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Our grass is maturing and our horses are getting used to grazing at least an hour a day. Our goal is to be able to turn the horses out overnight for an 8 hour graze. When a horse spends any time on pasture whether for grazing or turnout, there are certain things we as managers should pay attention to so that our horses are safe and healthy.

Horse Management – Pasture Life

Part of the dream of having a horse is the visual satisfaction of seeing a horse peacefully grazing on a well-maintained pasture at your home. Pasturing a horse might be the most natural way to keep a horse, but unfortunately, it is out of reach for many and can be far from ideal from a horse’s viewpoint. For the best chance for success, start with a good pasture.

A good pasture has a stand of plants suitable for horses. The best kind of horse pasture is a well-drained grass mix with few weeds and NO poisonous weeds, trees or shrubs. If there is a good grass stand established, you have decent rainfall or access to irrigation, and you mow, harrow and reseed as necessary, you should be able to keep one horse on 2 acres of pasture during the growing season. However, arid ranchland with minimal browse plants can require 20 acres or more to support a single horse. To get a better idea of the specific stocking rate for your property, contact your county extension agent.

A pasture needs to be enclosed with safe fencing and gates. Pasture fences and gates should be at least 5 feet tall and well maintained to maximize the horses’ safety and minimize the liability of loose horses on public or private property. Using electric fencing in conjunction with conventional fencing decreases the wear and tear on fences and adds to security as long as the electric fence is checked daily to be sure it is working.

There should be no old dumps or farm equipment in a pasture; horses can easily get hurt on items hidden by tall grass.

There should be easy and safe access to free choice, good quality water. Natural sources should be running, not stagnant. Know the source of the water your horse drinks. If it contains agricultural runoff, it could be high in nitrates. A trough or automatic waterer should be kept clean and situated to minimize mud and to prevent a horse from being crowded into a corner or against a fence.

Pastures should be well drained with no bogs or stagnant water and preferably the soil should not be not sandy.

The pasture should provide shelter – either natural (trees, rocks or terrain) or man-made (shed or windbreak) to ward off sun, wind, cold precipitation, and insects.

There should be free choice salt and mineral blocks at all times.

Pros and cons of pasture life. See the book Horsekeeping on a Small Acreage.

Horsekeeping on a Small Acreage by Cherry Hill

Horsekeeping on a Small Acreage by Cherry Hill

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Horse Management:

Keeping a Horse in a Pen or a Run

©  2010 Cherry Hill © Copyright Information

Just when we were getting the horses used to some grazing, we got some crazy weather that dumped a lot of rain on us. Being that this is a semi-arid area with between 15-17 inches of moisture per year, we are ALWAYS glad of any rain or snow. However, because of the low annual moisture, our pastures are very fragile and it would take them a lot of time to recover from hoof damage during muddy weather or “whole plant grazing”. That’s often what happens when it is wet here – the horse takes a bite and instead of the grass breaking off, the horse pulls the whole plant out, roots and all.  I think of how long it took that grass plant to establish and survive over the weeds yet in one casual nip, its gone. That’s a bad thing !

So to be the best stewards of the horse AND the land that we can be, when it is muddy, like it is today, the horses must stay in their large sheltered pens. They are often called “sacrifice pens” because the pasture that once was where the pens are now has been sacrificed – there is no vegetation.

Keeping a horse in a large pen or run is often a necessity so here are some guidelines about pen life for horses.

Horsekeeping on a Small Acreage by Cherry Hill

Keeping a Horse in a Pen or Run

When you want your horse to have some room to move around but you don’t have access to a pasture, a good set up can be a group pen or individual run. These are usually located adjacent to a barn or other covered shelter and can vary in size from a bare minimum of 16’ x 60’ individual run off a stall to a 60’ x 100’ or larger pen off the end of a barn or loafing shed for a group of horses.

A good pen has safe, durable fencing and comfortable, well-draining footing. The pen should be located on high ground and be situated such that the horses can take shelter from cold wind, wet weather, hot sun and insects as needed. There should be a clean place to feed and a comfortable place for horses to lie down. To prevent feed from blowing away, windscreens can be attached to the outside of the panels.

The land in pens and runs is considered “sacrifice” because no vegetation is expected to survive the constant traffic. If the natural lay of the land doesn’t slope away from the barn or shed, then excavation should remedy this so that the shelter under the building is high and dry and the pen or run gradually slopes, about 2 degrees, away from the building.

