07 June 2010

Party of Five!

Are you gonna feed us or just take our picture?

A few wonderful followers have written to ask
what is our feeding program for the horses is like?

I hope I am able to answer.

As soon as they hear me walking into the barn....
Loud bellows from everyone!
A squeaky bellow from
Little Miss Annie!

I love feeding time.
Everyone is so very excited.
But, then I get that way too :)

8:30 a.m.

Breakfast for five
purebred Arabians!

Everyone has a different menu.
Based on age and weight.

Cadence and Allure both have Arthritis.
They each get a dose of Cosequin.
Based on their weight.
Allure has Thyroid issues.
She takes Thyro-L.
Allegra has incredible skin problems.
She takes, (by prescription!!) Hydroxyzine.
Eight pills in the a.m.
Eight pills in the p.m.

All the medications go in their feed.
The meds that Cadence and Allure take
come in a powder form.

But, Allergra's meds are straight from the pharmacy!
We have to open the capsules and dump the powder
into Allegra's feed.
She just won't swallow the darn things
with a glass of water!
It would be sooo much easier if Allegra would just comply!

(Yes, I have really bad handwriting!)

The hay menu changes weekly.
A horse will lose weight
or gain.
And their ration needs to be adjusted!

In the winter we change the type of hay they eat.
In summer, the same!

Cadence likes his stall door left open.
We can leave it wide open...
and he will not, ever, walk out and into the barn!
Even with a barn full of mares!

With the heat and humidity,
Cadence will begin to eat less of his hay ration.
(So, by golly if wants to eat it off the barn floor, he can!)
But, he does love his pasture of grass!
We are constantly trying to maintain the perfect balance
for this 29 year old handsome guy!

Cadence loves to eat his hay off of the barn floor in front of his stall.
I pile it under his feeder, and he pulls it out of the stall with his mouth!

And Allure and Allegra....
These two girls really pack on the weight
when the grass is so lush.
Hence, the hay and grain ration they receive
is small.
All feed rations are measured.


This feed bin holds Annie's food.
"Growth" for Weanlings and Yearlings.
She is now a Weanling!

Is my "oatmeal" ready?

Last week Annie had her 4th "choking episode".
If you remember, the first time it happened was in January.
She choked on a small piece of carrot.
The next two times were on her grain.
Last week, her hay.

It really is unusual for such a young filly,
(only 7 months!)
to have had this many choke episodes.
It happens when a horse, simply, shoves too much food in their
mouth at once.
(Annie is a very, vigorous eater!!)
The saliva, mixed with grain or hay,
can cause the food to turn into a big giant ball in their mouth.

And then they swallow.
And it doesn't go down.
It lodges.

Since Little Miss Annie
has already had 4 episodes,
our Vet is considering her a
Chronic Choker.

We add hot water to her feed.
And let it sit.
Add more hot water.
And let it sit.
Until eventually it becomes the consistency
of really, runny oatmeal!
It is quite messy!

We also layer her hay up and down one wall
in her stall.
This keeps her from "diving" in a pile of hay
and eating a huge portion at once!

Feeding her the rations this way
really slows her down as she eats.
And makes it less likely she will choke!
And no carrots for Annie...ever!
For a treat she is loving sugar cubes.
Did you know horses cannot vomit?!
(I bet you are thinking...Misha, I really do not need to know this!)

So, what goes in the mouth, only has one way to come out!
If a horse gets a bellyache, and is showing signs
of distress,
(laying down at odd times, nipping at their sides etc.)
 they are often in the stages of

Colic is the number killer of Horses!

Also, horses are generally fed the main two meals
 12 hours apart.
This gives the gut the time it needs to properly
These are the reasons we are very careful in our
feeding program!
Not only can NOT paying attention to each horse's
feed program result in unnecessary Vet bills,
Their good health depends on us!

Messy-mouth Annie!
But, Mmmmmmm.
That squishy stuff is yummy!
She loves it!

This bin holds the feed for Cadence and Miss D.

Allure and Allegra are on diets!
They get a very small ration of oats,
with vitamins and supplements added.

They are not happy about it and let me know each morning!

Two gulps and their breakfast is gone :(
But, keeping a horse at their ideal weight
is all part of equine management.

Everyone gets Vitamin E.
Horses need good skin, too!

Everyone gets Lixotonic, an iron supplement.

Allure and Allegra have sunscreen put on their
pink muzzles.
They are very light-skinned under their coats.
Yep, horses can get a sunburn!

Last year, I skipped a few days of sunscreen.
Both mares got scorched.
I was dealing with ouchy, peeling muzzles!

And I felt so guilty :(

We are currently feeding
Timothy, Orchard Alfalfa,
Grass Hay, and pure Alfalfa.
Each horse gets their own ration depending
on weight!
The pure Alfalfa is used only for
Cadence and Annie.
They each get a few handfuls sprinkled on top
of their other hay.

For Cadence....
It takes a lot of small rations, through the day,
to keep his weight where it should be!
At age 29, we are really working to keep him at his best!

And poor, poor, Allure!
She gets the smallest ration.
She just has to look at that yummy hay
and gains weight!

Since Miss D is really no longer nursing,
we are trying to dry up her milk.
She just gets a small portion of oats.

She has not been a happy camper at feeding time.
"Hey, what the heck is this!"

Good quality hay is not always easy to find.
In the last three years the price has tripled!
Our last load came from Colorado!
The price was cheaper and the quality fantastic.

We also keep in mind that this time of year
is the perfect setting for

Overweight horses and lush pasture,
can be a deadly mix!

So we are constantly "eyeballing"
the weight of all the kids!
(they probably have a few things to say about my Winter weight!)

