I find it so interesting when people talk about how they care for their horses and so I thought I would share what I do with the boys now that I’m in FULL control. Before the boys came home I was definitely nervous about being in charge of their care completely and with no help (well no fellow horse person help, hubs helps me all the time with barn things) but I absolutely love being able to decide what’s best for them and provide it.
The boys went out in a tiny pasture for up to four hours each morning at the boarding barn. The grass was pretty much non-existent due to over grazing in such a small space and often Stamp was upset because the pasture was right by the busy road and obviously there was little to eat. They did throw hay out but that didn’t always help. Near the end sometimes the boys would only get an hour of turnout before Stamp became frantic and would run until the workers would bring him in.
Today the boys go out around 8 am and come in somewhere between 8:30 and 9:30 PM. I’d love to leave them out longer (even overnight) but Stamp just won’t eat his grain like a normal piggy horse such as his brother. I believe the total pasture space to be maybe 4 acres? The boys currently have free access to roam all the pastures except the one with the burn pile in it that needs yet another burn and some clean up to be safe. I did create sections of pasture so I can rotate as needed in the future. I also have plans in place to get my soil tested and do some spraying this fall and seeding this spring in some of them so the grass is higher quality next season.
I have the end of the barn open so the horses can come and go as they please. I didn’t want Stampede getting agitated if he wanted in so I just made it his choice. Sometimes on hot afternoons I check the horse cam and he’s napping in the barn. When it rains the boys bring themselves in and wait for the storm to end. They do a great job of regulating themselves.
The barn fed around 7 am and 3 pm for hay and grain then a 6:30 pm night hay. I didn’t like how long the boys would go without hay overnight, but obviously you can only feed so late at such a big barn. Now they eat around 6:30-7 am and 8:30-9 pm. Of course we all know in the middle they spend their time feeding themselves outside, lol.
Stampede was getting 3 scoops (roughly 8 lbs) of Tribute Kalm Ultra at the boarding barn split into 3 feedings. Two were done by the barn and one by me at night. He now gets 2.5 scoops between two feedings. I only do 1 scoop in the morning and most of the time he doesn’t finish it so then he has those leftovers plus another 1.5 to finish overnight which he usually pulls off. Somehow even retired he doesn’t want to get fat on this!
Phoenix was on 1.5 scoops (can’t remember the weight!) of Tribute Kalm N’ EZ pelleted split between two feedings and soaked at the boarding barn. At home I have switched him to the ration balancer Tribute Essential K. He is getting 3 lbs of it soaked and split between two feedings. I’m so impressed with this feed! He immediately gained topline and lost the hay belly only look he had. I’m guessing it has to do with not getting the Kalm N’ EZ at the minimum amount in the past versus now having a more complete diet. That plus walking around all day.
Both boys went from getting 6-8 flakes of hay per day from the barn where hay quality and amount varied greatly (due to high volumes needed for such a big barn) to a nice grass mix hay only in the evenings. P gets 2-3 flakes per night and Stampede gets 4. They always have a little hay left in the morning.
The boys were also getting other additives to maintain weight/topline at the boarding barn which I have since removed. Both were getting a flake of alfalfa hay from a Standlee compressed bale and Stampede was getting a couple pounds of alfalfa pellets as a “lunch” when he would come in from turnout.
Stampede got added salt in his evening grain at the boarding barn and now gets the same added salt with his morning ration at home. P now also gets salt with his morning ration.
Phoenix has been on SmartDigest Ultra pellets for several years now and I have continued that.
Both boys were in front shoes and barefoot behind at the boarding barn. Stamp had steel shoes with leather pads while P had natural balance aluminum shoes with wedges. They are now barefoot on all four.
Stampede was on Previcox at the boarding barn and had been for roughly year. Due to his size he was on 1.5 dosage of the 57 mg pills. After bringing him home I slowly weaned him off of the Previcox. Since his stiffness behind is worse in the winter I anticipate that he may need to go back on it when it gets cold but for now he gets along fine without.
Both boys were getting monthly shots of Adequan or Ichon before they came home. I continued to give it to P until I finally gave in to the idea that he too was retired at which point I stopped. I had stopped giving it to Stampede once he came home but I had some vials of Ichon left so when I noticed recently he wasn’t laying down as much I have given him a few doses. He may just be a weirdo but I figure it doesn’t hurt!
Don’t get me wrong, I loved taking the time to graze my boys in the evenings at the boarding barn. It was a time to socialize when I had friends around. A time to relax and read a book when I was alone. Lastly it was just nice bonding time. I did it not only to make sure my horses actually got some grass, but to get them out of their stalls more. Only going out for a short time is not ideal by any means and horses are meant to move around. Especially with Stampede’s size and arthritis issues he needed to get a chance to move around once he was retired from riding. Honestly I was a bit obsessive about getting them out of their stalls. I never missed a day if I was in town and if I was gone I always made sure to get a friend to do it for me. I remember one day last summer I was so sick all day but made the husband bring me to the barn to take care of my boys. I didn’t make it long but those boys got some grazing.
Now I happily watch them graze themselves and I don’t worry about them getting to move around enough.
I used to groom the boys at the boarding barn pretty much daily. There hooves were always full of junk and I liked to curry them frequently to ensure a nice coat. Since coming home we spend much less time on grooming. The footing is dry and the stalls don’t get as dirty since they aren’t in as long so hoof picking is not as mandatory although still done at least ever other day. I always check them over when I bring in but I don’t over groom. Stamp’s whole attitude on grooming has changed and he now leans into the itches and enjoys our time together. P on the other hand is less interested in grooming since he’d rather go eat!
Bonding now is done more casually between us. The boys come to see me whenever I’m out doing chores and it feels extra special. They could be eating after all. Well Stamp comes to see me most, P has priorities sometimes! Yet they come over for some pets and kisses and regularly take selfies with me for fun. They hang out with me as I scrub the water tank or stand by the gate while we wait for my husband to come back with the tractor from dumping the poop.