EAT IT. Don’t you know there are starving horses in the world?!

With hay prices soaring and equines starving everywhere… how do I express to my horses that pushing around the hay they don’t like – isn’t OK…


This is so embarrassing.  I just wanna paddle them…

Instead, I’m channeling my father.  Like my Dad always said to my Mom as my brother and I were stuck at the table well past our bedtime for refusing to eat our dinner (it was liver and onions – ugh, I still hate it), “If they get hungry enough, they’ll eat it”.

Unfortunately, Dad was wrong.  We never ate that awful stuff.  In fact, if my Mother hadn’t broken down, we’d still be there today.

But this hay issue with my horses is different, I think.

As you can see, perfectly good grass hay. This was $17/bale… (California hay prices are ridiculous.)


I swear, I could never understand how Hubby would let his little daughters refuse to eat their dinner and then give them dessert as soon as they smiled at him.  I would just seethe and tell him how they were ‘working’ him.

Funny how life kinda comes around and kicks you in the hiney, eh?

You see, the shoe is on the other hoof, so to speak.  I have 5 horses in one pasture who are refusing to eat the perfectly good hay they’ve been given.  Why are they doing this?

As you can see, the perfectly fine grass hay is spread all along the fenceline with no horses nibbling at it.


Here was our exchange today when I realized that they didn’t eat their breakfast:

Them:  Hey!  Come back please.

Me:  Why?

Them:  Uhhh, we understand how this could happen, but we believe that you accidentally gave us the servant’s hay.

Me:  What servant?

Them:  We don’t know but clearly this hay isn’t the hay of preference.  Surely you don’t expect us to eat this?…

Me:  Eat it, and don’t call me Shirley (ba dom bom!)

Them (giving me the sniffy head toss):  Um Hmmm.

Me:  OK, well, that’s all you get.

Them:  Not if we stare at you and make you feel really badly and sorry for us.  Actually, we think we’ll push it around so that you think it is moldy.

Me:  I’m not falling for that one again!

Them:  Yes you will.  We’ll stare at you incessantly commencing now.

Me:  I’m hard as nails, baby… Hard as Nails!

Them:  Heh Heh. We’ll see about that.


Wrigley mauls me as I come into the pasture to check out the hay.  He is trying to convince me that he is starving.


I think there is a mastermind behind all of this.


Yup.  The Grand Dam horse feels that this hay isn’t quite up to her caliber of feed and she is greatly influencing the others.

How else would 5 horses in one pasture refuse to finish their hay when all the other horses in every other pasture have hoovered every last leaf?  All the horses were fed from the E-X-A-C-T same bale.  I’ve checked all the shreds on the ground.  No mold.  They were fed in the same order… Nothing has changed.

But, they won’t eat it because she won’t eat it.

The Instigator, Grand Dam Tess. Here she is pushing her hay around and pleading with me, “It is all bad. I’ve checked, see?!  Haven’t you got anything more palatable like the grain hay I like? I can see it right over there in the barn… you could so easily get some of that for me…it is just right over there… I love you so much.”


As I look back on how Hubby was wrapped around his daughters’ little fingers, I can see how maybe I’ve been a bit manipulated as well…

I spoil Tess.  I feel guilty that she was my show horse for so long and then had 6 babies for me.  I mean, I don’t think she hated it.  In fact, she was a bit let down when her show career was over… and she looooves her babies… but I feel guilty about it all.

Now that she’s a ripe old age of 22, I give her everything she wants.  If she nickers at me, I go over to her.  If she wants to come into the barn, I let her.  If she asks for a cookie, I usually oblige.  If she asks me to jump, I say, “How High”.   Basically, I am her minion and she knows it.

Clearly, she is teaching them all about ‘working’ me to get better hay.

This is Remi in the next pasture. She is telling me that she’d happily go over there and clean up the ignored hay.   If you look in her pasture, you’d need Sherlock Holmes to find one scrap of hay!  The very same hay is totally and completely GONE.


I promise you, as (muffled word here) as my witness, I will NOT give in to her.

Eventually, her gang of 4 disciple horses will resolve their solidarity with Tess and they WILL eat.

In the meantime, I’ll feed the other 6 benevolent horses in the other pastures the yummy hay that the naughty 5 want – the 3-Grain hay.  I know it is childish to parade in front of Tess’ paddock with the very hay she desires, but in an odd way, it makes me feel better for the brief hour or so before I cave and give her what she wants…

Good thing Hubby isn’t around…  ;)

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HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth... if you like this, please pass it around!

9 comments have been posted...

  1. spil gratis

    Dublin started his career and made his name as a goal goals with far-post headers, Dublin was more ERNIE HUNT most sensational goals in the history of British football. Hunt. Willie is remembered for creating the famous ‘donkey-kick’ goal.. ERNIE HUNT Position: Forward CCFC career: 1968-74 Appearances:. 1976 and had an instant impact on the English football. Up to the second news about Steve Hunt from PubSub. Dennis Dixon? [New England Patriots, Sports, Fantasy Football]. It will finish out this one 23rd in opponent field goal. Although many Hummer dealers 1906 by racing Automotive Group.

  2. dawndi Post author

    Yup. Farmers here are going for the money and shipping our hay to Japan. Or, they are growing corn for subsities…

  3. Becky Jeffrey

    $17 a bale, OMG that is so unbelievable I could get 4 bales of alfalfa here in Ohio for that much!

  4. Jody

    Gina: I have a mare the same as you do. She is my hoover. Eats ANYTHING! She is also Insulin Resistant. I bought some suppliments for Insulin Resistance, and it seems to slow her eating down where she does not feel hungry all the time. I think she just does not get full! She will eat until she explodes! So I really do have to watch her, and seperate her from Star, (My Donkey) because she will run from feeder to feeder, and won’t let Star eat, because she wants it all! Maybe try giving her some supplements for “Insulin Resistence”?

  5. barbara

    I playing the same game here. Lots of waste! I put my foot down. eat it all or get fed less. Now I have two grumpy geldings. one stands guard over the ” nasty scrap pile” refusing to eat it, and chasing the younger gelding away from eating it. He is very determined in his protest.

  6. Gina Keesling

    I have a mare who is the exact opposite of this. She will eat anything available – managing her weight is a constant struggle.

    A rather gross example: When the weather is bad our horses are stalled at night. They get hay in their stalls – in small mesh hay bags designed to slow down the “Hoover” (as in vacuum). We also shut the dogs in the barn at night, too, as no one can get any sleep otherwise for their barking at the distant coyotes’ howls. The dogs are pretty good about not having toilet “accidents” but occasionally somebody will pee (or worse) on the floor in the aisleway over night. Not a big deal, I just sweep the shavings that have been kicked under the doors by the horses, along with the hay bits I dropped on the way to the stalls, onto the pee to soak it up. Then it’s a simple matter to scoop it all up with a shovel and take out with the rest of the soiled bedding when I clean the stalls.

    This one mare (the “Hoover”), when let out of her stall in the morning – on the way to the pasture (where she can then eat freely) – will stop in her tracks and try to gobble up the pee-soaked hay bits in that pile of dirt/shavings. I have to CHASE HER away from it. Yuck.

    The only time she’d leave hay like your gang is doing is if she were no longer alive. And if she were in your pastures, with all those lovely shade trees – she’d have eaten all the bark off, as high as could be reached. And the trees would all be dead. So – be careful what you wish for (said with humor)

  7. peg

    What happened to that thingie you saw at the show — a barrel with an insert with holes that kept the hay off the ground and kept them from wasting it????

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