Waking up to no horses in the pasture is not a great way to start the day.
All five were gone when I peeked out in the pre-dawn hours. Somehow a gate had become unfastened. I pulled on boots and coat and raced out in pj’s. Grabbing rope halters in the barn, I noticed they’d tipped over the grain bin and helped themselves to about 15 pounds of Hay Stretcher before moving on.
Thankfully, we caught them up quickly. (I think the lack of pasture options deterred them from traveling far. They were looking at snow, snow everywhere afterall!)
And thankfully, I reflected, they hadn’t consumed 15 pounds of sweet feed or some other grain.
Hay Stretcher is part of their forage-based diet. It’s basically pelletized grass. The horses like it and recognize it as a treat. But they don’t love it, so they don’t tend to overindulge if the opportunity arises. And even if they do, they aren’t as susceptible to colic as they would be if they broke into traditional grains.