What a difference grain makes!

Back in the Spring when Doc T and Melissa came to my farm to float my two boys, my mini, Houston, was impossible to handle. He is usually fresh, but this Spring he was out of control. I chocked it up to the horses being stuck in the barn for 9 weeks because of the 118 inches of snow that fell here in New England, but Doc T had a different take on Houston’s behavior.

Houston was fed 2 cups of grain (Purina Miniature Horse feed) and 2 pounds of hay per day. Once turnout was no longer possible, I switched him to a “lite” feed (Triple Crown Lite). It really didn’t help his behavior. Because of the snow the only exercise the horses got was a twice daily 5-minute walk up and down the driveway. The longer winter wore on, the worse Houston’s behavior became. His walk up and down the driveway turned into a 2-minute battle.

By the time Doc T and Melissa came in March, Houston was impossible to handle. It took the three of us to halter him so Melissa could work on his teeth. How she managed to float him that spring day is still a mystery to me!

Knowing Houston for 5 years, Doc T knew something was really off with the little guy. He suggested I take him completely off all grain and only feed him hay (plus water and salt). It was also important to get him exercising again as he gained too much extra weight over the winter.

I followed Doc T’s suggestion that day in March and immediately took Houston off all grain. The change in Houston’s attitude was miraculous. Within 2 days of removing grain from his diet, he calmed down, was quiet when being groomed (instead of prancing around and moving away from the brush), picked up his feet for cleaning, walked like a good boy, and was much calmer in his stall.

It is now September and I am extremely pleased to announce that Houston is back to his “normal” self. Doc T and Melissa were just here and Melissa had no problems working on Houston….a big change from last time!

I am amazed how such a small amount of grain could turn Houston into the “mini from hell” and how stopping the grain could, in just 2 days, bring him back to the wonderfully fresh little guy we love so much.

Stephanie Falzone