Saturday, August 21, 2010

Reader Question - Interval between Feeding and Work or Exercise

I received the following question from a reader. "My wife and I keep two horses, a Fresian for her and a Quarter Horse for myself at a local stables. We mostly ride on weekends, but sometimes we get there after work. I've taken to feeding my horse before I exercise him in the arena, but my wife say's I am risking him colic from eating before exercise. I feed him before because if I don't he seems not focused. What do you think? Is there anything I can do to alleviate any potential problems?"

I think I like your question because you are looking out for your Horse. Let me guess, when you are working your horse in the arena he wants to head back or slow down at the arena gate? It is pretty common for a horse near scheduled feeding time to be less focused on work or exercise than he is on eating. Like I say, they think about only one thing,,...where to get it and how not to become it.

If you feed your horse then right away go out and lope for 20 miles, then you may be asking for a problem. I routinely feed my horses, let them get a drink, then put them in a trailer with a hay bag for an trip, short duration or not, then get them out and work pretty hard. But I'm also pretty good about offering them a drink at regular intervals to be careful about not letting them get dehydrated as that can cause gut problems.

I think you'll be just fine if you feed then ride if you're not working your horse exceptionally hard. Maybe feeding him some of his evening feed, working him, letting him cool off then feeding him the rest may be a solution.

I'll pull a Horse, let him eat wet hay as I'm tacking him up. I put grass hay in a large bucket and wet it down at the spigot. Then I'll warm him up in the round pen, then we'll go on a 6 - 10 mile ride no problem. I routinely do this in high 90 degree temperatures, but my horses are pretty well conditioned. Alot is going to depend upon your horse's age and condition.

You probably need to be more careful in feeding him after exercise. He needs to cool down before drinking and eating. Usually, by the time it takes you to un-saddle him, brush him and clean his feet he is probably cooled down enough. But again that depends upon his age and condition and the intensity of the work you put him through. Hope this helps - Safe Journey.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the great videos. I am following you on You Tube. I ride mostly on weekends, because I have a job, but I try to participate on trail rides. Do you have a recommended packing list for trail rides? How about a boot for the hoofs?