Missed Your Horse’s Meal Time? Don’t Worry.

A delay in your horse's ration won't hurt him and may even be a good thing. Here's why you don't need to panic if you're running late with the grain.

No need to excuse yourself from a dinner invitation to feed the horses at a specific time. A ration delivered a few hours earlier or later won’t harm a pleasure horse or one in light work. If anything, varying the schedule may help prevent anticipatory behaviors such as pacing and stall kicking.

A bay horse eating out of a feed pan set on the ground outside.
It’s not a problem if your horse’s meals aren’t served on a set schedule. In fact, it can help prevent behavior issues.

One key to feeding time flexibility is to offer free-choice hay and then enough grain to maintain a horse’s condition divided into as many meals a day as possible. Chowing down a heaping serving of starchy grain on an empty stomach can lead to laminitis or colic.

Click here to learn about different types of colic. 

An elite athlete, however, needs to eat on a more rigid schedule. Every calorie he consumes is precious, and a regimen that delivers meals at the same hour each day give or take 30 minutes optimizes digestion so he extracts every bit of energy from his grain.

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