Depending on the native soil, footing can be added to provide cushion and minimize mud. Some choices are decomposed granite, road base, and pea gravel.

A sheltered feeding area with rubber mats allows a horse to eat off ground level without ingesting sand or wasting feed.

In the loafing area of the pen, bedding can be used to encourage a horse to lie down but it usually invites a horse to defecate and urinate there also. This behavior can be minimized or eliminated by locking a horse out of the loafing or eating areas except during specific times.

Pen fencing can be made from metal panels or continuous fencing. Panels don’t require setting posts so are more adaptable to changing pen size or shape. Whatever pen fencing is used, it needs to be tall enough (5’ is OK, 6’ is better) and strong enough to withstand roughhousing, rubbing, and playing across the fence. Panel connections should be tight and safe.

Pros and cons of pen life. See the book Horsekeeping on a Small Acreage.

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Catching a Horse on Pasture

©  2010 Cherry Hill © Copyright Information

We’ve been turning our horses out on grass for limited grazing for a few days now and they are certainly enjoying the green grass. It is not surprising that when we head out to bring them back in, they are in the farthest corner of the pasture. It is interesting to note the different personalities when it comes to catching on pasture. Some of my horses come running at a thundering gallop at a whistle, others will start moseying up to the gate once they see people headed that way, but most horses, and who can blame them especially when they are only out for 1/2 hour to 1 hour a day, just keep on grazing !

Now with the grazing type, there are those that graze their way toward you and then when you get close enough, stop eating and walk up to you. Others stop eating and let you walk up to them.

But the ones that pretend they don’t see you coming and kind turn away a little bit and start grazing AWAY from you OR, worse yet, those that choose the catching time as the opportunity to finally exercise a little and blast around the pasture……well those are the horses that need some review on catching.

A few readers have written about catching problems. Here are their questions and my answers.

Dear Cherry,

My traveling horse is prone to need to be followed around for about 2-3 minutes to get caught. Any ideas how to correct the problem? My grandpa had a horse that would come to his whistle. That would be much nicer.

Thank You! – TJ

Hi TJ,

What happens if you don’t follow the horse around but just stand still – does he show interest in turning and looking at you or does he turn away? Maybe you are approaching him as if you are in a hurry to catch him and that tends to drive him forward.

The best method to use if the horse is moving away from you is the walk down method. You start in a small space such as a stall or a small pen and you walk toward the horse’s shoulder, not looking him in the eye. When he stops, go up, scratch him on the neck or withers, then walk away from him. Do this over until you can just walk up to him in a small space. He will learn that every time you approach him, you do not necessarily catch him and work him.

Gradually move to larger areas. Repeat the procedure.

How  to Think Like A Horse by Cherry HillThis is really the oldest, time-tested way – it does take time and patience. If you discipline the horse when you finally catch him, it will teach him to not be caught in the future. So even if you are irritated that you had to walk for 3-5 minutes before he finally stopped, resist the temptation to give him a scolding or a jerk on the halter. Instead, give him a scratch and walk away.

If you have a round pen, you can free longe the horse until he’s got the edge off him and then tell him “whoa” and then walk up to him. If he moves away from you, you can exercise him some more.

Pretty soon the horse learns that being caught is his best alternative and nothing bad is going to happen once he is caught.

Have fun.Cherry  Hill

Reference: How To Think Like A Horse

Dear Cherry Hill,

I have recently been presented with two problems I am not sure how to handle. I do not own my own horse.  I am fortunate enough to be able to ride a friend’s horse because she doesn’t ride her much.

The horse I ride is a 22 y.o. mare who was trained as a show horse and who was rescued by my friend from very inhumane conditions.  Mary Lou is a sensitive and Spunky horse who has also developed some bad manners over the years.  I am only able to ride her once a week which means I probably only spend 4 hours with her a week.  You can probably sense that this may be a problem in and of itself.  I am not a very experienced horseperson although it has been a passion all my life, if only in my daydreams and playtime!  I am realizing now with my new situation that going to camps and saving my allowance to rent horses every weekend as a child/pre-teen is not the same as owning and caring for and disciplining and training and riding your own horse!  There are many, many things you cannot learn unless you handle the details of owning a horse from beginning to end.

