Off food before riding


New Member
Mar 22, 2013
Do you give your horse time off food before you ride? How long?

Off grass? Do you think this is the same as hay and give time off hay before ride too?

I give at least an hour after hard feed or grass before ride but dont as long if nibbliing hay.......


Well-Known Member
Sep 14, 2009
I only feed grass nuts so this doesn't matter for mine - just fibre, so he can 'eat and go'!! Obviously cereal based feeds are different as horses are not designed to eat them, so yes, you are right not to feed cereal and then ride.

I would never withold forage from horses - hay or grass is absolutely fine up to the second you get on, and even whilst you are riding if you like!


Active Member
Dec 18, 2007
Bournemouth, Dorset
I wouldnt dream of feeding before a ride - dinner is her reward for working! She is out eating grass 24/7 anyway and I figure by the time Ive brushed, trailered wherever we are going, tacked up etc then thats plenty enough time. We nearly always trailer to our rides and she doesnt have a hay bag in the van. that said she snatches a mouthful wherever she can along the way so its immaterial!


New Member
Mar 23, 2012
Gateway to europe
I never really do any hard work, so mine always munch a hay net whilst I am getting them ready to ride. I don't feed concentrates before work of any kind.

If I was doing anything really energetic. I would not give hay or grass for around half an hour before riding and half an hour after.

Concentrate wise, around an hour either side.


Active Member
Dec 30, 2006
I always feed Joy before a ride. She's on very restricted grazing so feeding before hand gives a feeling of more in her belly and less likely to try and snatch at anything she could get away with. It also means she catches me and I've never had a problem catching her.

I've never given hard feed. Joy get a Stubbs scoop of Dengie Good Doer which I make wet so it also ensures she gets some water in her too so no different than her getting hay or grass before going out.


Well-Known Member
Oct 13, 2004
On an island
Atm because of Storm's stiff hocks I am trying to ride her either at lunch time or evening. I bring them both in and pop them in their stables - I normally give Chloe a handful of hay and same with Storm, just to munch on because it can take me a while to tack up! By the time I've groomed her and done her tack up slowly its normally half an hour, so, I guess yes, I do give her time from coming in from the field. If I ride her of an evening, I would give her, her tea first - but it's nothing to get excited about, just half a carrot and a tiny scoop of Happy HOof, and I wait at least three quarters of an hour because although it's "chop" I class it as hard feed and don't work her immediately after.


Super Moderator
Staff member
Jan 6, 2006
I wouldn't work immediately after a large hard feed ( I wouldn't fancy rushing around after my meal either) but will equally not work horses on an empty stomach as I believe in the theory of acid splash causing ulcers.


When people want to bring a horse in and stand with no food for an hour or so before riding because they think it can't work at faster than a walk if it's been eating I do ask if what theythink would happen in the wild - would the wolf pack go away until the horse had had an hour off the grass? I don'tthink so, & I bet the horses would manage to run very well indeed with their bellies full!!!!


Well-Known Member
Jul 16, 2003
Visit site
mine live out on grass and have a haynet whilst being tacked up. dinners come after riding, when they've cooled off etc. If I do give hard feed before riding (note mine mostly get chaff/fibre, not cereal or anything like that), I wait at least half an hour before even thinking about tacking up.



With out my boys life would be bland
Apr 16, 2009
I feed simple systems so if I need to I can but mine do not have breakfast in the summer and are out 24/7 I do not give a haynet when they come in as I like them to be able to stand still for at least 1/2 hour while I groom and tack up with out them having to have anything.

They do not get fed on return from working either unless it is the evening and they are having tea. As I do at least a 1/5 hour cool down by the time I untack and groom off they have their tea and are turned back out.

I will and do ride straight from eating grass and hay at comps/shows.

We never go from stand to gallop so happy for them to eat right up to bridle going on if need be.


New Member
Mar 22, 2013
I too ride if gentle or hacking off the grass as by time i groom and tack up should be fine and only gentle while they can gallop around in field of own accord and not keel over :wink:

I do prefer to not ride on full belly of grass though as sluggish and gassy :sleep:

I would never ride after hard feed but do after hay and am glad to hear others do too :tongue:
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