Horse Quidding

 

Sometimes, for whatever reason, a horse will be uncomfortable or painful when eating. As a result, they might start collecting hay in their mouth, forming the hay into balls, and dropping them out. You may also see little bits of pellets or grains falling out. This is quidding in horses. You may see your horse quid, or you may find balls or food bits that indicate horse quidding. When a horse has missing teeth or other dental issues, quidding is more likely.

 

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hay quids on the stall floor

Look at what your horse leaves behind. This is where you might find the results of quidding!

 

Horse quidding causes

 

Time to detective your way into helping your horse eat better! You will need your vet, a keen eye for observation, and a desire to investigate new feeds and forages.

 

  • The problem with quidding is layered—what’s the cause? Does eating cause pain? Is your horse’s diet a factor? Does your horse need the dentist? Will quidding lead to choke, where food blocks the esophagus?

 

  • Quidding is a sign that something is wrong in your horse’s mouth and/or body. There are many culprits, which will require some investigation by your veterinarian and a look at your horse’s nutrition and feeding plan.

 

Read more about choke here.

 

Your horse needs a vet to look at possible chewing issues:

 

  • Bad teeth are a top reason for horse quidding. A horse with a hook, chip, or rough edge has trouble eating and may damage their gums and cheeks, too. Sometimes the teeth are not aligning, there is a wave, or other dental and aging issues cause hooks and rough edges.

 

  • A fractured tooth. The ailing tooth may not feel or look out of alignment, but it’s pretty much broken and causing problems. Sometimes the fracture will cause part of the tooth to fall out, or it will remain *mostly* in place. Either way, pain is likely.

 

  • An abscessed tooth. Talk about ouch. When a tooth becomes infected, your horse will have pain, and often a horrible smell in their mouth. Most abscessed teeth are removed.

 

Read more about dental health in horses here.

 

 

horse tooth with sharp edge pointing to the tongue

Bad chompers (like this huge hook) make chewing properly next to impossible. Not to mention painful.

 

Is there another dysfunction creating a quidding problem?

 

 

  • Arthritis can often play a part in how comfortably your horse eats. Horses get TMJ issues, just like humans! That’s the point where the jaws meet, and just like other joints, it can develop inflammation and decreased movement.

 

  • Is there a foreign object lodged in your horse’s mouth? It wouldn’t surprise many vets to find a stick or something wedged in your horse’s mouth.

 

  • Is there some sort of injury to your horse’s face or jaw? A puncture, swelling from an insect bite, a fracture, a kick, a bruise? All things for the vet to investigate.

 

  • There is a rare chance that tongue paralysis happens, which will obviously impact chewing, swallowing, and all things mouth and eating-related.

 

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How to help reduce horse quidding

 

  • Start with a thorough physical exam and dental exam from your vet. Perhaps your horse needs a dental float? Or a tooth removed? While it’s true that aging horses slow down the rate of tooth growth, there are still problems to be addressed that won’t be fixed with a floating. Have your vet do a dental exam during spring and fall vaccine times and any time you notice a change in eating habits.

 

  • It’s thought that quidding is a way for horses to dispense with feed chunks that they can’t eat, thereby protecting themselves from choking. However, not all horses will spit out quids and other chunks of food that they find difficult to eat. If you notice this behavior, change their diet accordingly.

 

Feeding changes to help quidding in horses

 

Forage options 

 

  • It might be the case where you are soaking their forage and grain meals with plenty of water until their underlying issue is resolved. It might also be the case that soaking their forage and grain meals continues well after the initial issue is resolved.

 

  • It’s easy to stash a hay net into a muck tub of water to rinse dust away and soften hay for easier chewing.

 

  • Steamed hay may work for your horse, too. Most hay steamers, either purchased or made as a DIY, help remove dust and soften the hay without removing any sugars or nutrients. Steaming may be easier to manage than soaking hay in the heat of summer and the cold of winter, as steaming avoids rancid, hot hay soup or frozen hay bits.

 

For a comparison of steaming and soak, read this. 

 

  • The type of hay you feed may help your horse, too. Long forage with thicker, hardier stems is harder to chew. Some horses can strip stems of leaves, like with alfalfa hay, but other types, like oat hay or timothy, may not have enough leaves for the number of stems.

 

  • Don’t overlook forage options such as cubes, pellets, and chopped hay to help your horse chew shorter pieces of forage. They can always be soaked, too!

 

large bolus of quidding from a horse

Some quids are large; some are small.

