There can be a lot of reasons for horses to lose their appetite. Sometimes it can indicate an illness, other times is just means they’ve had enough.
But if your horse is otherwise healthy, but you feel it’s not eating the correct amount, here are some simple tricks to help them get a full belly.
- Give them the important stuff when they are most hungry.
Don’t let them fill up by grazing all day and then try to feed them the important supplements and nutrients they need. Prioritise the important stuff first.
- Feed them in isolation.
If they’re around other horses, try feeding them alone. This sometimes works, but can also have the reverse effect, making them feel less comfortable and less likely to eat. Experiment as see if either works for your horse.
- If they have a distaste for a necessary food, mix it with water and grain/hay.
A lot of horses won’t eat because some part of their diet just doesn’t taste great (but you know they need it!). If this happens, add the distasteful food to a sludge of water, hay and grain. This porridge-like mixture will cover the bad taste enough for your horse to get it all down.
- Make sure their diet is correct.
Get a nutritionalist or vet in to examine your horse’s diet. Dietary requirements change depending on weather, activity, age, health and a whole bunch of other things. If a horse is being fed something it doesn’t actually need, a lot of the time they’ll just refuse to eat it.
- Add some tasty stuff.
Throw in some of your horse’s favourites to encourage them to give their food a munch. Bran, molasses, honey, applesauce, grated carrot and grated apple are a few things to try.
- Make sure yourhorse has access to fresh pasture.
A horse will very rarely refuse fresh pasture. If they don’t have access, move them to a new paddock.
- Replace uneaten food.
If your horse doesn’t eat everything, make sure you remove the food after a couple of hours. Old, uneaten food isn’t appealing to anybody.
- Look for other problems.
A lack of appetite can sometimes be an indication of a larger problem. These include: disease, pain, vitamin B1 deficiency, mycotoxin poisoning (caused by fungi/mold), rotten food or stress.
Be attentive and look for other symptoms that might implicate any of these things.
Everything you need to know about Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy.
What is it?
Equine Assisted Psychotherapy, or ‘EAP,’ is a form of psychological therapy that makes use of horse and the human-horse relationship as a tool for psychological therapy.
It has been used to help people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, people with self-confidence and anxiety issues, anti-social issues and other mental health issues.
How does it work?
EAP involves having clients interact with horses and developing a working relationship. For clients with specific psychological challenges, the relationship to the horse is used as a model to explore specific difficulties and help the client overcome internal challenges.
EAP is conducted in sessions, and these sessions move at a pace that best benefits the client.
How can I become a client?
EAP practitioners offer individual sessions, group sessions and workshops. Prices vary between offerings and between practitioners, but an hourly rate can be as much as $240 per hour.
Is it effective?
EAP is relatively new, but the majority of research finds that it is linked with positive outcomes for clients, especially children.
How can I become a practitioner?
The Equine Psychotherapy Institute offers two courses, each involving foundational training of 126 hours, and advanced training of 240 hours.
- For people who are already registered psychotherapists, psychologists, mental health nurses or other mental health practitioners, a course is offered which qualifies the student as an Equine Psychotherapy Practitioner.
(Become a mental health professional usually takes about 6 years; 3 in undergraduate, 1 in honours and 2 in masters)
- For people passionate about horses, but with no psychology qualifications, a course is offered which qualifies the student as an Equine Learning Practitioner, but not a therapist.
Each course involves thorough training, including the submission of papers and completion of exams.
To find out how much a private indoor arena would cost, read the article.