Maria Wachter takes a tongue-in-cheek look at one potential cause of all of your horse’s problems.
Is your horse hangry?
The Oxford English Dictionary definition: hangry: bad-tempered or irritable as a result of hunger.
The Urban Dictionary definition: hangry: when you are so hungry that your lack of food causes you to become angry, frustrated or both.
Can you relate? I know I can!
I just watched an episode of Dr. Oz: he was talking about being hangry and what it does to your mind and body. I could totally relate — all decency goes out the door. I become a fire-breathing monster, an emotional mess, when I’m hungry. Before I make any major decisions — heck, even minor ones, like what I should wear when I wake up — I make sure I eat beforehand. If I have an empty belly, I become short and snappy, and all of my judgment is clouded by my intense hunger.
As I grow older, I’ve learned to recognize what is going on with myself and fix it before it escalates. I feel truly sorry for all the hurt I have caused my family and loved ones over the years due to my crappy attitude in the morning … or in the evening … or anytime I’ve been hungry.
I admit it, I’ve been a jerk.
So this makes me wonder … maybe some of your horses’ bad behaviors stem from them being hungry? The horse was designed by nature to be grazing practically 24/7. They have little stomachs and if they don’t have food in their bellies at times, they’re basically hungry … or maybe hangry.
I read somewhere once that the way the horse is designed, after they eat a meal, their belly empties within an hour and they’re hungry again. I don’t know how true this is, but I do know they always want to eat. So how can it be good for a horse that is supposed to eat 24/7 to only have two meals a day?
A lot of people complain that their horse misbehaves or acts up and they can’t pinpoint why. I know when I take my horses and mules on a long trail ride (I’m talking a serious long ride, not just a little ride around the block), I make sure to pack a lunch for them as well as myself. If I can’t think straight when I’m starving, how can they?
There have been times when I have forgotten to pack them a lunch and I have noticed a difference in their performance. They start getting sluggish, and when we turn around to go home, they seem to want to rush. Barn sour, you say? Wouldn’t it be funny if they could talk, and say “Hey, I’m just rushing to get home so I can eat because I’m starving!!!”
Now, please don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying you should be feeding your horse treats every time he asks. All I’m saying is maybe your horse will be more agreeable to work with if he’s got something in his belly.
I know I am.