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Help with feed please

37 replies

NagNagN4g · 09/10/2018 07:48

So I’ve had my horse for a month, all’s going well and he’s finally settling into his new routine.

Due to not having a school I can only hack him out or lunge him in an open field. I’ve only been brave enough to hack out by myself twice, the rest of the time I’ve ridden with my friend but due to her work hours that’s only been once a week. He naps a little bit when we first go out, and will just stop and stare, a little squeeze and some encouragement and we’re on our way, he’ll do it a few times but then be ok. He’s very ‘looky’ and whilst I wouldn’t say he’s spooky he’s on high alert all the time and gives various things a wide berth (we can be walking along nicely then before I know it we’re going sideways and looking down at something scary in the bushes!). I don’t think he was like this in his old home. I hacked him out and he just bumbled along. I don’t feel unsafe on him at all, he has very good brakes (snaffle) and a little squeeze and he halts or steadies himself (he’s very forward going).

Anyhoo, I’m beginning to wonder if it’s his feed. He only has a small amount once a day, and it’s not because he needs it really but because the way the yard is, all the horses come in together and have a feed.

I’m currently feeding TopSpec TopChop Lite and the Lite balancer, with a little general purpose supplement, a squirt of cod liver oil and some garlic. I’m wondering if it could be the alfalfa in the chop? TopSpec do a grass chop without alfalfa, I’m wondering if I should give that a try?

Any advice? Thanks.

Or maybe he’s just still settling and just wary of new things? I was told when I got him he’d be a bit challenging when tied up on the yard for the first week before he settles, which he was but he’s past all that now (rearing and pulling back, moving around constantly). He now just stands and munches his hay happily and is chilled in that aspect Smile

OP posts:
Dontknowwhatimdoing · 09/10/2018 07:54

I'd think it is more likely to be that he is still settling in. How different is his routine, and amount of work now to what it was at his previous home?

ratherbeshowjumping · 09/10/2018 07:57

I would agree that feed is unlikely to be causing anything, it will just be settling in. I would continue to remain firm with him though, it takes just 1 "bad" nap for him to learn he can get away with it. Good luck!

HappyBumbleBee · 09/10/2018 08:10

You've only had him a month - he's still getting used to you, his new surroundings, his new home etc etc.
Your language in your post "I've only been brave enough to hack it alone twice" sounds to me like you're nervous so the house will definitely feel your nerves as well as dealing with new surroundings etc.
My advice would be to walk everywhere with him on lead rein. He'll get used to your voice, you'll get used to him etc etc - for a month, 2 months - however long it takes but walk walk walk. You can still ride him too of course, but you need to get to know each other so walk with him.... Even if it's around the field edges!
Good luck but I'm sure you and he will be fine xx

VintageFur · 09/10/2018 08:23

Alfalfa can send some of them batty - I'd go for "just grass" chaff if you can get it. Also check out the ingredients of the top-spec - a lot of the cereals/mixes are filled with sugary crap. Three companies I recommend for quality are simple systems, thunderbrooks and agrobs. Although all can be expensive.

To take it back to basics on the cheap - old-fashioned pony nuts are the biz and at that level of work he won't need gourmet rocket-fuel.

As for riding at home - I have an arena but actually prefer riding on grass and usually ride in the field. More interesting terrain (balance for both of us!)… And a real confidence booster. Could you try that? I often think arenas give people a false sense of security and can make nerves worse when contemplating "outside".

VintageFur · 09/10/2018 08:27

Plus riding in the field - horse-eating pheasant flies out of a hedge = potential my arse lands on soft grass. Same happens on the road and it'll be head-tarnac. Grin

Chesterfieldsofa · 09/10/2018 08:47

I was going to suggest riding in the field too. I don't understand why people seem to think that they must have a school and/or can only ride in the school. If you can lunge in the field, why not ride in it?

Try not to anticipate bad behaviour, and try trotting/walking for 10 strides each and/or bending to the left/right while hacking to give him something to think about other than what's in the bushes.

NagNagN4g · 09/10/2018 11:51

Thanks all. I’m not a nervous rider as such, just don’t like being alone!

