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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov. 3, 2008
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    Lebanon, CT
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    60

    Default My horse is bored with eating?

    Okay I'm so irritated with my OTTB right now! He is being treated for ulcers and that's not the problem... he has always eaten like this... in the AM is the slowest eater and he finally gives up and just says "LET ME OUT" so he never finished breakfast... Then, he'll get hay and lunch and chomp on it for a while but never finishes it all... he gets dinner and late night grain feedings which he nevers finishes and he's always got hay in his stall... he never finishes that either. AND, not top it all off he's pretty feisty. I wouldn't call him hot, but he's not short on energy... This what he's eating:

    1qt Blue Seal Senior
    1qt Alfalfa Pellets/cubes mixed
    1qt Blue Seal Hay Stretcher
    1/2 cup Cocosoya Oil AM + PM

    I just picked up some Alfalfa Dengie to see if he'll chomp on that more readily... he kind of turns his nose up at the alfalfa, but because of his nervousness and ulcer issues we don't want to load him up on grain.

    He's not "skinny" either... he's just filled in enough, but I would like more meat on his bones...

    Any Advice?



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov. 20, 2008
    Location
    NJ
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    2,189

    Default

    I've had good results with Ration Plus-might be worth a try.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec. 29, 2005
    Location
    Ojai, CA
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    1,074

    Default

    For 16 years I've had an OTTB gelding who has basically disliked all kinds of hay. I have had to make up the difference via different "complete" types of feed. I've tried every kind of hay, by the way, as well as cubes, pellets and chopped hay. Nope, he just doesn't really get the whole hay bit.

    And after a laminitis scare many years ago, I had to avoid feeding him feeds with molasses, eliminating many of the things he WOULD eat. Plus, he was also a very hot horse, adding to the difficulty.

    I ended up feeding him Strategy, which he loves. I also started him on soaked beet pulp shreds (w/out molasses), which he also loves. Wish I had done that years ago.

    I'm assuming you've done the basic checking of his mouth and run a blood panel to make sure there's nothing going on internally?

    Good luck. It can be done, however, as I've learned. Sixteen years later I still have a beautiful TB, still hot but healthy!



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr. 14, 2001
    Location
    Fort Collins, CO
    Posts
    16,262

    Default

    That's pretty unexciting food. My horse, who is a picky eater, would not eat that at all. She eats something like Triple Crown Senior pretty well, and cleans up Triple Crown Complete. Perhas your guy would be happier with more Senior and less hay pellets?



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug. 5, 2006
    Posts
    5,045

    Default

    It's definitley a TB thing. I don't have to EVER worry about Mr. Snooty TB gorging himself.....unlike Ms "I'll eat anything" Piggy, warmblood.

    He always leaves some at each meal....and I have tried different feeds.

    The only thing that I've given him on occassion, that gets snarfed completely up is alfalfa hay....not cubes (he won't touch them..and yes, I soak them), but does love the hay.

    He gets Blue Seal Vintage Performance LS, Omega Horseshine (He never leaves that) and Beet Pulp at lunch.

    I stopped feeding him supplements as he would waste them half the time.
    And often go on a food strike if the slightest supplement crumb was there.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov. 3, 2008
    Location
    Lebanon, CT
    Posts
    60

    Default I feel better...

    Well, I do feel better hearing all of your OTTB finicky eater stories! Of course I board too and I don't want to be too much of a pain with "try this, try that"... he can't get too much grain either because of his ulcer issues and the vet really wants him eating alfalfa... so I basically can't add anymore grain to his diet, and I don't think the barn I'm at will do the soaked beet pulp thing... at at least without making me pay for the beet pulp... which... well you all know, board is expensive enough as it is...

    I keep telling myslef that if we keep feeding him the alfalfa pellets... he'll just figure he's got to eat them... he's such a booger!! I guess I'll just keep trying...

    Oh, BTW he has had his teeth done and blood panel... and I'm having another blood panel done when we're done with the gastrogard treatment... ugh, if it's not one thing it's another



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb. 21, 2008
    Posts
    352

    Default

    I have a super picky TB too. I feed TC low starch pellets and TC Senior mixed with non molasses beet pulp. He loves it. He's also really picky about hay, loves alfalfa hay. He too eats breakfast and most of his hay, but when he's ready to go out, he's ready. He always has hay and never just stands and eats and eats, he eats hay, wanders around, picks at the grass, eats some more hay, plays with his friends, etc. Beet pulp has done wonders for him and its not expensive. Good luck!



