I've searched recent threads in regards to ration balancers, and have to admit, while interesting, I'm finding it all a bit confusing and overwhelming. You appear to be well informed about nutritional matters, so that's why I'm asking.
I have a 3 yr old Hanoverian gelding, (Razmataz x Glamour Girl) barely 15.2h at the withers...very leggy and immature looking. He really looks more like a two year old, and he's 15.3 at hips right now, so definitely not looking balanced. He's in good weight, good appetite, good energy (loves to romp and play and is the instigator of much mischief) but very sound minded...not hot at all.
Currently he is getting approx 8lbs of Bartlett Phase IV (a 14% protein feed) divided into two feedings per day, free choice fescue hay, and is out on pasture 12-16hrs per day.
BO is concerned that my colt still looks so immature and doesn't seem to be "growing into his neck and legs". BO is also a breeder, though of QH's not WBs. She's suggesting we add a ration balancer (it will be Bartlett's version, as that is what is fed at our barn) to his feed.
Colt is holding an appropriate weight. I've read of using RB's for weight gain, nutritional deficiencies etc, but for growth? I've heard that some WB lines, particularly the G line, can be rather slow in maturing, and mine certainly seems to be following in that vein.
Could adding a ration balancer encourage a growth spurt? I've been told that rapid growth spurts have been linked to OCD etc. I just want to do what's best for my 3yr old, yet at the same time, I don't want to do too much. I'm a firm believer that you don't necessarily have to be a chef to feed a horse. My philosophy in the past has been to feed what is needed and keep it as simple as possible.
I'm not JB, but I don't think a RB will do a growth spurt -- it is just vitamins and protein in a small concentrate, so you don't have to do 8 lbs of fortified feed to get the same results.
FWIW, I heard that babies grow 1 hand per year -- so your guy will be 16.2-3 next year. That is exactly what happened to my guy (TrakxAppy) and he has filled out completely on bermuda, three-way and alfalfa. No extra feed, no pasture, (but probably less exercise since he was stalled beginning age three),
He is coming six this year and I think he is still growing a bit -- filling out definitely, but he might have edged up to 16.3.
Ditto. Not JB either but have never heard of feeding a RB for growth? I mean, it gives them balanced vits and minerals without having to feed large amounts of grain, which I guess in turn obviously lends in growth as the body needs proper nutrition.
Rex was 16.1 when he was 3 yrs old. He was tall but def still had that immature look, esp in his face. I started him lightly at 3.5. He is now 4.5 and doesnt even look the same. He is twice as wide (not literally but good lord!) and has really grown into himself. Sticked him the other day and hes 16.3 while sedated and his head hanging low. Tried to lift up his head and he was a little over 16.3. He very well could be 17h when not sedated, Im not sure.
What do your horses siblings look like? What about the parents? I knew where Rex would get height wise as all of his siblings were at least 16.2 with all of his siblings on his dams side 16.3-17.2.
Here are some pics to show his growth.. maybe it will help you?
He looks pretty much the same now. So you can see, esp right when he turned 4 and even just two months later, he had a BIG change. He had a broken splint at the time and wasnt even in work. My vet saw him in the beginning of July and then saw him 45 days later and couldnt believe how much he had grown in just that short time. So I wouldnt get too concerned yet!
Member of the ILMD[FN]HP Clique, The Florida Clique, OMGiH I loff my mares, and the Bareback Riders clique!
At 8lb of this feed, you are undoubtedly feeding more than the minimally recommended amount, probably by 3lb or so, maybe 2, so you're getting all the nutrition. Adding a RB is potentially, maybe even likely, going to OD him on several nutrients, and just because "enough" is good doesn't make more better
There are so, so many horses who, simply due to genetics, look a year or so behind what their age actually is. It doesn't make me blink twice to hear of a 3yo who still looks like a 2yo
I don't know much about Bartlett, but I suspect most, if not all of their feeds (not counting the RB) are fairly high in sugar. IF that is the case, you would be better served switching to a better grain if that's even possible.
I wouldn't worry about your guy, especially when being examined by someone used to QH's
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