I can ride in the field, I just like schooling. Sorry that you don’t understand, it’s personal preference. And when the weather gets wet it gets too boggy/slippy in the fields.

He’s working about the same amount he was before, it’s not an issue, I was just looking for suggestions. I’m very firm with him when he does nap, I wouldn’t even call it that, he’s just being wary I think.

I’ve been doing a lot of walking in hand with him, getting to know each other etc. Round the farm, up and down the lane.

I know it could take him months to fully settle, so it’s likely to be just that I guess.

Thank you all Flowers

OP posts:
Chesterfieldsofa · 09/10/2018 12:38

So school in the field? It's an action not a location. When I was a youngster everyone schooled in fields because arenas didn't exist.

VintageFur · 09/10/2018 12:49

What are you achieving with lungeing that can't be better done under saddle? If it's simply spinning him around in circles because you can say he's been "worked" then it's not a great position to be in and serves no purpose for either of you.

If it's genuinely slippy then you could get studs for the bad days.

None of these problems are insurmountable - but I know it's hard d sometimes to crack on.

I do have a friend who admitted a couple of years down the line that for the first few months of a new horse she had a couple of wee nips before jumping on! Grin again... So what? She now has a cab filled with ribbons and they're a great partnership. Whatever gets you through the day!

There is imo a real danger of getting a new horse, feeding them up and fittening them up before you've got the full measure of them!

Btw when you said "I just like schooling" did you mean DON'T like schooling? Otherwise I am very much confused... Because of course you can school in the field.

puppymouse · 09/10/2018 14:20

In my small experience with my horse this is definitely settling in stuff. Keep an eye that it isn't pain or discomfort related and stay calm, still and positive and see how he goes in another couple of months. When I get my next horse

NagNagN4g · 09/10/2018 14:52

Good grief, I asked for advice on feed not how, when or where I ride my horse!

I’m not feeding him up, he has a handful of chaff and nuts to appease him, and probably 4 times a week not every day.

No, I do like schooling... in a school. The fields we have at the farm we have to stick to the outside and can’t go in the middle so it makes it very difficult to much. Of course I do basic stuff when out, lots of transitions and even leg yielding down the lane etc. And so what if I prefer being in an actual school to a field, like I said above it’s just personal preference.

What am I achieving out of lunging? Forming a bond and getting to know each other. Getting him listening to me and working on transitions as well. And I like lunging.

I’ll put it down to being unsettled for now and give him a few more months to settle. I like spending time just grooming him, bathing him, walking him around meeting all the animals, lunging etc.

I just wanted a little bit of advice.

OP posts:
Chesterfieldsofa · 09/10/2018 22:27

People are trying to help. You've ridden 6 times in a month, it sounded as if you wanted to do more. If he's only fed a 'small amount', then it's probably not a food based issue - I'm assuming that you're feeding the same as his old home? What else has changed? Grazing? Stabling? Work?

Joe66 · 09/10/2018 22:33

There's a lot of protein in the grass at the mo, is the grazing quite lush? Can you limit his grazing?

Orlandointhewilderness · 09/10/2018 22:46

not a feed based issue i'd say. you say his amount of work hasn't changed, but maybe the type of work has altered slightly and he could also be trying it on a little bit. that amount of feed won't make a difference. to me, my personal opinion, it sounds like you need to up his work and keep him busy mentally and physically.

NagNagN4g · 10/10/2018 08:01

No their grazing isn’t lush, they’re hayed up already as it never really recovered from the dry summer.

This is his 3rd home in 6 months (probably answered my question there in one sentence), I have no idea what he was fed previously, from what I can gather he wasn’t fed a lot of hard feed at all.

He’s never been stabled in any home he’s been in (he jumps out).

Yes his work load has changed, even though he’s being ‘worked’ 4/5 days a week week with me it’s not the same kind of work he was doing before... he was doing a lot of work in a school, jumping and dressage. I’ve not done any of that with him because I don’t have the facilities to.

The farm where I am has over 200 acres, but a lot of it is rented out and we have very limited use. The one field we can use has been sprayed and can’t go in there for 2 weeks, but then I think they’re putting their sheep in there after so that will be a no go as well.

