When feeding horses at pasture or in large paddocks, it can often be a challenge to make sure each horse gets his share of the feed, while reducing waste and feed contamination. Management is the key to successfully feeding horses in a group setting, minimizing social stress and nutritional problems.

Pete Gibbs, PhD, Dipl. ACAN, professor and extension horse specialist at Texas A&M University, grew up on a farm in north Texas that fit young horses for yearling sales, and he has a lot of experience with group feeding. He emphasizes the importance of strategic location of feeders, identifying potential problems with overly aggressive (or very timid) individuals, and recommends that horse owners spend the time necessary to actually see how and where the horses choose to eat.

 

Food fight

ANNE EBERHARDT PHOTO

Spend time watching your horses interact so you can see how to best ensure that each one gets his share.

"The people who put out feed must stay and monitor the eating behavior of the horses," says Gibbs. "Spend some time in the feeding area to train the horses to eat from a particular trough. Horses can be trained, through repetition and repositioning, to eat out of the same feeder every time. If you just put out the feed and leave, you don't know what is really go