I have an older (23 years) TB mare. She has never been a 'thriver' but she has dropped weight this past summer.
Can anyone recommend a good weight builder? This mare in on grass all day, has free choice high quality hay at night, is fed 3X a day with a combination of Safechoice and Triple Crown Senior. She's also on a very low dose of Pergolide.
Her work load is pasture puff. Thanks for any suggestions.
Teeth floated lately? Wormed routinely and effectively? Needs more calories so you can add fats to her diet if she tolerates them well (horses can take in as much as 20% of their calories in the form of fats if they tolerate the fats in the diet). Fats have 2.5 x the calories of equal amounts of carbs or proteins so you can bump up the caloric intake without making a lot more food for them to eat. Sources are widely varied...everything from corn/vegie oil from the grocery store to things like Kool Kalories, stabilized rice brans such as Vita Bran, black oil sunflower seeds and all things fatty in between...each has its fans. You can also add things like Calf Manna (there's a form made for horses now but you can use the one for calves just as well). Some swear by beet pulp (I don't like it a lot....usable but I think there are better feeds). Blanket her if not doing so....save the calories used for body heat to add weight. Maybe have thorough vet check done...at this age there are things that show up that can cause weight loss....a cancer is one possibility, liver or kidney failure are others. Maybe have some bloodwork drawn?
If teeth and worming are up to date, I'd probably get some baseline bloodwork. I agree with switching gradually over to TC Senior only. My tried and true recipe for weight gain is TC Senior with 2 pounds of Buckeye Ultimate Finish added. It's quite expensive, but really packs on the pounds. If you can't get that, then I'd do TC Senior with a double dose of Farnam Weight Builder added in.
If no medical conditions, you could add beet pulp to her feed. Its easy to digest, is a fiber, and they tend to eat it. It will increase the calories as grain would, but not have the dangers of grain overload. I would check all medical issues though, especially if its a change, and given that she already gets a lot of fiber in her diet free choice. Ditto to the switch to just TC senior as well.
Amplify by Purina is awesome stuff. Its a weight gainer supplement and has rice bran, beat pulp along with other ingrediants. Its a little costly for a 50 lb bag but does work and only requires about a lb a day to be given. Worked fabulously on my gelding and on an older 20+ year old that is a hard keeper.
My guy is the typical "hard to keep weight on" thoroughbred.
I've had great success with beet pulp and a 1/2 cup of canola oil a day. In fact my trainer walked by him yesterday and said, "he's getting fat!" I was thrilled as he could use some extra weight going into the winter months.
What is the amount "in weight" that your horse is getting a day of the safe choice/senior mix??? 3 pounds a day is quite different than 10 pounds a day of concentrate. As suggested, you'd could eliminate the safe choice and continue to feed the Senior, feeding more as needed (it is not unheard of for some TB's and other hardkeeping horses to be on 7-12lbs of senior a day to maintain them) Weight your feed. If you would like to feed less grain, you can try bringing in some oil for additional fat and top dressing that on your feed. What is the high quality hay that your horse gets free choice of at night?? Do you have alf hay or alf/grass mixed hay available? Try bringing some alf hay into your horse's forage diet.
And as recommended get a vet out to do a physical exam on your horse. Check for worms, check teeth, etc., could your horse have ulcers??
Talk, I am curious about why you do not recommend corn oil. Thanks for the suggestion about omega horseshine. I give corn oil to my Draft but I have fed Wheat Germ Oil to this TB mare in the past with positive results.
Thanks again everyone. I'm printing this out to keep in my horse file.
corn oil is absolutely fine to feed, have done successfully for years on hard keepers. this winter I got terribly lazy and put my one hard keeper on proformance hi-fat - he's clocking up the lbs nicely on it. Plus it smells so nummy (I think the equivalent in the US would be..the Blue Seal hi-fat feed? We can't get blue seal here, but I seem to recall when I looked it up way back they were quite similar.
Beet pulp of course is a great feed to put on lbs as well - the main advantage to adding oil is it's the most energy dense feed you can add - so results are quicker when you are looking for shorter term results.
Originally Posted by ExJumper
Sometimes I'm thrown off, sometimes I'm bucked off, sometimes I simply fall off, and sometimes I go down with the ship. All of these are valid ways to part company with your horse.