Select Page

An Evaluation of the Introduction of Continuous Feeding for 34 Stabled Horses

Research Project Abstract – An Evaluation of the Introduction of Continuous Feeding for 34 Stabled Horses

The consequences of intermittent feeding for stabled horses are increasingly being acknowledged, researched and documented. For many stabled horses, access to continuous grazing can be quite limited. Amongst some of the stereotypical behaviours that may arise from this, many equines may develop ulcers as a result of the intermittent feeding regime within many stables.

This project tracks the progress of the introduction of continuous feeding amongst 34 stabled horses between October 2010 and September 2011, with research continuing into 2012. Some of the benefits of the introduction of continuous feeing include calmer horses, horses putting on and keeping condition, considerably less intensity in relation to returning from the arena to the stables as horses associate the stable with feed at particular times of the day, virtually no resistance to leaving the stable for lessons and considerably less agitation around feeding time.

Hay nets were weighed over a period of 4 months with the ultimate objective to have between 1kg and 2 kg in the bag each morning. Difficulties arose with weight gain and the challenge of balancing continuous access to hay with keeping weight at a healthy limit. The presentation will show video footage of horses before and after and particularly behaviours around feeding time.

Bibliography

Cooper, J.J., Mason, G.J., 1998. The identification of abnormal behaviour and behavioural problems in stabled horses and their relationship to horse welfare: a comparative review. Eq. Vet. J. Suppl. Suppl. 27, 5–9.

Davidson, H.P.B., 1999. Natural horse – unnatural behaviour: why understanding natural horse behaviour is important. In: Harris, P.A., Gomarsall, G.M., Davidson, H.P.B., Green, R.E. (Eds.), Proceedings of the BEVA Specialist Days on Behaviour and Nutrition. Newmarket, Eq. Vet. J. 7–10.

Epidemiological clues to preventing colic  Review Article The Veterinary Journal, Volume 172, Issue 1, July 2006, Pages 29-39
D.C. Archer, C.J. Proudman

Foraging enrichment for individually housed horses: Practicality and effects on behaviour  Original Research Article Applied Animal Behaviour Science, Volume 94, Issues 1-2, October 2005, Pages 149-164 J.B. Thorne, D. Goodwin, M.J. Kennedy, H.P.B. Davidson, P. Harris

New Perspectives in Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome  Review Article
Veterinary Clinics of North America: Equine Practice, Volume 25, Issue 2, August 2009, Pages 283-301 Ricardo Videla, Frank M. Andrews

The Role of Nutrition in Colic  Review Article Veterinary Clinics of North America: Equine Practice, Volume 25, Issue 1, April 2009, Pages 67-78
Andy E. Durham