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug. 14, 2008
    Location
    The beautiful midwest
    Posts
    756

    Default

    I agree its a TB thing. My mare likes variety. She'll eat one thing for awhile, than turn her nose up at it and I'll have to try something else. So much for a horse's delicate digestive system. I can change her food every other week an no problem, never a gut ache or colic. Just a royal pain for me. I've found leaving a big tub of half Strategy and half sweet feed around for her to snack on works the best. Kind of like feeding a cat. Hmmm, and just as finicky!
    Lilykoi


    Hell hath no fury like the chestnut thoroughbred mare



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar. 7, 2003
    Location
    Mudville, GA ;-)
    Posts
    9,182

    Default

    I've got one too! Well, my daughter does - but I take care of him...
    The UlcerGard has helped, but he'll still walk away from his feed. I hate that And why is it that the ones who need the food are the ones who don't want it?! At least now, he'll walk over to see what the other horse is eating, and he's always happy to eat hay.

    I too have been through several different feeds trying to find the 'one' he likes. I've actually done taste tests where I present him with three choices to see which he'll pick. He'll choose one and I'll feed it to him, then a few weeks later the thrill is gone and he'll be ambivalent about it

    I love TC feeds, and on paper, the Training formula looks like it would be perfect for him. He hates it. It doesn't help that the stuff stinks to high heaven (fish oil). He's halfway through the third bag, and I don't think I'll buy anymore.
    Y'all ain't right!



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun. 21, 2004
    Location
    Cairo, Georgia
    Posts
    2,419

    Default

    Why not feed a ration balancer? That way he only has to eat about a cup of feed & he's gotten everything he needs. Of course continue with free choice hay.
    Producing horses with gentle minds & brilliant movement!
    www.whitfieldfarm.shutterfly.com



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov. 3, 2008
    Location
    Lebanon, CT
    Posts
    60

    Default Ration Balancer? And what about Uckele Equi Sweet?

    Quote Originally Posted by Whitfield Farm Hanoverians View Post
    Why not feed a ration balancer? That way he only has to eat about a cup of feed & he's gotten everything he needs. Of course continue with free choice hay.
    Eh? What's a ration balancer? Can you provide an example? I feel like I'm being a little dumb here....

    Anyone try Uckele's Equi Sweet as a top dress???



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr. 14, 2001
    Location
    Fort Collins, CO
    Posts
    16,262

    Default

    A ration balancer is like concentrated grain. They're high in protein (usually in the 30% range) and packed with vitamins and minerals. They are designed to provide all the horse needs in one-two pounds.

    I have tried the Uckele flavorings and Blush was not impressed.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan. 9, 2009
    Posts
    257

    Default

    I'm sure I will take nasty hits for this. I am a TB trainer thus I have to convince them to eat large amounts all the time and sometimes we get picky, slow eaters. I used to try all sorts of things and get so frustrated and worried and then one day an oldtimer told me if they dont eat dont feed em. What he meant was take away everything except for a hand full of sweet feed for a couple of feedings and see what happens. He was right when ever I get one now that backs out of the tub thats what we do and it only takes two or three feedings to change their minds about eating. Keep in mind that some horses are just slow eaters. Your horse may also just not like his feed as another poster suggested I would just try a quality textured feed ( low protein if he is hot) with no additives for a little while to see if he comes around. If he is wasting his hay cut it back( until you find an amount he is comfortable with) or put it in a bag make sure it is good quality. Some horses dont eat alot of hay if they have good turnout. Hope this helps..



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec. 13, 1999
    Location
    Greensboro, NC
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    35,577

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Muleskick View Post
    I am a TB trainer thus I have to convince them to eat large amounts all the time
    This pigeonholes TBs into the mold of "must have huge amounts of food to maintain weight". Simply having a TB does not mean you have to "convince them to eat large amounts of food all the time."

    one day an oldtimer told me if they dont eat dont feed em. What he meant was take away everything except for a hand full of sweet feed for a couple of feedings and see what happens. He was right when ever I get one now that backs out of the tub thats what we do and it only takes two or three feedings to change their minds about eating.
    No flaming here. I agree (well, except for the sweet feed, I don't want to fuel any sweet tooth). Just as with dogs, if they don't eat, you take the food away after some appropriate amount of time (20 minutes or so). It doesn't go back down until the next meal. They learn pretty quickly.

