Sometimes we really like one size fits all. It makes our lives much easier not to have to think about things.
In the horse world there doesn’t seem to be much where that phrase applies but horse owners sometimes try to make things that way.
We want to feed all of our horses exactly the same thing. The same amount of hay, the same grain in the same quantity, the same amount of times per day. It just doesn’t work out well that way for the majority of horses. There are too many variables like age, breed, condition of the teeth, what season it currently is, the work load each horse is asked to do each day, metabolism and ulcers, or maybe pecking order in the herd. Feed is something that is so fluid and that is often a very hard concept to get people to understand.
At Mulligan Farm and at some of our fosters if you were to open the feed room, you would find 4 different types of grain, a couple of supplements, probiotics, Ulcerguard, Chaffe Hay and alfalfa cubes. All because there are variations within the herds that make their needs different from that of their herd mates.
The one size fits all approach does not work for tack either. One horse prefers a full cheek snaffle, one a copper roller, and one a sidepull-no bit bridle. Your favorite saddle does not fit every horse you ride. And when it doesn’t you may see some really awful behaviors like bucking or bolting or even rearing from your horse. Or you may see wither hair pigment changes or even bloody spots on them if you haven’t been very observant.
One size fits all also does not work for how frequently you ride the horses under your care. Perhaps two only need ridden once per week, one you can pull out of the pasture after a year and it rides like a dream, one has to be ridden every other day, one can only be ridden by men, one is only suitable for confident riders, one hates arena work, one loves jumping….just like humans they are all so different and have their opinions.
Be observant and watch for clues in all of these scenarios. Watch for too fat or too thin. Watch for subtle changes in behavior (or not so subtle) under saddle. Watch for whether or not your horse seems content.
Watch for us to publish more in depth blogs about each of these subjects singly.
Heart of Phoenix is on a Mission, with the RIGHT HORSE Initiative, to improve the lives of horses in transition + massively increase horse adoption in the United States. We are Good People for Good Horses. As partners of the #RIGHTHORSE, we want to spread the word about equine adoption through growing good partnerships. Our goal is to massively increase the number of successful horse adoptions in the United States by equipping potential adopters and horse owners with the knowledge they need to have a successful relationship with their equine friends. By working together we can do much to re-frame the conversations about ADOPTABLE horses in transition!