Recently my friend put Mary Lou (and her other horse) out to pasture on a neighbor’s property.  This neighbor has two horses that are also out in the pasture.  I recently embarked on my first trip to retrieve Mary Lou from the pasture.  The first thing that happened was that I found myself surrounded by the other three horses, who were nipping at each other and Mary Lou.  I remained calm and grounded and safely lead her out of the gate, but I realized that this was a potentially hazardous situation.  I am comfortable with Mary Lou’s stablemate, but not with the other two horses, who are not exactly placid and dull.  (They are beautiful Appaloosas.)  My first question is: How do I safely retrieve her from the pasture under these circumstances?  (I may want to note here that I took carrots out to the pasture for the horses and perhaps that was not wise and not helpful in that situation.)

After I got Mary Lou out the gate and heading toward her stable, she started screaming loud and hard and turning back toward the pasture.  She was jumpy and tense.  She usually does not like to be taken from her stablemate, but she has never acted as intensely as this time.  She continued this behavior the entire time I had her away from the pasture and her pals.  I was able to ride her and she behaved fairly well, but I am hoping there is a way to calm her down and discipline her appropriately so she will not think I condone this behavior.  So, my second question is: How do I appropriately discipline her throwing such a fit and how do I help her to calm down and trust that I am not going to ruin her life by taking her away from her friends for a few hours?

Thanks,   Deb


Hi Deb,

Thanks for you well presented question.

First, there is no “safe” way for one person to get a horse out of a group on a pasture.  It is risky no matter which horses are in the group and no matter who goes to get them.  That’s because the horses have been interacting via horse behavior modes for hours or days and all of a sudden a human comes into the picture.  Now, even if the horses are “well trained”, they still are horses in a herd with a pecking order (dominance hierarchy) so depending which horse you take out (top or bottom on totem pole or somewhere in between) will dictate how the rest of the horses will interact.

As you discovered, taking food out with you only intensifies competitive behavior so is not a good idea.

Ideally, two or more people should go out so that while one halters the horse that is wanted, the others can “run interference” which might just mean standing in a certain position to keep you safe while you halter and then lead out and to help you get out the gate safely. As far as the herd bound behavior the horse exhibited once you started taking her away from the herd, once again, this is a very common problem because horses are social creatures with strong herd ties and once horses are turned out on pasture together, they really can form strong bonds.  Herd bound or buddy bound is very similar to barn sour (the attachment is to a horse, or herd or barn with horses in it) so be sure to read the 2 articles on my site about barn sour behavior.

You probably already suspect that your 4 hours a week with this horse compared to the 164 hours a week she spends with the herd just isn’t going to stack the deck in your favor.

That’s why, if at all possible, if you can spend more time regularly, such as taking her out at feeding time, bringing her up to the barn and feeding her (reward away from the group!), then grooming and riding, she will begin to form a bond with you.  As it is, she is anxious because her security and daily routines are more connected to the horses left on the pasture.

I keep all of my horses in separate pastures or pens. They are fed individually and worked individually. Occasionally they are turned out with mates for exercise and grazing but I usually change who goes out with who and when and in which pasture just to keep them from getting too attached to any horse or routine.

I hope this gives you some insight.  I know that you are trying to work in your situation the best you can.  Good luck


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Monitor Your Horse’s Feed:

Turn Your Horses out on Pasture Gradually

©  2010 Cherry Hill © Copyright Information

This is that time of year when we begin introducing our horses to pasture again – gradually.

I start by giving the horse’s a normal hay ration in the morning and turning them out at 10 AM for 1/2 hour. I do this for several days.

I keep an eye on each horse looking for signs of discomfort or loose manure. If all is well, the horses are left out for an hour. I do this for several days.

Then I increase turnout time by 1/2 hour per grazing period and hold at the new level for several days.

When the horses are up to 2 hours of grazing, their morning hay ration is reduced according to the individual horse’s needs.

When the horses are up to 4 hours of grazing, I sometimes split turnout into two 2 hour sessions, one in the morning and one in the evening.

At about the 3 week point, the horses are grazing for 6-8 hours per day and receive token hay rations.

At that point, I shift to our normal turnout program which is to turn the horses out at dark until just before dawn. Here, this time of year, that is about 10 PM to 6 AM.

Then each morning we “jingle” the horses, that is gather them up and put them in their individual sheltered pens where they can get out of the sun and stay away from insects. According to each horse’s individual needs, hay is fed at mid-day.