    By the same token, it is not doing the horse (or you!) ANY favors by swapping out feeds every bag or every week or every meal just to try to find something the horse likes. That's teaching a horse it's quite acceptable to be finicky.

    Keep in mind that some horses are just slow eaters.
    Yep. My TB mare takes about 20 minutes to each 3lb of "stuff".

    I would just try a quality textured feed ( low protein if he is hot)
    Protein has nothing to do with being "hot". Horses who are working need ample amounts of quality protein. Too much is just peed out (though there is some info out there that indicates that too much protein causing an amino acid imbalance can make a horse a bit wiggy), but don't short-change the horse's amino acid requirements by feeding a low protein feed, especially if your hay is also on the lower side.

    If he is wasting his hay cut it back( until you find an amount he is comfortable with) or put it in a bag make sure it is good quality. Some horses dont eat alot of hay if they have good turnout. Hope this helps..
    Agree that good grass reduceds the amount of hay eaten.

    However, it's also been proven that a high sugar diet (which can be smaller amounts of high sugar feeds, or higher amounts of lower sugar feeds) can actually cause the horse to not want to eat as much forage as he needs to. This creates a cycle of - doesn't eat enough hay, loses weight, feed him more sugary food, eats less hay, loses weight, etc.

    Hay first for calories! (or grass). THEN look into what additional calories are needed.
    ______________________________
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov. 3, 2008
    Location
    Lebanon, CT
    Posts
    60

    Default Confused...

    Quote Originally Posted by JB View Post
    This pigeonholes TBs into the mold of "must have huge amounts of food to maintain weight". Simply having a TB does not mean you have to "convince them to eat large amounts of food all the time."


    No flaming here. I agree (well, except for the sweet feed, I don't want to fuel any sweet tooth). Just as with dogs, if they don't eat, you take the food away after some appropriate amount of time (20 minutes or so). It doesn't go back down until the next meal. They learn pretty quickly.

    By the same token, it is not doing the horse (or you!) ANY favors by swapping out feeds every bag or every week or every meal just to try to find something the horse likes. That's teaching a horse it's quite acceptable to be finicky.


    Yep. My TB mare takes about 20 minutes to each 3lb of "stuff".


    Protein has nothing to do with being "hot". Horses who are working need ample amounts of quality protein. Too much is just peed out (though there is some info out there that indicates that too much protein causing an amino acid imbalance can make a horse a bit wiggy), but don't short-change the horse's amino acid requirements by feeding a low protein feed, especially if your hay is also on the lower side.


    Agree that good grass reduceds the amount of hay eaten.

    However, it's also been proven that a high sugar diet (which can be smaller amounts of high sugar feeds, or higher amounts of lower sugar feeds) can actually cause the horse to not want to eat as much forage as he needs to. This creates a cycle of - doesn't eat enough hay, loses weight, feed him more sugary food, eats less hay, loses weight, etc.

    Hay first for calories! (or grass). THEN look into what additional calories are needed.
    OK - now I'm getting confused... because I don't think what my horse is eating it too much "stuff". He used to get TONS more but since being treated for ulcers he doesn't seem to need it... but he's still not eating all of what we offer him anyway and he's not putting on any weight. Plus he works about 5-6 days a week, but only 20-30 minutes each ride (except lessons are an hour)... He is only getting 3qts of Senior a day plus hay stretcher and alflafa (in anyway we can get him to eat it). Plus he gets offered Hay 4-5 times per day... and it's in a hay bag and sometimes he eats it all and sometimes he doesn't... we feed 2nd cutting timothy/grass mix.

    I guess I just want to know if I'm doing something wrong? Or if I should just ignore that he doesn't eat? Feed him more oil or something for fat calories?



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec. 19, 2007
    Location
    Camden, DE
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    1,948

    Default

    My TB isn't that picky, luck for me.

    He seems to like his Vintage Performance LS, Omega Horseshine, Alfalfa pellets, canola oil and cinder vinegar...it smells like a salad to me.

    this ends up being around 3 pounds per feeding. He takes about 15 minutes or more to eat it. I don't complain that he eats on the slower side because I rather that than him woofing it down. He does the same thing with his hay...eats it slower or he will eat most of it and leave a little of the hay and come back to it later.

    I notice him eating at night from 5:00-8:00 then standing and resting and going back to the rest of the hay in an hour or so.

    Either way he ends up finishing all of it.

