Saturday, March 10, 2012

Sir Mix-A-Lot

No... I don't mean the rapper. I mean Roger B Rabbit.

Roger had been with Heather for quite a number of years after his career as a racehorse. If I remember right, 17 years. (Heather will correct me if I'm wrong) The point is, Heather knew him, his personality, and had him on a feed program that worked for both of them.

Roger, at 24 years old, is pretty much set in his ways about what he likes and dislikes, and his eating schedule. Then I bought him and threw a couple of wrenches in the gears.

Heather wrote out what she fed him, how she fed, ingredients, mixology, etc. and sent it home with me. I couldn't find the same ingredients. I didn't have the same "scoop". So, I had to make some changes. The challenge is finding what works best for the horse. I am still figuring that out.

The major problem, last fall, was that he went off his feed and took almost two weeks to settle in. He was not at the track with all the horses, noise and chaos. He was not at the boarding barn with his buddy and the comings and going. He was now at a quiet little country-ish barn with other horses and new feed person who gave him slop that didn't taste the same as before.

With all the other horses here, I throw hay, a scoop of Strategy Healthy Edge, a scoop of whole oats, add warm soaked beet pulp in the winter, and add supplements as required. Everybody eats every crumb. Not Roger.

Oh no! Definitely NOT Roger! He would go out to graze on the pasture IF Lucy was with him. (Initially, he a short affair with Jazzy, but Lucy is his girl!) If Lucy wasn't turned out, Roger didn't go out. He would eat SOME of the alfalfa, but routinely leaves about a quarter of it on the ground, mostly stems, but not all.

Fill a tub with beet pulp and let him have it and for three days he will eat it all. Then he turns up his nose and I have to feed it to the "fat hogs" that don't really need it. If I mix a big bucket of beet pulp, molasses, feed (Healthy Edge), and oats, he will stuff his mouth, then use his nose to sling it out on the ground. If it's on the ground, he won't eat it. The first time I added apple cider vinegar to the automatic water tank, he thought I was trying to poison him and got dehydrated. Lucky for me and him, Jazzy drank enough to remove most of it, and he decided it was safe to drink again.

He prefers the white salt, as opposed to the red salt blocks. And the Redmond Rock with salt and 50 trace minerals? He wondered why I am putting a ten pound rock on his plate and pooped on it.

He likes to have his heavy winter blanket on to protect against cold mornings. However, I have to follow him around while buckling it up because he needs to check to make sure Lucy is still on the other side of the fence. Once he sees that she is, he turns back into the stall to grab another bite of hay, then back out the check on Lucy.

Roger and his woman, Lucy

During the weekend, I am in and out of the barn quite a bit throughout the day and usually throw Roger an extra flake of hay for him to munch on, spread around, and waste. Since he is a cribber, I figure it best to keep hay in front of him all the time. (Heaven forbid he leave Lucy and go eat any grass on the pasture - although this time of year, there isn't much there anyway, but STILL)

Yesterday, I tossed him a handful of some orchard grass hay. I figured he would take a few bites, nose it around, and then pee on it. To my surprise, he actually ate it. I repeated the offer last night, a flake of alfalfa and wee bit of grass hay. It was ALL gone this morning.

Somewhere in the dim recesses of my tiny pea brain, something bumped up the dimmer switch, adding a little light on this conundrum. Roger is happiest with change.

So I am going to experiment with the theory of changing it up every couple of days and see if we can't make His Majesty happy. He is the only horse I know that will turn up his nose at food.


WishIHadAHorsey said...

Too funny!

Nikker said...

What a complex character you've got there! I think I love him! (0: