I've been doing a lot of research & reading about horse care. From the inside out, you can find research or article A to Z. While I was reading about foot care, I came across a piece that mentioned spreading hay around in different spots of the paddock to promote circulation for healthy foot growth & to stave off boredom. Horses a grazers by nature. They don't stand in one spot to eat, they eat & move. Cookie got her feet trimmed & the Farrier said her feet were really not that bad. They looked awful to me, all chipped & chunky with a few cracks. He suggested making a mud puddle & have her stand in it because it's been so very dry. He said it would help some. Another article said to feed Flax seed for healthy feet. So I bought some Alfalfa cubes & a cat litter pan. (It was cheaper than a dishpan) I break up about 8 - 10 Alfalfa cubes & pour water over the crumbles until it's fairly well soaked. (Soaking prevents choke & gives your horse more moisture in their intake). Then I sprinkle Milled Flax seed over the top. Cookie thinks she's getting something special & knows what the litter pan means. She gets that once at brunch/lunch & once at dinner time. While she's happily munching that, I'll put some hay in with it, some in her manger & then I place little piles all around her paddock, usually a flake or so. She gets roughly 2 1/2 flakes 3 times a day. When I first placed the flakes, I lead her over to each one, showing her where they were. She would stop, take a bite & then do a run/buck/fart back to her manger. I laughed so hard. I took her back to the next pile, & again she run back to her manger. The third time & snorted, shook her head & trotted back to her manger. I just laughed the whole time. I had hoped to get it on video, but she wasn't falling for it the next time.
It's been 3 weeks since adding the milled flax & alfalfa & her mane is growing, her coat is shiny & her feet are doing great.
It's been 2 weeks since I began putting piles of hay here & there in Cookies paddock & she readily leaves her manger to walk around to different piles, grabbing a bite here & there. It's helped to slow her down a little also. Before she was virtually inhailing her hay.
I plan on either buying some hay nets or building small mangers to put her hay in so she's not eating much dirt/sand, leaving them low enough to simulate grazing. Cookie is still adjusting to having her meals spread out & on a schedule where as she was accustomed to free feeding, but she's doing quite well & she's happy.
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