Gem has been looking a bit skinny to me lately. This isn't unusual in the mid fall when she is switching from a diet of lush grass to that of grain and hay. This year we have ridden less than typical for many reasons wit the top two being the extremely soggy weather and giving her hoof a chance to grow out as much as possible before needing to up her conditioning again. With less exercise I should be lamenting the BOs tendency to overfeed and looking at my chubby mare.
Instead I went to the barn on Sunday between rain drops to find Gem looking at least a solid 100 pounds underweight. I was pissed. Extremely, probably irrationally, pissed.
I gave her a bucket of grain and about 3 flakes of hay as steam poured out of my ears and poor Dusty got the brunt of my venting.
The poor girl has hip bones protruding and ribs easily felt. In fact, if she wasn't so hairy she would look even worse.
The problem is three fold:
1) Last winter there were 5 horses out int the mare field. There has been a recent influx of mares and the last I counted there were 14. The field is 35 acres, so there is plenty of room and I have yet to see signs of violence amongst the herd, but obviously now there are a lot of mouths to feed.
2.) I saw no hay. This time last year there was a row of hay piles strewn about so each horse had their own pile twice a day plus the sparse winter grass in the pasture and the two grain feedings. With the warmer temperatures this year (it was 81 degrees Saturday) the BO does not appear to be putting out any hay. There is not enough winter grass in the pasture to feed even the 5 horses that were there last year let alone 14.
and #3 which is the worse of all...
The BO doesn't think she looks skinny.
I had Dusty call him when we got home. I know, I should have done it myself, but with my temper having flared it wouldn't have done much good. The BO said that he didn't think she looked skinny at all, but Dusty countered that with the opinion that all the mares looked extremely thin (there is one mare out there that would be called emaciated by any rescue) and that we didn't see any hay at all.
The BO still disagreed but said he would bring Gem up to the barn to give her grain and some hay thinking she might be getting run off her food by the herd. She doesn't need more grain - she needs hay.
On the opposite end of the spectrum are the geldings. They are out on 40 acres and when we moved in there were about 13 geldings on it. Now there are 8. Pete is a big, fat cow and Dusty laughingly told the BO to give Pete's rations to Gem.
I'm going to give it a little time and see how things improve with him bringing her up to the barn to eat. If I see any weight loss at all, I'm going to tell the BO that I will pay him less each month and supply/feed my own horse daily. That will be a big PIA until the spring grass comes back in and she gets pulled off hay and grain again, but it is better than her continuing to lose weight. If he isn't amenable to that, I don't know what I will do.
Ugh. Not the way I wanted to bring in 2016 at all.