 

Feeds and supplements

 

  • Senior feeds are designed to be palatable, provide an impressive range of nutrients, and are quite easy on the chompers.

 

  • Use slow feeders, and you can find slow feeders for both pelleted feeds and grains and longer stem forage.

 

  • If possible, let your horse graze to their heart’s content. Grass is easy to chew and chock full of nutrients. However, it’s not great for high laminitis or high colic risk horses. Use grazing muzzles if that’s the case, or if your horse is on the heftier side and doesn’t benefit from those calories.

 

  • For harder keepers, use calorie supplements to replace any calories lost from forage. Many senior feeds have added calories, and oils high in Omega fatty acids are recommended, too. Stay away from the Omega-6 fatty acids of corn oil, and use flax instead. The advantage of flax is the shelf life, and you won’t have any messy liquid oils to feed and clean up.

 

flax for horses Thank you!

Flax is easy to store and delicious for horses, too!

 

How many times a day should you feed a horse that quids?

 

Horses should ideally be fed small amounts of food multiple times a day, aiming for at least two to three feedings of grains and supplements.  Forage should always be available.  This helps mimic their natural grazing behavior, aids in digestion, and prevents issues like horse quidding and ulcers. 

 

What shouldn’t you feed a horse that quids?

 

Avoid feeding horses chocolate, caffeine, onions, garlic, tomatoes, and any food that’s moldy or spoiled. These are toxic to horses and lead to serious health issues like colic or even death. Stick to horse-friendly foods like hay, grains, fruits, and vegetables in tiny pieces, and soft treats may be better for quidding in horses.  

 

Why is it necessary to float a horse’s teeth?

 

Floating a horse’s teeth is necessary to remove sharp points and edges that develop on the horse’s molars. These points can cause discomfort, pain, and difficulty chewing for the horse and cause quidding in horses. Regular dental care, including floating, helps maintain proper dental health and prevent issues with eating and performance.

 

Take quidding seriously and help your horse feel comfortable eating. It is their favorite thing to do, after all!

 

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Stock up here to help reduce horse quidding. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases, but it’s ZERO extra cents to you. 

04/10/2024 08:03 pm GMT
Big Hoss - Outlaw Nutrition

Omega 3's plus gut health support in a delicious cold milled flax formula. It's delicious and it will turn your horse's coat into a mirror.

Grazing Muzzle by GG Equine

Basket-style grazing muzzle to help keep a horse at a healthy weight and help reduce the risks of colic and laminitis in some horses.


Use code 15PROEQUINE for savings sitewide on muzzles, halters, slow feeders, and more.

HayPlay Slow Feed Bag – GG Equine - 2 sizes available

2 sizes of this slow-feeding hay toy - snack size holds a few flakes, and the half size holds 1/2 bale.


Use code 15PROEQUINE for sitewide savings on slow feeders and more.

40 lb. Alfalfa Cubes
$35.02 ($0.05 / Fl Oz)
04/10/2024 06:48 pm GMT

You can also visit my Amazon storefront here:  PEG storefront.

03/12/2024 01:43 am GMT
Jolly Pets Horsemen's Pride Amazing Graze Toy
$76.76

Keep your horse's brain happy!

03/10/2024 06:38 pm GMT
FORTEX INDUSTRIES Feed Saver Ring
$14.61

Great to use with buckets to discourage cribbing

04/10/2024 07:03 pm GMT
Equiessentials Slow Feed Hay Ball Large
$155.18 $131.24 ($131.24 / Count)
03/10/2024 11:08 pm GMT
03/11/2024 07:07 am GMT
Grazing Muzzle by GG Equine

Basket-style grazing muzzle to help keep a horse at a healthy weight and help reduce the risks of colic and laminitis in some horses.


Use code 15PROEQUINE for savings sitewide on muzzles, halters, slow feeders, and more.

HayPlay Slow Feed Bag XL – GG Equine

One side of this innovative slow feeder is solid - perfect for pastures! It will hold a small bale of hay.


Use code 15PROEQUINE for sitewide savings on slow feeders and more.

HayPlay Slow Feed Bag – GG Equine - 2 sizes available

2 sizes of this slow-feeding hay toy - snack size holds a few flakes, and the half size holds 1/2 bale.


Use code 15PROEQUINE for sitewide savings on slow feeders and more.

40 lb. Alfalfa Cubes
$35.02 ($0.05 / Fl Oz)
04/10/2024 06:48 pm GMT
04/10/2024 08:03 pm GMT

 

Thank you!