Using this management plan works well for us here at 6700 feet in semi-arid Colorado. It allows the horses to get used to the pasture grass gradually and the horses are conveniently located up at the buildings during the day for grooming, tacking and riding.

Horsekeeping on a Small Acreage by Cherry Hill

Horsekeeping on a Small Acreage by Cherry Hill

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Bad Habits in Horses

©  2010 Cherry Hill © Copyright Information

Horses are some of the kindest, most generous and trainable animal partners you can find.  That’s why when a horse does something “bad”, it’s usually due to poor management or training.  In order to deal with vices and bad habits, we need to understand what causes them.  THEN we can design our horse care and training to PREVENT them.

How to Think Like a Horse by Cherry Hill

How to Think Like a Horse by Cherry Hill

A vice is an abnormal behavior that usually shows up in the barn or stable environment that results from confinement, improper management, or lack of exercise.  A vice can affect a horse’s usefulness, dependability, and health.  Examples are cribbing, weaving, and self-mutilation. (see an upcoming post on Vices)

A bad habit is an undesirable behavior that occurs during training or handling and is usually a result of poor techniques and a lack of understanding of horse behavior.  Examples are rearing, halter pulling, striking and kicking.

Bad Habits in Horses
©  2002 Cherry Hill www.horsekeeping.com

HABIT

DESCRIPTION

CAUSES

TREATMENT

Balking Refusal to go forward often followed by violent temper if rider insists. Fear, heavy hands, stubbornness, extreme fatigue. Curable.
Review forward work with in-hand & longeing.
Turn horse’s head to untrack left or right.
Strong driving aids with no conflicting restraining aids (no pull on bit).
Do not try to force horse forward by pulling – you’ll lose.
Barn Sour
Herd Bound
Balking, rearing, swinging around, screaming and then rushing back to the barn or herd. Separation from buddies or barn (food, comfort). Curable but stubborn cases require professional.
A confident, capable trainer that insists the horse leave the barn (herd) and then positively reinforces the horse’s good behavior so horse develops confidence.
The lessons GO and WHOA must both be reviewed.
Biting Nibbling with lips or grabbing with teeth especially young horses. Greed (treats), playfulness (curiosity) or resentment (irritated or sore). Investigate things with mouth. Often from hand-feeding treats. Curable. Handle lips, muzzle, & nostrils regularly in a business-like way; when horse nips, tug on nose chain, then resume as if nothing happened.
Can also use thumb tack on sleeve; hold wire brush toward lips; use muzzle.
Bolting When Turned Loose Wheels away suddenly before halter is fully removed. Poor handling, anxious to exercise or join other horses. Curable but dangerous as horse often kicks as he wheels away.
Use treats on ground before you remove halter; use rope around the neck.
Bucking Arching the back, lowering the head, kicking with hind or leaping. High spirits, get rid of rider or tack, sensitive or sore back, reaction to legs or spurs. Monitor feed and exercise; proper progressive training; check tack fit.
Can’t Catch Avoids humans with halter and lead. Fear, resentment, disrespect, bad habit. Curable. Take time to properly train, use walk-down method in small area first, progress to larger. Remove other horses from pasture; treats on ground, never punish horse once caught.
Can’t Handle Feet Swaying, leaning, rearing, jerking foot away, kicking, striking. Insufficient or improper training. Horse hasn’t learned to cooperate, balance on 3 legs, take pressure and movement of farrier work. Curable but persistent cases require professional.
Thorough, systematic conditioning and restraint lessons: pick up foot, hold in both flexed & extended positions for several minutes while cleaning, grooming, rubbing leg, coronary band, bulbs etc.
Halter Pulling Rearing or setting back when tied, often until something breaks or horse falls and/or hangs by halter. Rushed, poor halter training, using weak equipment or unsafe facilities so horse gets free by breaking something.
Often horse was tied by bridle reins and broke free.
Can be curable but very dangerous and incurable in some chronic cases which require professional.
Might use stiff bristled broom on the rump or wither rope on advice of professional.
Head Shy Moves head away during grooming, bridling, clipping, vet work. Initially rough handling or insufficient conditioning, painful ears or mouth problems. Curable. First eliminate medical reasons such as ear, tongue, lip or dental problems.
Start from square one with handling; after horse allows touching, then teach him to put head down.
Jigging Short, stilted walk/jog with hollow back and high head. Poor training attempt at collection, horse not trained to aids, too strong bridle aids, sore back. Curable. Check tack fit, use aids properly including use of pressure/release (half halt) to bring horse to walk or use strong driving aids to push horse into active trot.
Kicking Lashing back at a person with one or both hind legs, also “cow kicking” which is lashing out to the side. Initially reflex to touching legs, then fear (defense) of rough handling or to get rid of a threat or unwanted nuisance. Might be curable but serious cases are very dangerous and require professional to use remedial restraint methods.
Unlikely to ever completely cure.
Rearing Standing on hind legs when led or ridden, sometimes falling over backwards. Fear, rough handling, doesn’t think he must go forward or is afraid to go forward into contact with bit; associated with balking; a response to collected work. Can be curable but is a very dangerous habit that might be impossible to cure even by professional.
Check to be sure no mouth or back problems.
Review going forward in-hand with a whip and review longeing.
Running Away;
Bolting
Galloping out of control. Fear, panic, (flight response), lack of training to the aids, overfeeding, under exercise, pain from poor fitting tack. Might be curable but very dangerous as when horse panics, can run into traffic, over cliff, through fence, etc.; remedy is to pull (with pressure and release) the horse into a large circle, gradually decreasing the size.
Shying Spooking at real or imagined sights, sounds, smells, or occurrences. Fear (of object or of trainer’s reaction to horse’s behavior), poor vision, head being forcibly held so horse can’t see, playful habit. Generally curable.
Put horse on aids and guide and control his movement with driving and restraining aids
Striking Taking a swipe at a person with a front leg. Reaction to clipping, first use of chain or twitch, restraint of head, dental work. Curable but very dangerous especially if coupled with rearing as person’s head could be struck.
Review head handling (mouth, nostrils, ears); head down lesson; and thorough body handling and sacking out.
Stumbling Losing balance or catching the toe on the ground and missing a beat or falling. Weakness, lack of coordination, lack of condition, young, lazy, long toe/low heel, delayed breakover of hooves, horse ridden on forehand, poor footing. Curable.
Have hoof balance assessed, check breakover, ride horse with more weight on the hindquarters (collect), conditioning horse properly.
Tail Wringing Switching and/or rotating tail in an irritated or angry fashion. Sore back from poor fitting tack, poorly balanced rider, injury, rushed training. May not be curable once established.
Proper saddle fit, rider lessons, massage and other medical therapy, proper warm-up & progressive, achievable training demands.

