Preventing choking horses

Preventing choking horses isn’t always easy. Some horses are more prone to choking than others. Sometimes it is dental issues, cribbing while eating or others it is bolting of food…whatever the reason it is something that can be a big problem. So how do you feed a horse that easily chokes?Firstly…

  1. Feed food soaked into a mash. I like using hay cubes or pellets soaked with enough water to make it a bit of a slurry.  When a horse chokes it tries to cultivate lots of saliva to dissolve the bolus of food that is stuck…this is easier to do when the food isn’t dry to begin with or too big. When it is all dissolved this isn’t a problem.
  2. If I need to or want to add in whole foods that pose a choking hazard like carrots, oats and other grains or fruits/vegetables I grind everything up. I grind up my whole oats husk and all along with my flax seeds and then mix in my hay cubes. For the apples and carrots for example I juice them for myself or the horses and then give the pulp with or without the juice or put in a blender with other fruits and vegetables.
  3. If your horse bolts food you can use a flat feed bucket that has more surface area so the horse has to lick the food rather than take big bites. Some use large stones the horse has to work around. Whatever works for your particular horse.

As horses get older and some may be missing teeth…I find it is better to do the above approach to prevent any choking just in case. It also makes everything much more easily digestible for older horses whose digestion is not the greatest any more.

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