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Horses under-fed?

Original post made on May 21, 2009

Passerby feeds two horses that are penned up in a pasture on Dublin Canyon Road just west of the Pleasanton Marriott Hotel at Foothill Road.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, May 21, 2009, 6:45 AM

Comments (15)

Posted by Farmer Bill, a resident of Livermore
on May 21, 2009 at 9:28 am

With the three years of drought hay prices are through the roof. A $10 bale of hay four years ago is going for about double that. There will be more of this in the area unfortunately. Sad but also cool to see people trying to help out animals. The problem is though that horses need clean hay, preferably oat or grass hay without weeds like bronco grass or they will get sick or founder. I hope that those feeding the horses know this or the horses can die.


Posted by PJ, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 21, 2009 at 9:53 am

Farmer Bill wrote: "The problem is though that horses need clean hay, preferably oat or grass hay without weeds like bronco grass or they will get sick or founder. I hope that those feeding the horses know this or the horses can die."

If they didn't, they will now thanks to your post. This is good collaboration between kind neighbors, the Pleasanton Weekly and helpful posters.


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on May 21, 2009 at 10:51 am

I sure hope that the horses get proper nutrition so that they thrive.


Posted by Animal Lover, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 21, 2009 at 6:09 pm

Aren't there laws about not starving your animals? Can't the county animal control department take them away if the owner cannot care for them?


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on May 21, 2009 at 6:19 pm

The owner's will have to be sited for cruelty to animals. If they're not being fed properly, a judge that animal control take over. Problem solved.


Posted by Farmer Bill, a resident of Livermore
on May 21, 2009 at 7:13 pm

A general rule is that a horse needs about a half of a bale of hay per day to satisfy baseline dietary requirements. Two horses (if there are two) means a bale a day every day. Overfeeding can cause problems, so it should be done daily, not seven bales a week. Water, clean fresh water, is even more important. Do they have this? Do they have good shelter? In this heat a horse need more water, and shade. There are too many animals for the government to truly 'police' them all or often. Basically someone needs to file a report to get an investigation.


Posted by Ghetto Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 21, 2009 at 8:12 pm

So, these horses belong to a member of the church that sits up on the hill just above where the horses are kept. He does not rent the property, they are probably allowing him to keep the horses there so that they eat the weeds, but weeds do not qualify as food! These poor horses have been here for years being neglected, I hope that someone sites this individual and even the property owners for allowing this blatent cruelty to animals.


Posted by Farmer Bill, a resident of Livermore
on May 22, 2009 at 9:00 am

In response to Ghetto Resident,
Goats and sheep are the only animals that should be used for weed abatement. Cattle and horses are not appropriate for this use since they will eat the grasses and leave most weeds behind. If a horse eats many of the local weeds they will get sick. So that is an awful excuse.


Posted by ANNONYMOUS, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on May 22, 2009 at 9:33 am

i live also up the street from these horses and I see them everyday. I had noticed that they were looking slightly skinny. I probably like most people assumed the owner of the property also owned the horses. I am glad someone contacted animal control to go out and check them out. It isn't fair for them to just be abandoned.


Posted by Anonymous, a resident of another community
on May 22, 2009 at 10:18 am

While I applaud the efforts others are taking to help these horses, it should not include feeding them. As a livelong equestrian, I can say that careful selection of feed is important. Given the horse the wrong type of food or too much can cause problems. If random people show up at random intervals to feed these horses, it's quite likely that they could end up with any number of problems including, but not limited to founder or colic. The best thing that can be done is to call animal control or the appropriate local authorities.


Posted by equestrian, a resident of another community
on May 22, 2009 at 7:38 pm

It's heartwarming to know people care, but please, NEVER feed horses without talking with the owners or calling Animal Control to check on conditions. Obesity is as much of a problem as underfeeding -- and we here in USA are often confusing obesity with well-being in our animals.

Some horses may look slightly underweight, like the ones in the photo - ribs are showing. But this one photo is not enough to determine if these horses need help, or are merely a little on the thin side. It could well be the owner is aware and dealing with a (minor?) horse health issue, or it could be the horses are "hard keepers." Older horses do not have to look thin, but some do.

Horses are tough and sensitive at the same time. Horses are not supposed to change diet suddenly, and any feeds, even grass, or apples, can be harmful if a horse isn't used to it. Grazing on lush pasture for more than about 10 minutes at first could potentially lead to a horse's stomach upset, blood pressure changes, and founder (feet problems) for a horse not used to pasture.

Also, please, never handfeed or pet horses unless the owner approves -- it's like giving candy to other people's children, not ok without asking the parents. Could be harmful if a child (or a horse) is diabetic. And even the friendliest horse can unwittingly hurt someone, especially people who don't know horses.


Posted by horsewoman, a resident of another community
on May 22, 2009 at 10:16 pm

Farmer Bill your interest in these horses is admirable but to suggest the a horse eats a half a bale of hay is ridiculous. I feed eight horses one bale of hay per feeding and they are all fat and work 4 - 6 miles of galloping a day. Maybe a draft horse eats that much hay a day but it is a disservice to the public to tell people that a horse needs to eat that much hay. They require 10-15 lbs a day and the hay bales here in CA weigh 120lbs-180 lbs so it would be unwise to assume that a horse not in work should be eating 60lbs of hay a day.


Posted by Horsewoman's wrong, a resident of Country Fair
on May 23, 2009 at 8:57 am

A bale being 180lb? Ha. What bailer has that compression? New Holland? How many flakes per bale? At your numbers a bale could feed 18 horses a day and you feed 8?


Posted by Farmer Bill, a resident of Livermore
on May 23, 2009 at 9:07 am

Dr. Carolyn R. Simmelink...

Web Link

Weight of bale, hay type, amount of grain in bale, temperature, type of horse, amount horse works all matters. 180 pound bales? No way unless it's wet. A New Holland or Hesston won't do that consistently. 120 is a heavy bale. I bet an 8th bale a day means alfalfa. Mistake many make.


Posted by Good Info, a resident of Livermore
on May 24, 2009 at 6:32 pm

Farmer Bill has the best, most accurate info, but here's possibly better. Without foriage available hay should be given at 2-2.5% of horses bodyweight daily. For a decent sized horse, maybe 1300 lbs, that means around 32 lbs. of hay every day spilt into two feedings preferably. That means about a quarter of a heavy bale of oat hay(120 lbs.). This is close to a half a light bale. 180 lb bale? Ha. Where are those available? Not Livermore feed, Gigli, Rose, Valley Growers Assoc.


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