Windward Farm, Washougal, WA- our work in progress, our money pit, our home!
Help me design feed program for aged TB
Here's the background: Webster is 26, in good weight currently, pasture sound and has a good appetite. He has 'some' front teeth and vet says molars are still there...just getting really, really thin. He eats hay, but is producing more quids than I like. He is leaving more hay in his stall, uneaten, lately.
He is fed: soaked BP (2 cups dry), 1lb. rolled oats, 1 cup stabilized rice bran, locally formulated vitamin/mineral blend, and Smartpak Senior supplement, once a day. 20 lbs. of 2nd cutting orchard/alfalfa mix per day, in two feedings. Currently stalled at night, out on limited grass during day, with his hay.
Am I hitting all the right spots with this? Am I missing anything? I am worried that he's not going to be able to eat hay much longer, and am unsure what to replace it with. He'll eat damn near anything--what other horse gobbles down powdered bute in his grain, and looks for more?
Owner (he is a boarder) doesn't like alfalfa (for her own unscientifically founded idea that it's bad for his feet...) but the horse loves it, and finds the fine stem 4th cutting I have for my other TB retiree very palatable.
Ideas? Suggestions? Problems?
Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!
if hes in good weight it sounds good. but since hes probably not chewing his grass and hay that well, keep on eye on that. i would be upping the beet pulp as soon as i saw any change in weight or any more issues with chewing the hay. as for the alfalfa i have no experience with it (pretty much does not exist here except in cubed form) but hes your horse, if you are supplying the hay the barn owner should feed it to him.
I would recommend Equine Senior. Since it is a complete feed it has the hay dietary requirements included. It is designed for horses that may not be able to eat hay anymore. That said, I would not stop giving him they hay you are feeding already, but the Senior feed should add to what he may be missing nutrient wise. I've had really great luck with it on several older TBs, one of which came to the farm in horrible condition (see photos- taken six months apart). You'd never know it now.
Since he's having some problems chewing hay, obviously, I would start mixing in a senior feed that has some roughage built in. You can also soak alfalfa cubes for him and if he likes it, let him have it. With a senior grain look for something that has greater than 15% crude fiber - this means there is roughage included. Also, if his weight drops look for a senior grain that has a high fat content because fat provides more calories than carbs.
My 31 y.o. TB stallion cannot chew hay or grass. He is currently getting Purina Senior (which has the forage, rice bran and Amplify, etc. added - nutritionally complete for senior horses). I also add about 3/4 of the cup (provided) of pure Amplify to his AM and PM feeding. He gets a couple of pounds of alfalfa cubes soaked for several hours (prepared at breakfast) and about a lb of Senior at lunch. Everything I feed him is well soaked. He looks good, eats well and gets around, great attitude. I doubt your horse is getting anything of nutritional value from the hay since he is obviously not "processing" it. Giving him roughage in other forms would help much more. I leave figuring out the nutritional formula to the ones being paid to formulate and test the feeds (i.e. Purina, etc.) instead of cobbling it together on my own and missing something. They also have nutritionists that will come out and evaluate your horses for free and make recommendations and help as needed. Good luck.
Got to love the old ones that will eat anything. Makes life much easier. I vote for the senior also. It will be easier to chew and digest than the oats. Keep in mind that senior if a complete feed so you will be feeding more pounds. I would still do the beet pulp and soaked hay cubes or chopped hay. I like alfalfa (or mix) hay for these older guys. It satisfies their need to forage. Instead of rice bran I would switch to amplify (Purina product). It is a combo of fats that seems to work very well for the senior horse. Older horses do have an increased need for certain vitamins and fat.
TC Senior well soaked. You can feed up to 20 lbs per day. It's a complete feed, high in fiber, protein, fat and low in NSC. Lots of beet pulp and more convenient, IMO.
We have an older pony boarder, back teeth are very worn down. He's an easy keeper and gets 6 lbs per day of TC Senior well soaked, Senior Flex supplement, and 2 flakes of 2nd cutting very soft alfalfa (which is free choice for him).
We added a third feeding in the winter, another 2 to 3 lbs of Senior.
If he starts to drop weight, I'd be inclined to feed soaked alfalfa or timothy cubes (after consulting with his owner, of course).
He's still able to eat grass, so I understand he gets less feed in the summer. When he goes below 5 lbs of Senior (the minimum), I'll be adding in TC 30% supplement.
Agree that moving to a complete Senior feed is best. My 31 year TB mare has her teeth (knocking wood) and has been Senior feed for the last 5 years, before then she was on a mix of Sweet and SR.
Daily she gets dampened TC Sr 2x daily plus all of the coastal Bermuda she will eat (and that varies - always has). Also she gets soaked alfalfa cubes + an extra scoop of SR for a "midnight snack".
I fed Purina Sr for years and accepted the inconsistancies as my mare absolutely loved the feed and was doing very well. But the last one several years ago that resulted in several illnesses and deaths caused me to change to TC Sr, not to mention the delayed comment from the company.
I have been pleased with the consistancy of the TC Sr and their quick response of any questions.
"Never do anything that you have to explain twice to the paramedics."
Courtesy my cousin Tim