Eating/Drinking Well

STEVE: As far as horse eating and drinking, the first thing you notice is you want to make sure that your horse has the ability to procure its food normally. This seems painfully obvious but unfortunately you get a horse in, I get them in all the time that come in from places. I just got a horse in recently from California, and he came in and he had teeth like a dinosaur.

We watched him eat the first day, he had difficulty masticating his hay, he had difficulty chewing his feed. He was very very slow as far as taking in his feed and assimilating it and chewing it and masticating it and showed a lot of discomfort. So the first thing I did was check his teeth and I was quite amazed that he had terrible points on them, so I had Victor come out and float his teeth.

You also want to make sure you look at how much a horse drinks. One of the things I know is convenient, that automatic waters are a great thing, but you know, boy, they make me a little worried.

The reason why they trouble me quite a bit in particular is that in my stalls I put two buckets of water. I have plenty of water for a horse if he is really thirsty so its not a big deal but when you have an automatic water, you can’t really determine how much water that horse is taking in over a period of time.

So they trouble me a bit. You can’t really measure that, so I really prefer to have buckets in there. I know how much goes in there and I can see how much they take in during an 8 to 10, 12 hour period when we normally fill them and clean them, that sort of thing. It gives me a better idea, it also gives me some other ideas too. We see horses that like to dunk their hay. Sometimes they put their feed in there.

My gray horse in particular likes to dunk his feed and eat it that way, likes to make it good and sloppy and makes his own mash. He tends to put his hay in his water buckets too. Its a good thing, he gets a lot of hydration, and really gets it good and wet so I don’t ever have to worry about him choking or anything. Do you have any experience along that line?

ALEX: Well its important to watch horses everyday, to see their routine, to see how they eat. To see exactly the habits that make them comfortable. The most important thing they need is a certain amount of intake to keep them healthy. So if they’re off their feed for some reason, you need to find out the reason why. Is it teeth? Is it something else that’s involved. So it’s very important. Its something you have to watch everyday.