Such a beautiful Stallion he is!
He also has wonderful manners :)

Sometimes I feel like a Nanny.
A Chef.
A Dietitian.
A Waitress.
A Personal Trainer.
A Maid.
A Keeper of Manners.

And even once in a while,
a Jail Warden!
As I walk the pastures,
checking on every one's weight from a distance!

But, mostly just a girl who loves horses.
I just want them to be
Happy and Healthy!
I have been doing this for a lot of years now.
But, I learn something new each day
about horses.

A question arises and I don't know the answer?
I have some "go to" resources on the web I trust.

And if I really feel something has come up that
I cannot figure out on my own, or find that answer...
We use a Veterinarian that gladly accepts my call!
I have had the privilege of working with some
very well known equine vets over the years.

And ours is fantastic!
She is kind, gentle, and loving with the horses.
They never fear her visits.

That is important when you look to see how
a horse reacts to people.

Horses have a great sense of
***Just Good People***

I meet alot of "Good Ole Boys" (and gals)
in the horse world.
Too many that think they know everything
about equine livestock.
I hear horrific stories from
treatments to training
that make my blood boil.

Too many stories of a horse dying
an unnecessary death because of ignorance.

Just because someone hangs a sign on their fence that reads,
"Boarding Stable"
does not always hold a lot of weight.

So, if you are new to horses,
owning your first, or even taking lessons...
I always say,
First, trust your gut!
Second, surround yourself with "horse people"
who are
in this field!

And keep asking questions.
Information and knowledge are Priceless!

For the Followers who have emailed and asked
 me to write this piece,
I hope I was able to share our
feeding program,
for these five Arabians in a simple manner!

Just being able to watch
happily graze in her pasture...
Makes it all worth it!

Wonderful day to everyone!
And thanks for emailing questions!
Keep 'em coming :)


***I am in no way an Equine Expert.
Any concerns or problems you may have
with your horses, should be directly asked of your
Schooling and Experience just do not make ME one!
(big smile)


Concord Carpenter said...

Great looking horses. Thank you for sharing.

Laura said...

Oh...this brings back so many great memories of when I had horses! I had such dreams and high hopes back then. I may never get another horse, but I will always, always love them! And I love reading when you write about your beautiful horses! Thank you! :)

Heart2Heart said...


WOW so much about feeding a horse that I never knew. How much fresh veggies or fruit can you feed them and what kinds can you feed them?

Love and Hugs ~ Kat

Julie Harward said...

These horses are so blessed to have such a good mommie! You certainly take expert care of them and it shows! And no carrots for poor little Annie...too bad...but I know she will be spoiled just right! Come say hi :D

Rural Revival said...

Misha, This is really, really interesting! I learned a lot and I had no idea that horses could not vomit and I'm glad you shared that! : )

Miss D is a chronic choker??? My goodness what will do with that filly?? ; )

This reminds me so much of a certain set of twins, who shall remain nameless, that are picky about mushrooms, if they're cooked, but only if there mixed in a sauce, and only if that sauce was made on a Tuesday...you get my drift!!! Add MOM to your list my dear because you one to these beauties and you don't even get to send them off to university in a few years. : )

They are beautiful Misha. I've always loved horses but I never had the opportunity to be around them a lot, you're making me want to change that. (That's a good thing!)

Hugs ~Andrea~

Snappy Di said...

You changed your background color... I was shocked! Are you playing with templates this week?


Feral Female said...

Very informative Misha! Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us.

Donna said...

Wow, that is all so complicated! I had no idea!

Jeanette said...

Thanks for that interesting information! It's no wonder you have to keep a big board to keep track of everything! I can certainly relate to the dieting horses!! You are a good mom, Misha!

Maura @ Lilac Lane Cottage said...

Hello Misha! Horses are a lot of work but they're SO worth it. I miss having horses and riding...but then I think about the work. Right now we've got too much to do around the farm cleaning it up from years of other's neglect but maybe once we're caught up...?! I hope you have a wonderful Thursday...Maura :)

Sandra said...

Great post, Misha, thoroughly enjoyable reading; your new look is great!
I'm dealing with two foundered mares now but, with prayer and hard work, they will both recover. American Curly horses are such easy keepers; it keeps me on my toes and sometimes I fall off -grin.
Love the info board in your barn; I've got a blackboard in my tack room.
Colic is a frightening thing, I've been through that as well. Your horses are blessed to have you as their steward and you've forgotten more than I'll ever know!
God's blessings on you, yours and the work of your hands and heart.

Ann On and On... said...

You really are someone to marvel at! I love how much pride and respect you give to your horses and all the work that it takes to create a wonderful environment.
Perhaps that is a book in your future.

Speaking of that...how about talking about what brought you to where you are in live... I'll do the same. :D

Mountain Woman said...

Hi Misha,

I enjoyed reading your post. We source our hay locally. We are very fortunate to have wonderful Vermont hay or Canada if Vermont has had a wet year. Yes, hay is surely expensive. There's nothing better than having a vet you can trust. Your horses are very fortunate.

Flat Creek Farm said...

Great info and advice, Misha! Wow, I suddenly feel like I need to revamp my equine girls' care after reading this :) What a wonderful mom you are!! (Please slow down and be careful, Little Miss Annie.. we ♥ you!). Hugs to all...

Lynn Richards said...

Oh, my. I found this post to be absolutely fascinating!! I am, at 48, finally getting to learn about and ride horses, with my daughter. What an experience!!! We are at this stable: http://www.elcaminoranch.com

Horses personalities are something I am trying to learn about. What makes them tick? What are their likes, dislikes? How do they communicate these? Oh, I am having so much fun!

I cannot believe Cadence is 29-He is beautiful! You are taking such good care of all of them-what an endeavor!