Young horse dropping feed

My girl has been a messy eater since I got her. I bought her in January when she was 2yrs 8mo old. She’s now 3yrs 6months and it seems like it’s gotten worse in the past two months. She drops a LOT of feed. At first I thought she was dumping her bucket…but after trying several other buckets (permanently attached to the wall, rubber pail on the ground, etc.), she is still dropping grain.

I haven’t noticed anything foul smelling or soreness in her mouth when I feel around, so I’m not sure if it’s a dental issue or not. I’ve always been told horses don’t need their teeth floated until they’re around 5.

Am I being paranoid? Do any of you guys have horses that are messy eaters? Any suggestions on how to reduce the mess?


Is the feed a wet mash? My mare will drop bits of her really soupy mash. If you are feeding dry pellets or other non messy food, my gut says teeth, even at her age.

Youngsters need to be floated. Caps need to come off at certain times and helped out of they are not shedding properly. Baby teeth are softer than adult teeth and need to be maintained until they are shed.

Get the dentist out to look at her.

I have to say though, our 3 year old was recently floated and he still drops his grain everywhere (maybe no one taught him to keep his mouth shut lol). And my first horse was a grain dropper too (even after being floated by one of the best vets in the area once a year).

So I would definitely get her teeth looked at, but she might just be a messy eater.

She REALLY needs to see a vet who is skilled enough in dentistry to at least know or suspect the teeth need to be done, or a dentist.

My 2.5 yo just got floated, and he had SHARP baby teeth, which my vet (who specializes in dentistry) is not uncommon. And yes, she said sometimes there will be a funky cap that will pop off during the process and SHOULD come off because of some interference.

5 is way to too long for a first check. 3 is too long for a first check :wink:

I would definitively have the dentist do a thorough exam/float of the mouth to address any possible issues…that aside…I really like for my messy eaters!

Five is way too late. If your horse is uncomfortable, by then they have had years of learning to dislike contact. Baby horse’s mouths change fast…
It is common practice for most trainers i know to have the caps knocked off, a light float and the wolf teeth pulled before ever putting a bit in the horse’s mouth. I did that with my three year old this spring and will re-check his mouth in October…

My vet now pulls (or rather pops out) wolf teeth, if present, when colts are gelded - over and done and soooo much easier!

I’ve always been told horses don’t need their teeth floated until they’re around 5.


My vet told me last week, as she was floating my 2yo’s teeth, that PC teaches 10 years! :eek: :eek:

I start with floating at 12 months at the latest.

Woah! Looks like my old vet was really wrong…switched to a new one a few months ago and after talking to him this morning, he is coming out with the dentist next week! Thank goodness.

Concetta- Just bought that bucket on Monday at my local feed store in hopes it would work, and it does a little better than the regular feed bin I have in my stalls. I like it so far!

Whew. Thank god I asked y’all!!

Nope, just pellets. Sometimes I’ll wet it down a tad to mix her supplements in…but it doesn’t seem to make a difference either way!

My 19 y.o gelding has always been a sloppy eater when it comes to grain. Chews like a little kid with their mouth open. He has had semi-annual or annual dental care for the 12 years I have owned him.

He did a little strange coughing a couple of weeks ago with a little wet gob of chewed hay and saliva, but not quidding. The dentist happened to be coming that day. He found a couple of small points on one side. Floated him, which fixed the problem. I think he was just having a problem clearing and swallowing on one side.

I worked on a 3 year with a tragic mouth this week. The eruption process had not gone smoothly so his arcades we’re already very irregular. Some very high teeth and some very sharp teeth. The end result was numerous sores inside his cheeks and an inability to chew properly. Get his teeth checked.

walktrot- that’s interesting. I have a 36 y/o gelding that gets food stuck in his cheeks (like a chipmunk) except it’s because he is missing a lot of teeth! I’ve looked into dentures, but sadly they don’t come in his size…