It’s just so frustrating. I didn’t want to out myself by explaining the set up, but I may have to a little bit.

We are getting a school built there, it was supposed to be by the end of the year but that absolutely won’t be happening now, more likely will be this time next year. It’ll be indoor, the barn is already there it just needs clearing and the flooring laid, drainage is already in place. But the owners keep getting things crop up that take priority.

I could move yards but for a few reasons I don’t want to. My main reason being unsettling him, he’ll be uprooted again and I don’t think it’s fair on him. Secondly I work there so spend all day every day with him, and if I move him I’ll be limited as to when I can actually see him (single parent with 3 children).

His issues really aren’t a huge problem and we’re getting on really well, he’s a star. I was just pondering why he could be a bit different to how he was in his old home, but I will put it down to being unsettled.

OP posts:
Orlandointhewilderness · 10/10/2018 08:17

Then I would probably do what lunging / schooling you can in the field but up what you are doing out hacking. Up the distance and pace etc. Think going out for 7 miles and trotting / and what ever fast work you can manage for 5 of those. As you say, schooling while out will help too.
Sounds as if he has been shifted about so will be just testing a bit!

NagNagN4g · 10/10/2018 08:50

Thank you. I’m going to start long reining him as well to help with trust and build a bond on the ground as well.

We do one 9 mile hack a week, and do lots of trotting. There’s also a lot of hill work so we always trot up the hills.

I think a lot of it is my own frustration. I want to get out and about on him but don’t have the facilities to do what I want to do. He’s a cob with a job, he likes his jumping and dressage. I might speak to a friend today and see if once a week she can take me to a school and do some proper work with him. If I had transport it would be a lot easier as there’s plenty of places to hire near us. Then there’s the issue that he doesn’t load very well... more groundwork to do.

I’m feeling really down and frustrated today.

OP posts:
puppymouse · 10/10/2018 10:32

Keep going @NagNagN4g

DHorse would be in a burger by now to be honest if I'd gone with my feelings when I first got him. It's such early days.

Do you have the option to move him to somewhere with more facilities? I think every horse and rider has different requirements and sometimes it takes a few places and moves to find what works. You'll get to know him better and better the more you do. Also doing all your hacking routes in hand will help you bond and build his confidence.

Jakethecob · 10/10/2018 11:06

I always find that a month is when the honeymoon period wears off with a new horse. His feed sounds fine. Stick with it. Do as much as you want to do and don't put any pressure on yourself.

NagNagN4g · 10/10/2018 11:18

Thank you both. Yes it absolutely is early days and I’m one of those who outwardly sighs every time a horse is returned as it’s ‘not as described’. They’re not robots.

I think his age is a factor as well, he’s a cheeky 6 Grin

I do have the option to move, and I won’t rule it out. However I work where he is now and get to spend all day every day with him, he’s part of my work! If I were to move him it would be a pain in the arse logistically. I’m keeping moving him as an open option though, I just don’t want to uproot him so early on and when we’re just getting to know each other as well.

OP posts:
Orlandointhewilderness · 10/10/2018 11:54

I suspect he will settle with time OP! Don't lose heart - it doesn't sound anything major.

Sticki · 10/10/2018 20:18

If you want advice about feeding your horse how about the Baileys Horse Feed Ask the experts form. I recently filled it out for my new pony and got some really specific and helpful advice from a nutritionist about his diet taking into account his health issues and my aims. Obvs it's about Baileys products but might be worth a go. Or see if your current feed website has one?

Good luck, and enjoy him.

Joe66 · 10/10/2018 20:52

Think of age 5 and 6 as being stroppy teenage years, and add into that marital breakdown (3 homes in 6 months) and that is more than likely your answer. He needs routine and continuity and I'm sure will settle in time. Is it possible for him to have a paddock to himself? Sometimes that helps as he then relies on you for sociability. Good luck and enjoy him.

zenasfuck · 10/10/2018 21:15

His age and new home/change of routine will be the culprit

Doesn't sound like he is going anything unmanageable so just keep on keeping on - lots of ground work and relaxed hacks so that he can get to know his new home and he'll soon settle

NagNagN4g · 11/10/2018 15:50

Thank you

OP posts:
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