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  • Tempting the fussy horse to eat

    Posted by Caroline on 26/01/2021 at 10:11 am

    My mare is so picky about her forage, she has access to hay during the day when outside and at the moment she’s in at night with a choice of hay and haylage, she’s really not eating enough overnight.

    She has stomach ulcers and she’s on omeprozle and slippery elm for maintenance, but the lack of eating is stressing me out sli.

    I was wondering if there was anything that I could spray on the hay to tempt her, was wondering about a peppermint spray but not sure how to make it.

    Or if there’s anything else I can try, as soon as the weather improves she will be out 24/7 again, but we’re in NE Scotland and the weather has been terrible.

    Thanks in advance

    Donna replied 2 years, 2 months ago 3 Members · 3 Replies
  • 3 Replies
  • Nayana

    26/01/2021 at 12:25 pm

    Unfortunately spraying peppermint on the hay is as likely to inhibit her feeding as encourage it, always best to separate the aromatics from feed. How much is she eating? Is she losing condition? Could it be that she is just sleeping a lot? It’s quite natural for horses to spend time without eating actually. Mine, who have access to 30 hectares and plentiful food at all times will often stand doing nothing for 3 or 4 hours if it’s hot in summer, or if the sun is out after a wet night. I always chuckle and tell them they didn’t read the instructions about horses needing to eat all the time :). But I understand the ulcers are a worry, and it’s also possible she’s not eating because she’s more stressed in the stable and therefore ulcers are bothering her more. I would probably soak hay, put some pieces of fruit like whole apples and carrots around the stall for her to ‘graze’ on, offer her some calendula oil when she comes in (one of my favourite ulcer remedies), and a bucket of soaked grass nuts. I know not everyone is a fan, but a small amount of alfalfa nuts, well-soaked are a good food for cooling Stomach Heat (ulcers). That way, you know she is well fed and you are setting up a good environment in her gut. Ulcers need moisture to heal, hence the slippery elm, so the more you can feed her moist food the more comfortable she will feel, the more comfortable she feels, the more she will eat. If you have some essential oils, you can offer German chamomile (matricaria recutita) and/or peppermint, other herbs that can help are marshmallow root and meadowsweet. You could even leave her a bucket with peppermint hydrosol (1 cup in an average bucket), but make sure she has access to plain water as well. Hope this is helpful

  • Caroline

    27/01/2021 at 5:50 am

    Thanks for the reply, I’ll see if I can find somewhere that sells the calendula oil and offer her some, how much would you suggest, she’s a Hanoverian around 525kg?

    I’ve got peppermint I’ll see if she wants some of that,

    She’s gets soaked alfalfa pellets already, and I’ve started giving her an extra bucket with those, some soaked high fibre cubes and a scoop of chaff at bedtime, sometimes she finishes it other days she leaves some. She is a very stressy person and I’ll turn her back out overnight as soon as everything thaws and the mud dries up slightly.

    She does eat some fibre overnight so perhaps I’m worrying too much, it’s just doesn’t seem enough for a horse her size. She’s dropped a small bit of weight but always does in winter as we don’t have much grass by this time of year.

    Thanks again for the reply

  • Donna

    28/01/2021 at 6:14 pm

    I am in Fife, I have found that mine have not eaten so much this year as even although we have had horrible weather the grass has still been coming through until very recently. Its only now that its been snowing that mine are tucking into hay. Can you leave her out at night to see if this makes a difference? If thats not possible then hide carrots and turnip or whatever your horse likes so she can forage when in. Also maybe when you see what herbs she likes tuck some into a net with a bit of hay to encourage her. If you have had more wind and rain than me your horse might just be wanting peace to snooze when in.