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Keeping Your Horse Healthy – Part 1

©  2010 Cherry Hill © Copyright Information

Mary keeps her two horses at the same boarding stable where you’ve just moved Jones, your new gelding.  Mary’s gelding Blaze has heaves, requires specialized shoeing that costs twice the normal fee, gets special feed for his dry skin, and each day has a 50/50 chance of being sound to ride.  Her mare Dolly is gorgeous but she’s constantly on a diet, is a chronic wood chewer and tail rubber and frequently colics.  The problems that Mary has with her horses have you in a panic every time Jones lies down or stumbles.

The bad news is that Blaze and Dolly might always have these problems and Mary will always have higher than normal feed, veterinary, and farrier bills.

The good news is that all of these problems are preventable with good health management.  If you are a keen observer and follow good horse management, Jones will stay in tiptop shape and your budget won’t bust!

Our horses depend on us to take good care of them.  We need to pay specific attention to feeding, sanitation, grooming, hoof care, veterinary care, and facilities management.

FEEDING

Cherry Hill's Horsekeeping AlmanacYour horse will quickly tell you that feeding is the number one priority!  In fact, a good appetite is the best sign that your horse is feeling well.  But if you left it up to your horse, he’d eat himself sick.  So you need to keep your horse at a healthy weight.  If he is too thin, he may lack energy, be weak, cold and less able to ward off illness.  If he is overweight, his limbs are unduly stressed and he’s more likely to founder.  Know your horse’s weight so you can feed and deworm him accurately.  Use a weight tape to encircle his heart girth.  Record his weight and monitor it frequently.  A long winter coat can be deceiving.

