Does your horse think feed time is a timed event? A horse who eats their feed too quickly is known to be "bolting" their feed. When a horse eats too fast, it increases their chance of colic and choke.
Feeding hay before grain, and feeding many small grain meals instead of one large meal, are two feeding basics that can help prevent feed bolting. These two items are also suggested for all horses. But what if you are already doing these two things, and your horse is still eating much too fast? Try these 3 tips!
Adding water to your horse's feed to create a wet mash can help slow them down. The consistency of soup is ideal, however some horses will not eat feed that wet. Try adding varying levels of water until your horse is happy to eat the mash.
Not all horses can eat out of a bucket. If your horse is eating too fast, try spreading their feed out to slow them down. Some people will use an old water trough to feed grain. Others will use a swept clean rubber mat. You can even feed ontop of their hay. Any way you can spread their feed out so they cannot grab big mouthfuls at a time can help.
Adding obstacles to your horse's feed can help slow them down. You can use large, smooth rocks too big for your horse to ingest (think fist sized or bigger). As the horse pushes the rocks around to get to the feed, they are slowed down. Instead of rocks you can also use mineral blocks. They will also slow the horse down as they push the blocks around to get to the grain, and are safe for the horse to bite and ingest.
It is important to prevent your horse from bolting their feed. If you experience colic or choke with your horse, call a vet immediately. I hope these tips will help prevent these medical emergencies for your horse.
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