As a horse owner, I have moved quite a few horses around and recently moved my gelding to a new boarding facility, so thought this would be a good opportunity to share one aspect of my experience.
To help maintain as much consistency in his routine as possible, I made sure that I had two weeks’ worth of hay to take with me to help keep his diet consistent throughout the move and to allow for a gradual transition to the new hay.
When I told the barn managers at the new facility that I was bringing a few bales of hay over, they seemed a little surprised at this and told me not to worry about it, because they had high quality hay. I asked them if they would recommend a sudden change in a horse’s grain ration, and immediately they said of course not, due to colic risk. I replied, “Then why would you switch their hay cold turkey, when it makes up 60 to 70% of the horses diet?” and watched their expressions as they realized the point I was making.
As a result, along with keeping his grain ration and meal times consistent with the previous routine, a gradual transition from the previous hay to the new hay was done over a two week period. For the first couple of days he received his “old” hay only, and over time we incrementally replaced a small portion of his “old hay” with the “new hay” so that at two weeks post-move, he was completely switched over without any problems or decline in performance.
As horse owners, it is important to keep in mind that any sudden changes in diet, including fresh pasture and hay, can disrupt the environment in the gut where communities of microbes reside. Consequ