Thursday 3 October 2019

That Time of Year

The fields are holding up really well, given that we had twice our normal amount of rain last month. Still, more often than not, the horses have been relegated to their winter paddocks already.

That means I am back on the struggle bus of owning the one pony in existance who is a fussy eater and not an air fern. Without her preferred dietary choice of pasture grazing available it's a bit of a challenge finding things the pony will eat in enough quantity to keep up with her still growing body. Even yummy things like expensive timothy and alfalfa hay get picked over and wasted, and she's not a fan of most grains or treats.
She'd tell you she's a perfectly innocent of such crimes, tho

Even the grain she does eat often gets dumped and wasted because playing with the bucket is much more fun and interesting!

Here's what Princess Sophie will eat:

- Second cut local hay (some)
- timothy hay (some)
- alfalfa hay (some)
- ration balancer pellets (some)
- camelina oil

Sometimes will eat:

- Complete pelleted grain
- Nature Valley honey and oats granola bars

Tried repeatedly and will not eat:

- Apples/Apple flavored anything
- carrots
- every manufactured horse treat I've tried
- orchard grass hay
- first cut local hay
- beet pulp
- every manufactured grain I've tried besides her ration balancer ones (sidenote: I've tried to mix in identical textured grain with more calories but she's got radar for that and has got all the time in the world apparently to pick through individual pellets)
- anything in her paddock/field that is not perfect grass.

Thank goodness I also own the easiest pony in the world who doubles as an equine garbage disposal...Bridget happily eats any of Sophie's left overs and has been getting a little plump with all my failed attempts.

As for Sophie, I've been hanging hay nets in places she likes to hang out and leaving an extra bucket of soaked alfalfa cubes out while I'm mucking out. She's lost some weight in the past month, but she's still looking good so far. Fingers crossed!

Anyone else have a busy horse that isn't all that food motivated? Have any strategies to share?


  1. That's so frustrating! Subi's picky, but not THAT picky. He eats hay (except for timothy) and eats most treats/carrots except apples. Grain is where he's picky. But he likes his current senior. He's gotten better since ulcer treatment. I can't help too much except in his case, molasses helps a lot and thankfully, he often likes soaked timothy alfalfa cubes (doesn't like plain alfalfa cubes or plain timothy cubes, but likes the mix despite not liking timothy) as long as his grain is mixed into it.

    I hope you can find something that works! I sometimes crush peppermints up into his feed. It doesn't really work, but it gives me hope that it might work every time I try.

    1. I keep trying different things, because even the grain she currently eats was a hard no for a couple of weeks until she changed her mind. I think she gets distracted too, and wanders off and by the time she comes back to it she's like "ohhh yuck it's not fresh anymore" lol

  2. After we got Cinder's allergy report back I had to switch grains because hers had her allergens in it. About a month after switching to her allergy friendly grain she stopped eating it and went on a hunger strike. She was already in a growth spurt/weedy phase and started looking super skinny and awkward. I had to put her back on her old grain because that's all she would eat.

    1. Aww, poor Cinder just doesn't know what's good for her! So funny how stuck in their ways they get.

  3. Dutch is like this, however, we have found through years of trial and error that when hunger strikes crop up he will eat premium alfalfa, bread, and chopped forage ( the kind with molasses). Even when he isn't in love with hay or grain he will usually chow down on a bucket of chopped forage.

    1. I'm putting in an order for alfalfa and crossing my fingers she'll eat enough to add a bit of weight. I was holding off and feeding local timothy because its imported from the US and costs close to 700 dollars a ton here!

  4. Dante used to turn his nose up at grain and treats too, eventually he came around (peppermints and carrots really got him good). Have you tried something like Renew Gold? It smells heavenly and the horses are usually enticed by the smell and then stay for the taste lol

    1. Thanks for the suggestion! I'll do some research and see if the feed store can order me some (or similar)

  5. That's quite a list! Definitely not a problem any of my horses have ever had!

    1. My coach's horse is SO fussy and would drive me nuts when I would have to care for her. I was like "never will I own a horse this high maintenance!" Joke's on me! lol

  6. OMG what a list! I have no idea as all of our horses are pigs and I spend my entire time trying to get them to lose weight, the only thing for other treats to try could be sugar lumps or polos/mint treats, bananas or pears, I know this doesn't help with what hard feed to try, but if there's a treat she likes then that could be mixed in with the hard feed!