Slowing Down a Faster Eater: Big Rocks or a Chain?

Discussion in 'Horse Health' started by RebeccaMI, Jun 21, 2018.

  1. RebeccaMI

    RebeccaMI Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2010
    Messages:
    389
    Likes Received:
    42
    My mare and my gelding are currently pastured together at the boarding farm. They are kind of like Jack Sprat and his wife: my gelding is a 28yo hard keeper and my mare is a 20yo easy keeper. They are together because we (the folks who run the farm and I) want my gelding to be on grass, but my gelding is so bonded to my mare that if he's separated from her all he does is trot around anxiously, calling and wasting energy. In the morning and evening they get grain as well, but they can't be on the same kind because he needs stuff with a higher fat content than she does. Well, of course she's the boss of him and when she is done eating her grain she walks over to see what he's got and he lets her have it. Taking him out to be fed separately is not a possibility (unless I pay someone to go over there and do it, which I will if I have to but I'd rather try other things first) so I am considering putting something in her bucket to try to slow her down. I know some people whose horses eat too fast will sometimes put large, smooth rocks in their horses' buckets. Another friend suggested using a length of chain as well. If I used a length of chain I would want it to be stainless steel so it wouldn't rust, and I'm finding that not only is it difficult to find stainless steel chain but it's also kind of pricey.

    Which would you use, big rocks or a length of chain, and why?
     
  2. Faster Horses

    Faster Horses Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2011
    Messages:
    5,134
    Likes Received:
    12,784
    I've done rocks before and it worked ok.

    Any chance you can feed using nose bags?
     
    Larkspade likes this.
  3. manesntails

    manesntails Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2010
    Messages:
    36,104
    Likes Received:
    69,457
    Buy three round pen panels. Attach them with baling twine to the fence. The third you use as a gate. You dump the feed, then shut the third panel. Open it when he's done.
     
  4. Faster Horses

    Faster Horses Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2011
    Messages:
    5,134
    Likes Received:
    12,784
    Absolutely the easiest and best way to fix this problem is to separate during feeding.
     
    Alsosusieq2 likes this.
  5. RebeccaMI

    RebeccaMI Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2010
    Messages:
    389
    Likes Received:
    42
    Unfortunately, unless he's in a pasture or run by himself, being separated for feeding is not an option unless I hire someone to go over there morning and evening to take him out and feed him separately. All the horses get fed in their pastures/runs by having their feed dumped over the fence into buckets that are strategically located for convenience. That way, the folks who own the farm (who are older) can drive their gator to each feeding location, dump the appropriate feed into the bucket(s) and drive on to the next station.

    I don't think nose bags would work because #1 someone would have to go in and put them on one or the other (or both), and #2 I don't know if the amount of grain my gelding gets would fit in one.

    I also thought about getting a lead rope to hook to a breakaway halter my mare could wear all the time, and have the rope tied to something so she wouldn't be able to walk away from her bucket until my gelding is done.
     
  6. bellalou

    bellalou Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2014
    Messages:
    7,178
    Likes Received:
    21,898
    I would hire someone to do it then. Or I would move my horses. That's not a good way to feed anything other than hay. Horses have hierarchies and the top horses are always going to shove the lower horses off the feed. If you put rocks in your mare's bucket, she will simply shove the gelding off his feed and leave the rocks for him.

    The other option is to separate them and let him get over his herdboundness.
     
  7. Alsosusieq2

    Alsosusieq2 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2016
    Messages:
    13,674
    Likes Received:
    9,943
    I'd pay or move. Not really any good options otherwise imo.
     
  8. RebeccaMI

    RebeccaMI Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2010
    Messages:
    389
    Likes Received:
    42
    If he were a younger horse I would do that, but he's 28 and IMO deserves to be near his best friend. That was one of the big reasons why I bought her! Besides, he needs to put some weight on so I don't want him spending however-many days running around anxiously instead of eating.

    I also don't want to move. There are only a few affordable options around here that meet my requirements (which include safe riding trails and the option to stall a horse if he/she is sick or injured). These folks are so nice and the place is really homey.
     
  9. Alsosusieq2

    Alsosusieq2 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2016
    Messages:
    13,674
    Likes Received:
    9,943
    Then pay extra to get it taken care of. I really don't see other options.
     
    manesntails likes this.
  10. Ziast

    Ziast Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2009
    Messages:
    1,752
    Likes Received:
    1,554
    I'd go for rocks over chains. I'd worry about the chains pinching lips or whiskers .
     

Share This Page