The hay roll hog

Sniffing for treats

Since we put new hay rolls in the paddock on Wednesday, Jonathon has hardly moved – except for his jaw. Greedy horse! Rather than move from his spot in front of the hay roll, Jonathon reached right across the top to sniff me out for possible treats yesterday. Since then, he dug several horsehead-shaped holes in the top of the bale, effectively coring the roll before the whole thing collapsed. Calais helped him to spread it far and wide, and crap on top of it, before moving on to the second hay roll and claiming it for himself. Great.

New hay roll, before being dented by a greedy horse's head

New hay roll, before being dented by a greedy horse’s head

We thought putting out multiple hay rolls might keep the horses moving around rather than just setting up camp in one spot. I’ve had enough of their legs filling with fluid just because they are too busy stuffing their faces to bother moving! They are proper greedy gutses, and they’ve got the bulging haybellies and lack of topline to prove it.

Hay belly

Johnny trying to look innocent – but there’s no hiding that big fat haybelly!

Johnny has always been obsessive about food, especially carrots. He bites into his hard feed like he has to chomp it dead, first, before actually chewing and eating it. Feeding him treats is rarely fun. He will snatch the carrot from your hand without letting you pat him, flexing his neck right around to one side, then the other, keeping his face out of reach. Then, before he has even finished chewing, he will come at you for more – nostrils-first, vacuuming you spasmodically, casing you like a sniffer dog at the airport. It is reassuring to have a fence, or gate – or a hay roll! – in between Jonathon and a carrot, just to prevent him from bowling you over to get to the treat.

I am a pushover when it comes to my old man, I let him get away with all kinds of stupidity. I often discipline him if he’s pushy around food, but mostly I find his antics amusing. His personality and his quirks are what drew me to him in the first place, and I would hate to police that out of him. His dislike of being patted, his carrot obsession and endless vacuuming are annoying, but not dangerous. We are both true grumps, Johnny and me, both very silly, so we suit one another.

Turns out, I did have a carrot for him, and of course, he got it. He did have to stretch for it though!

mini-horses march 060


5 thoughts on “The hay roll hog

    • Not at all, I’m always keen to talk horses! ๐Ÿ˜€

      They have ad lib access to the hay, so its there to be eaten, as much as they like. Poor Johnny has had two serious, near-fatal bouts of colic since I have owned him, so it is especially important for his digestive health to have a constant flow of fibre through his system.

      Horses are notorious for wasting hay because they are selective grazers by nature, so they will sift through and pick out the stuff they like the most (usually oaten hay, clover, and any seedheads) and leave the rest. Very frustrating!

      I can’t really hold it against them, though, it’s just the way they are. Plus we get lots of awesome mulch and compost that way ๐Ÿ˜‰

  1. Wow, sounds easier your way. I feed twice a day and it’s a pain to always have to be home to throw hay. If I free fed my horses, they wouldn’t stop eating until they foundered or worse suffered from colic. I just don’t have the luxury of having pasture horses. Lucky you!

    • We used to feed out hay twice daily in hay nets, to try and minimise wastage when hay prices were high. It is a lot of work though, you’re right there! Now that hay is cheaper, and easy to come by, we can afford to feed it ad lib. It really is a luxury, for the horses and for us. I only hard feed once a day now, too.

      Our two are both TBs and hard to keep weight on, so founder is less of a worry than colic. The big guy in the pictures is 16.3hh and takes a lot of feeding – it’s nice seeing him fat for a change! ๐Ÿ˜€

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