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Should I worry about these horses?

FLmom

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My mom has mini horses. She obtained them many years ago with her husband. It was mainly his passion but after his death she kept a few of them and has continued to care for them for many years. Their care has been questioned in the past but I was not hugely involved with what happened but supposedly one of the horses was pregnant and my mother didn't know it and it gave birth and died while it was at a boarding facility. The rumor I heard was my mother was being blamed for not knowing due to not being willing to pay a vet to find out. Therefor the horse was not treated/fed properly for a pregnant horse. I made a few phone calls but I was 800 miles away and the parties involved did not know me and everyone seemed to have found resolve the boarding facility returned her horses and things went back to normal. She now had two female horses and no chances for breeding errors. My mother has money. Plenty of money to pay for a vet whenever it's needed. She tends to be very very cheap and hold her purse strings very tight. That's fine. It's her money and she has always been that way. Anyway now that we have lived in the same town with her and for a while the same house. I've questioned things she does with the horses. It seems her ways are more about saving a buck than doing what they need. Like their sweet feed. How much are they supposed to get? She gives them one small very small handful each afternoon. To me that seems so small. I realize they are mini horses but they go wild for that stuff and I just wondered is she just rationing to save money or is this correct feeding? Then with their hay at night she gives a tiny chunk of hay for both horses. Is that normal also? Also she lets them out to the grassy field around 730am and brings them into the barn around 230 or 3pm. She used to leave them till at least 4 pm but she says they are getting fat so she brings them in early. They don't get any other foods or treats ever. They don't look malnourished. They have big bellies so I figured she knows what she's doing. Now the big issue is she got a male mini a few months ago. She's decided she wants them to breed. I've asked her how will she know if they are pregnant. She said she will find out in April when the vet comes. That doesn't sound right to me. I asked her why can't she have the vet come now if she thinks its possible they are pregnant. I went on to ask her if pregnant horses probably need to be fed differently don't they? She says nope it's not an issue and she doesn't want to pay the vet extra to come out before April. So today when we were there one horse looks huge on one side of her belly. I asked her about it and she said oh no she's a fatty. And she added she will find out if she's pregnant in April when the vets regular visit comes up. So I don't know what to do. Do I need to have a talk with my mother or does this sound normal? It may seem really stupid for me to not know but I've never been around horses or owned one so I really don't know what they eat or how much.

Thanks for any info you can give
 

Greycloud

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Hopefully someone will along that knows about Miniature horses as well as breeding. I think you may have answered your own questions though.
 

FLmom

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I would first really like to know if that feeding routine sounds right to those who know. Then I also really need to know if this horse is possibly pregnant, is there anything that needs to be done now feeding wise or care wise? I can sit my mom down and usually talk some sense into her when needed. But on this issue I don't know what I'm talking about so I can only guess and assume she knows what she is doing. So I thought since this place is my go to place for parrot info maybe I can get the same type of info for these horses.
 

SunUp

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Do you know if she worms the horses on a regular basis? A heavy parasite load can cause a bloated belly, making the horse look "fat", although it's not normal to be huge on only one side. April is way too long to wait to have the mare checked by the vet. Do you know if she has them vaccinated yearly? Food wise, you do have to be careful not to overfeed the minis. They don't need much.
Hopefully you can talk your mom into getting a vet out.
 

FLmom

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Yes she does worm. I'm not sure how often but I Remember her mentioning several times about going to the store to get worm meds. and the vet comes out yearly.
 

RJ Noodle

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The feeding is prob right, although I feed pellets, not sweet feed. Minis are notoriously hard to foal out and need help most of the time. Like any other animal indiscriminate breeding is not a good thing. Think about someone who just throws a bunch of parrots together and says whatever, they can breed or not. Then multiply that by extremely difficult births and high mortality rates. It just is very unfair. Sorry but I think you should discuss this with your mom and tell her this is unacceptable especially with no interest in paying for good medical care of mare and foal. I ask a lot of questions about my parrot, but horses, I know! Good luck.
 

Hrtofau2

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I am by no means expert, nor do I even know horses. But if she is turning them out into a grassy field, they would need less hay ~ as they should be grazing throughout the day...."sweet" feed such as oats, grain ect do not need to be fed often. When I helped out with friends horses, we fed high quality hay twice a day (on animals NOT in turn out with grass) and grain was fed only as treats. On animals that where on grass turn outs we fed once a day a reduced quantity. But these where not minis, they where Arabs. But i would imagine basic care would be the same, just smaller scale.

I do agree April is too long for the vet especially if she does not know if the mare is pregnant or not. Though I will say that we did not always vet check possible pregnant females, we treated them as such until we knew that they where not pregnant. That meant extra feed, extra close eye on them for possible complications and grain/vitamins where given regularly.
 

SunUp

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Yes she does worm. I'm not sure how often but I Remember her mentioning several times about going to the store to get worm meds. and the vet comes out yearly.
OK, that sounds good. What you said about the mini being huge on only one side really doesn't sound right, though. I've had horses for decades and it's not a normal thing. Although if being a "fatty" means she's actually really obese, I suppose it could manifest in that way. But if she's that obese she shouldn't be bred.
 

FLmom

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Ok thanks for that. I'll have a talk with her about getting the vet over ASAP just to be sure they are healthy. I feel better about the feeding though. I just assume horses eat like "horses" and it seemed so little to feed them. But I guess she's doing it right.
 

SallyQZ

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Mini's require much much less feed than one would expect. They have a problem with obesity and don't usually get the proper amount of exercise. They most likely don't need the sweet feed at all. My friends mini didn't even get hay, just hay pellets, and an astonishingly small amount of pellets.

They do require regular vet care though, just like a full sized horse. Regular deworming, farrier care, and vet visits for vaccinations, etc.

It's unfortunate that she has decided to start breeding these horses. They are prone to foaling complications, as mentioned by an earlier poster, and the market is flooded with backyard breeder's foals. Maybe if she realizes that she is not going to get rich by breeding these mares? Show her some Craigslist ads for mini's, where the owner is practically giving them away. Remind her that one vet bill for a foaling complication could eat up any "profit" and remind her that for each baby she can't sell, she'll have more expenses for shots, deworming, food, and vet. :(

I wish people would realize that, just because it has a uterus, doesn't mean it needs to be bred!! :arghh:
 

RJ Noodle

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Horses have tiny stomachs compared to the rest of their body and will literally eat themselves to death. By nature they are meant to graze all day and not be fed a big serving at a time. So as long as they have pasture they should not get a lot of feed. Esp the little guys...minis and ponies.
 

FLmom

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It's my impression my mom was letting them breed and intends to keep any babies. I agree with all that was said above. I will have a talk with her,
 
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