How long without forage is acceptable?

quirky

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I have been reading up on the equine digestive tract but can't glean the information I require :(.

How long is it acceptable for a horse to stand without access to forage?

If horse is out in the day and in at night, is it right to leave them nothing to eat all night as their belly is full of grass?

So, to sum up .... should they have a small net, enough for ad lib or no net?

I know what I prefer but I seem to be the exception :eek:
 

SmartieBean09

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I was always told that a horse should graze for 18 hours day. Personally, I always made sure my pony had access to ad lib hay in her stable regardless of how long she was turned out for as I could never guarantee that she spent her whole time turned out grazing.

Not sure if this helps :eek:
 

Happytohack

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A horse shouldn't go for longer than 4 hours without some forage. Otherwise the healthy gut bugs are affected which can lead to all sorts of problems. Best to put hay in a trickle net so they've always got something to pick at.
 

celia

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Personally I wouldn't want a horse going for more than 4 hours without something to eat. I would never leave them with nothing overnight and hate seeing people who put a net in at 6 which is then gone by 8, leaving the horse 12 hours with nothing to eat! If worried about weight gain then old hay, small holed nets and soaking are the way forward. I have what I feel is a reasonable understanding of the digestive system and how it works - which makes me feel quite strongly about this! - but can't help you with specific times. I don't imagine grass will spend very long in the stomach though.
 

brucethegypsycob

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agree with the other posters but would also like to add that horses also have a psychological need to chew. do you use straw bedding by any chance cos thats fine to chew on if they run out of hay. IMHO i prefer my horses to have add lib hay. (unless there is a medical reason like obesity but even then they will still need something.)
 

quirky

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Thank you all. I was unaware of the 4 hour part but I pretty much like mine to have ad lib.
 

little_critter

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So do I need to worry that after stuffing herself on grass overnight my mare hardly touches her haynet during the day (I always make sure she has one - she just simply chooses not to eat much of it)
 

Baggybreeches

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Mine are out at the moment, but I brought them in last night and gave them a token gesture of haylage (probably 6- 8lb) at about 9.30, they were fed at 6.30 this morning and I would guess that the haylage was gone within an hour. They spend most of their time asleep when in anyway. (One is a fatty, one is giant and angular. Both look moderately well presently)
 

*hic*

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No, her choice. you have provided her with it if she wanted it. It's like someone letting you stuff yourself for hours on your favourite food until you were full to bursting and then offering you something slightly less desirable. You are unlikely to want to eat it! Your mare's gut will still be processing the grass she ate earlier.
 
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