    So you could try switching his grain or adding something more tasty. Or giving him less.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar. 7, 2003
    Location
    Mudville, GA ;-)
    Posts
    9,182

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Whitfield Farm Hanoverians View Post
    Why not feed a ration balancer? That way he only has to eat about a cup of feed & he's gotten everything he needs. Of course continue with free choice hay.
    I love ration balancers - feed TC 30%. It's a great idea, but if the horse needs significantly more calories than he'd be getting with just a RB and hay, what do you suggest? In most cases, I'd just add oats, but the important word here is 'significantly'. As I stated before, my beastie is out on decent pasture 24/7 and currently has good quality hay available 'round the clock. He enjoys the hay, but he's not that into it..... Simply feeding a ration balancer is not enough. I'm talking about a hard keeper - not just a picky eater
    Y'all ain't right!



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug. 25, 2007
    Posts
    8,545

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by lohsela View Post
    Okay I'm so irritated with my OTTB right now! He is being treated for ulcers and that's not the problem... he has always eaten like this... in the AM is the slowest eater and he finally gives up and just says "LET ME OUT" so he never finished breakfast... Then, he'll get hay and lunch and chomp on it for a while but never finishes it all... he gets dinner and late night grain feedings which he nevers finishes and he's always got hay in his stall... he never finishes that either. AND, not top it all off he's pretty feisty. I wouldn't call him hot, but he's not short on energy... This what he's eating:

    1qt Blue Seal Senior
    1qt Alfalfa Pellets/cubes mixed
    1qt Blue Seal Hay Stretcher
    1/2 cup Cocosoya Oil AM + PM

    I just picked up some Alfalfa Dengie to see if he'll chomp on that more readily... he kind of turns his nose up at the alfalfa, but because of his nervousness and ulcer issues we don't want to load him up on grain.

    He's not "skinny" either... he's just filled in enough, but I would like more meat on his bones...

    Any Advice?
    Yes. Listen to the horse. He's telling you you're feeding him too much.

    We can argue all day whether horses ever get "bored." But what's inarguable is that they get "full." When they're full they quit eating.

    What's his Henneke Score? He might be at a very healthy weight for his conformation and your desire to "add meat" will just make him fat, cost you money, and reduce both his life expectancy and utility.

    Back off, maybe, and evaluate what you have before you do any more.

    G.



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Dec. 13, 1999
    Location
    Greensboro, NC
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    35,577

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by lohsela View Post
    Okay I'm so irritated with my OTTB right now! He is being treated for ulcers and that's not the problem... he has always eaten like this... in the AM is the slowest eater and he finally gives up and just says "LET ME OUT" so he never finished breakfast... Then, he'll get hay and lunch and chomp on it for a while but never finishes it all... he gets dinner and late night grain feedings which he nevers finishes and he's always got hay in his stall... he never finishes that either. AND, not top it all off he's pretty feisty. I wouldn't call him hot, but he's not short on energy...
    All this says ulcers to me. How long ago was his treatment started, and what are you using? This may be caused by ulcers which are not healed (enough) yet.

    This what he's eating:

    1qt Blue Seal Senior
    1qt Alfalfa Pellets/cubes mixed
    1qt Blue Seal Hay Stretcher
    1/2 cup Cocosoya Oil AM + PM

    I just picked up some Alfalfa Dengie to see if he'll chomp on that more readily... he kind of turns his nose up at the alfalfa, but because of his nervousness and ulcer issues we don't want to load him up on grain.
    Honestly, I would take him back to a hay-only diet for a week or 10 days, to sort of "reset" things. Then I would look at a low/no grain fortified feed, since you can't use (much) a-pellets or beet pulp as a basis for his additional calories.

    Is it the Vintage Senior you're using? That's about 20% NSC. Not nearly as "low carb" as they'd like you to believe. I'd prefer to see you go to something lower. Can you get their Carb Guard? That's 11%. There's nothing between that and the 20% that I know of. What other brands can you get? Why a "senior" feed? Even TC Senior is lower in NSC - down around 15%.

    He's not "skinny" either... he's just filled in enough, but I would like more meat on his bones...

    Any Advice?
    What is "not skinny"? How easily can you feel ribs? it may be that he's just not getting enough protein, so cannot build the muscle that makes him look like he's got a "weight" issue.
    ______________________________
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET



  20. #20
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    Dec. 19, 2007
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    Camden, DE
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    Default

    I am going to also say to try the Carb Guard or the Vintage Performance Low Starch...that has more fat, fiber and protein in it for harder keepers.

    I do also wonder what is body score is and if he is really needing all of that food...



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