow eaters get the short stick. 

It is the LAW here at Idylwood that feed time is sacred, and no horse is bothered while he eats. We have had owners warn us that their horse is aggressive at feed time. I've found that what's called aggressiveness is actually defensive behavior because they're worried someone else is going to get their share. After a few days they begin to catch on that that's just not going to happen and become much calmer while eating. Also, since EACH horse's ration is individualized to their needs, it is essential that they get theirs and theirs alone. Since there's not enough room in the barn for everyone to get an inside feed spot at the same time, we've created outside stalls with portable corral panels.

We feed twice a day, using exclusively Legends and Triple Crown feeds.

 

Even though we feed half ton round bales during the cold season, I put out flakes of square bales around the pasture each evening so the ones that don't like the crowd around the rolls can eat hay in peace.

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