Hay is the mainstay of any horse’s diet.  Grass, the traditional “safe” horse hay, includes timothy, brome, and orchard grass.  Alfalfa hay which has higher protein, three times the calcium and more vitamins than grass hay, is often fed to young, growing horses and lactating broodmares.
Good hay is free of mold, dust, and weeds and has a bright green color and a fresh smell.  It is leafy, soft, and dry but not brittle.

Feed about 2 pounds of hay per day for every 100 pounds of body weight. A 1000 # horse would get 20 pounds split into two 10 pound feedings. Feed hay by weight not flakes. Two flakes of dense alfalfa hay could weigh as much as 14 pounds while two flakes of fluffy, loose grass might only weigh 4 pounds!

Grain should be fed only to horses that require it; many do not.  Young horses, horses in hard work, pregnant mares, and mares with foals usually need grain and supplements.  Oats provide fiber (from their hulls) and energy (from the kernel) and are the safest horse grain.  Corn has a very thin covering so does not provide much fiber but provides twice the energy content as the same volume of oats.  Commercial feeds come as pellets or grain mixes.  Pellets can contain both hay and grain.  “Sweet feed” grain mixes are usually made up of oats or barley and corn, molasses and a protein pellet.

Grain should be fed by weight, not volume.  A two pound coffee can holds 1.1 pounds of bran, 2.1 pounds of sweet feed, and 2.9 pounds of pelleted feed so feeding by “the can” is inaccurate.

To avoid competition, fighting, and unequal rations, feed each horse individually.  If a horse gobbles his grain, it can cause choking, inadequate chewing and poor feed utilization.  To slow him down, feed hay first, and then grain.  Add golf ball sized rocks to the grain and use a large shallow pan rather than a small, deep bucket.

Minerals Because soils, hay and grain vary widely in their mineral content, your horse needs free choice trace mineral salt.  Trace mineral salt is regular “table salt” (sodium chloride) with important minerals added.  An even better mineral block is a 12% Calcium/12% Phosphorus Trace Mineral Salt Block.

Water If a horse lacks water, he can lose his appetite and colic.  A horse drinks about 8-10 gallons of water a day usually an hour or two after eating hay.  But be sure a horse always has good quality, free-choice water.
In winter, a horse should not be expected to eat snow, as it would take too long and too much body heat for him to melt it.

When a horse is hot from exercise, only let him sip water.  Walk him in between sips.  When he has stabilized, feed him grass hay and allow him his fill of water.

Horsekeeping On A Small Acreage Pasture Since pasture provides excellent exercise and nutrients, make best use of it by grazing it when it is 4 to 6 inches tall.  As soon as it is grazed down, move the horse to another pasture.
Before turning a horse out to pasture the first time, give him a full feed of hay.  Limit grazing to one-half hour per day for the first two days; then one-half hour twice a day for two days; then one hour twice a day and so on.  Pasture horses can quickly become overweight or founder from too much lush pasture.

Feeding Safety Since the digestive system of horses is designed to handle small frequent meals, feed two to three times every day.  Feed at the same time every day.  Horses have a strong biological clock; feeding late or inconsistently can result in colic and unpleasant stable vices and bad habits.
Make all changes in feed gradually whether it’s a change in type or amount.  If your horse gets 2 pounds of grain per feeding and you want to increase, feed 2 ½ pounds for at least two days.  Then increase to 3 pounds.

If you are changing hay, feed ¾ “old” hay and ¼ of “new” hay for 2 days.  Then feed ½ old hay and ½ new hay for two days.  Then feed ¼ old hay and ¾ new hay for 2 days.  Finally, feed all new hay.
Don’t feed a horse immediately after hard work and don’t work a horse until at least one hour after a full feed.  If you feed 2 pounds of grain or more per feeding and your horse has not been exercised for a few days, warm him up slowly to avoid “tying up” his muscles.  If your horse will be out of work, decrease his grain ration.  When he comes back to work, increase grain gradually.

Feeding at ground level is natural and provides a horse with a good neck and back stretch.  But if a horse eats sand with his feed, it can accumulate at the bottom of his intestine and he could colic.  Use feeders or rubber mats in the feeding area and consider feeding psyllium to purge sand from the intestines.

Gateway SU-PER Psyllium

Feeders need to be clean and safe.  Moldy or spoiled feed can cause colic.  Sharp edges, broken parts, loose wires or nails can injure your horse’s head.  Tie hay nets securely and high enough so your horse can not get his leg caught in the net.

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